The gameplay is best described as a rather unique mix of SimCity style building and historical dictators. As El Presidente of the various islands in Tropico 4, your task is to develop an island and most importantly, keep control. It is a balancing act between keeping different factions happy, allowing you to stay in control, as there is always someone to please.
Tropico 4 also has an integrated trade system with foreign powers, such as the USSR and the US. This is where goods can be exported and imported: enabling the player get items to please the people or even stop importing things rebels want. In turn, this all causes the player to be constantly busy – building improvements or issuing edicts, so that there is never a quiet period in game.
The amount of control that Tropico 4 gives players beyond doubt absorbs them into the game. Giving players all the powers a real life dictator, Tropico 4 not only gives the control of the island but even your people’s lives. From hiring foreign specialists to help out in empty positions, to ordering edicts to please foreign countries; as the dictator it is all in your control. Control levels even go down to getting individual citizens arrested or forcibly ‘removed’.