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The Tropico 6 open beta is live right now

When last we heard from Tropico 6, the latest addition to the long-running banana republic despotocracy sim, it had suffered an unfortunate delay from its scheduled launch in January to late March. With that release now roughly three weeks away, Kalypso Media has announced that fans, and those who might be, can take part in an open beta which is actually underway right now

We took a look at Tropico 6 late last year and found it familiar in many ways—the Tropico series has been around since 2001—despite being the work of a new developer. But it also expands the game into a multi-island archipelago, and sharpens the fidelity of the simulated world: Productivity of individual buildings will rise and fall based on the presence of workers, for instance, so it's important to ensure that they can get to and from their workplaces quickly and easily. 

The open beta will include the full tutorial and all eras (although the modern era will be limited to the tutorial), six missions, 11 sandbox maps, and multiplayer for up to four players. English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Russian languages are supported.   

You're going to have to move quickly if you want to get in on the free El Presidente action: The open beta only runs until March 8. Preordering either version of the game on Steam will extend beta access all the way to launch, however, so if you really dig it, you can keep on playing as long as you're willing to commit. Tropico 6 comes out on March 29. 

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.