Cartel Tycoon (PS5) – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation Game
Developer: Moon Mose
Publisher: Tinybuild
Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PS5

Cartel Tycoon (PS5) – Review

Site Score
Good: Great presentation, Fun unique elements for the genre
Bad: Pretty basic Tycoon game aside from the crime elements
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

We’ve seen many different Tycoon games over the last few decades, from giving gamers the option to create their dream amusement park to becoming a titan in the transport business. All of these games put players into the shoes of legit business owners who had the world’s best interests at heart, or that was at least the initial purpose. Now Cartel Tycoon is a bit different in this regard, making players the cartel’s leader and giving them access to dirty money to build out their crime empire. Will you become the most successful smuggler on the island or will you take the other cartels’ resources by force?


Like many Tycoon games, Cartel Tycoon does not feature a singular story mode like traditional games. The game features a handful of narrative scenarios, each with its own characters and challenges. The first of these is the most traditional one which features the tutorial and puts you in the shoes of a young entrepreneur who has to prove himself to his big boss father. Players will encounter some other cartel leaders and politicians in this first short story mode. After this story is completed, players can experience other tales with different characters which can take up to 20 hours each.

Giving players a vast collection of experiences is always great in this type of game. Building your crime empire in different ways and putting the focus on other elements is a fun way to see everything the mechanics have to offer, so it’s fun to experience this with unique characters and narratives. Each story is an interesting and varying tale to experience, with likable characters and some well-written interactions. The gameplay still takes the main stage in Cartel Tycoon, having long stretches of gameplay without too many story elements, but it is nice that the developers put some care into the story mode.


Cartel Tycoon is a bright and colorful game to look at, making great use of the Latin American setting. The island is filled with different landmasses and cities with a distinct look, giving players great oversight over where they are on the map. This is the same for each facility you develop and the henchman you send out, putting some manageable visual elements in the chaos.

But most importantly with a management-focused game like this is a clear user interface, which Cartel Tycoon nails. Everything is easy to access and helps players to keep some oversight. The only messy part is the development map, which can be intimidating with a web of options that don’t seem to have any logical order.


Cartel Tycoon is a tropically located game, so the soundtrack gives the exact same vibes with chill background music. It fits the tone well and makes it a stressless experience until the feds find out about your endeavors of course. The environmental sounds and effects follow the same principle of helping to create a good atmosphere while not overpowering the activities you will partake in.

Some sections of the game feature voice acting, but this is limited mostly to longer interactions in the story modes. These performances are well delivered and fit the characters they represent. This gives another nice touch to the narratives.


Cartel Tycoon is a simulation game where players build their own crime empire in the Latin American regions. Whereas other games of this type offer straightforward options to build their business by only accessing legal methods, Cartel Tycoon dares you to balance the use of legal and dirty money to overtake other cartels and the authority.

Managing your production and transport is the core of the experience. Weave together a complex infrastructure of farms, warehouses, and transport companies to get your hands on tons of produce. Get these products to the right sellers to make some cash and develop your business even further. Players who have encountered any other Tycoon game will be familiar with this gameplay formula since Cartel Tycoon takes many inspirations from the games that came before. Where the experience takes a unique turn is in the fact that many of these products earn players dirty money. This currency is unique as it needs to be laundered and can only be transported by trusted generals, adding a ton of extra steps to consider while building your business. This is a fun addition to the formula since players need to consider more things, linking high risk to high rewards.

But you aren’t alone in this world, with many other cartels and political figures also inhabiting the island. Each region has a capital city with a political figure that can be interacted with. Getting them on your good side gives you more options to influence the general public and build infrastructures to launder money. Recruiting these officials can be done by completing their quests or taking their area by force, but using this latter option attracts attention from other cartels and might get you swept up into a whole gang war. Generals can be used to fight these battles, giving them bigger winning chances by leveling them up or giving them weapons. This however puts you even more on the criminal map and might attract police interventions that cripple your business. All of this feeds into the high-risk, high-reward mechanics of the illegal side of the game that makes Cartel Tycoon stand out from the crowd.

Experience the rise of different cartels through the story mode which offers a handful of campaigns that differ in length and challenge. The first one of these is labeled as the tutorial and teaches players the basics of the game. The other stories still offer clear objectives that you need to complete, but hold your hand less in how you complete them. This offers dozens of hours of gameplay and each of them differs in gameplay, like having a bigger focus on building farms or taking down rivaling cartels. Once players feel confident in their understanding of the gameplay, they can take on the free-play mode where they can build their cartel in any way they want. This game mode is highly customizable and offers the core gameplay of Cartel Tycoon. Lastly is a challenge mode, made for the true crime bosses where everything and everyone is against you, offering the biggest challenge the game has to offer.


Cartel Tycoon is a very competent simulation game. The gameplay is good and very recognizable for players that have played Tycoon games before. While the gameplay formula is pretty unoriginal at its core, the criminal elements like dirty money and gang fights make it stand out enough to give it a chance. The great presentation and fun story modes make it an even better recommendation if this type of game is your cup of tea.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Cartel Tycoon (PS5) - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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