Having previously tried, and failed, to get into SimCity I decided to pick up Tropico 4 at a bargain price and thoroughly enjoyed its tongue in cheek approach to the city building genre.
As with its predecessors the game puts you in charge of running a tropical island, either in the open sandbox mode or the 30 mission campaign. Played in sandbox mode the game is actually very similar to SimCity with no real goals or time limits to affect how you play allowing free reign to design your island in any manner you wish. While this is certainly good fun I generally found the campaign mode, which sees the game split into missions lasting between one and two hours (although it is of course possible to save the game at any point), the more enjoyable experience. The varying goals of each mission force the player to play each one differently. One mission may ask you to set up a resort to attract tourists whilst the next may require you to export a certain quantity of natural resources for example.
Regardless of what mode you play the game in there is certainly a great deal of depth to proceedings with finances, citizen happiness, crime levels etc all needing to be correctly managed. Fortunately a well designed tutorial explains everything clearly and the will controls quickly become second nature meaning people new to the series will easily be able to get up to speed.
One of the best city builders around Tropico 4 will appeal to anyone with an interest in the genre even if anyone that has played the previous game will find not much has changed.