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Aaron - MrIrelandish

7 October 2023

Cartel Tycoon

Cartel Tycoon, developed by Moon Moose and published by tinyBuild, emerged from Early Access in March 2021, unveiling its gripping tale of power, crime, and survival in the ruthless world of 1980s Latin American narcotics trade. With its official release in July 2022, Cartel Tycoon invites players to step into the shoes of a budding drug lord, navigating the treacherous path to criminal supremacy.


Cartel Tycoon offers three compelling gameplay modes: Story, Sandbox, and Survival, all set against the richly detailed backdrop of Republica de Ojeda. The game's mechanics enable players to explore ten distinct regions, each ripe for exploitation and conquest. In Story mode, players embark on a thrilling narrative journey through three story missions and a tutorial, each presenting a unique challenge and a glimpse of the difficulty level. Progression relies on completing story tasks, propelling players deeper into the gripping storyline. Tasks range from setting up networks and laundering money to engaging in warfare or forming alliances with rival factions. Meanwhile, Sandbox mode provides a creative playground, allowing players to customize scenarios and adjust various difficulty settings. For the boldest players, Survival mode offers a hardcore experience, introducing permadeath mechanics that elevate the stakes to a whole new level.


Cartel Tycoon also features achievements for those seeking goals to strive for, including some amusing titles like the one for playing the game for 10 hours between midnight and 6 a.m. Beyond achievements, reaching specific goals or completing tasks unlocks new lieutenants that can be replayed in Sandbox and Survival modes.


Cartel Tycoon captivates with its distinctive visual style, featuring comic book-inspired character portraits and cutscenes that infuse the game with a vibrant personality. The in-game map, while semi-realistic, adopts a low-poly aesthetic that captures the essence of the '80s Latin American backdrop. The top-down perspective offers a godlike view over the city, although it presents challenges in depth perception, especially in mountainous terrain. Nevertheless, the developers have effectively used terrain paint to convey elevation, enabling players to strategically plan their empire amid rugged landscapes.


Cartel Tycoon immerses players in its world through a meticulously crafted audio experience. The game comes alive with the sounds of gunfire during gang conflicts, and the distant wails of cop sirens add a layer of realism to the criminal undertakings. Additionally, the game's ambient audio is punctuated by satisfying noises accompanying every road construction, emphasizing the player's agency in shaping the world. However, the true star of Cartel Tycoon's audio landscape is its soundtrack. The fusion of Cumbia and Latin Psychedelia creates a mesmerizing atmosphere, enhancing the immersive experience and immersing players in the vibrant cultural setting of 1980s Latin America.

In summary, Cartel Tycoon is a game that should be on your radar if you enjoy the management genre. It's a valuable addition to your library of games that will keep you coming back to manage some illicit endeavors.


The Bad

- Groovy Soundtrack
- Highly Addictive

- Management of various aspects can become overwhelming

The Good

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