Shakedown Hawaii - PC review

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Shakedown Hawaii - PC review

Postby iMURDAu » Sat Apr 09, 2022 11:27 pm

Shakedown Hawaii is a victim of the creator's previous work. When you play a game by a developer you've played a previous title from there are expectations. The prior game I'm speaking of is Retro City Rampage. I played RCR on the 3DS shortly after it launched and had a blast. Its a 2D GTA clone. There's a lot of pop culture references from the 80's and 90's along with classic game items, abilities, and themed missions. So when VBlank announced Shakedown Hawaii and showed off a 16-bit artstyle and said there'd be an entire island to takeover I was excited.

Then I played the game.

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Another satisfied customer
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See here's where the comparisons to Retro City Rampage obviously come into play. Both games play the same. You can walk around on foot, enter some buildings, steal cars, run over pedestrians and collect money for it, upgrade your characters abilities and you can do missions at your leisure.

Shakedown Hawaii has a sense of humor. So did RCR. However the humor in Shakedown Hawaii just doesn't hit the mark. The main character is an older man, a boomer if you will. He is a rich business owner and most of the jokes end up revolving around shady and/or annoying business practices that most people are already well aware of. The sad thing is that this is the only reason to play the game. I'm at 48% completion and other than missions there's jack shit for me to do that matters.

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Non-stop hilarity like this *eyeroll*
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The apparent point of the game is to buy the entire fake island you're on. You acquire assets, you get daily returns on them, you spend your money to get more assets, rinse, repeat. Time passes pretty quickly if you're doing missions so you'll never be broke if you go that route. But this is a sandbox game. So you can do other things to pass the time.

Ok reader, gotta be real with you. There isn't hardly anything to do in this game outside of main missions. Oh sure there are 80 some odd shops that you can shakedown which requires maybe 1-2 minutes of gameplay each. Anything from gunfights in the grocery store to annoying people shopping for clothes. All very basic and repetitive after a while. There are weapon challenges where you're given a time limit to wreak havoc. Which is a carryover from RCR. But these are also basically the same challenges from RCR which came out 7 years before this. There are 30 hidden phone chargers to find. Your reward for finding them all is it adds to the completion percentage of your save file. That's it. No reason other than to see a number go up. Which is the point of this game apparently. Doing stuff to make numbers go up that don't affect gameplay.

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Bananas make numbers go brrrrrr
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Buying and managing properties is done in a menu. Boring as could be. Scroll around map and snap up whatever you can afford, add multipliers to the daily returns, snore, drool, yawn. That's it. Exploring doesn't get you a whole lot. Also some of the things you can do outside of missions are made pointless by how much they pay. Fuck do I care about a coffee truck repo or breaking into houses for a couple hundred bucks when 1) I make a couple hundred thou daily and 2) I can make a couple hundred bucks mowing down pedestrians for a short time.

Money is only good for one thing in this game and its dealing with property. You can buy clothing with money. Also things from vending machines to regain HP. I don't know why I need to buy pants and shirts in colors that are barely visible on the sprite you're buying them for.

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I also am not sure why I spent cash to upgrade my character. Enabling double jumping, faster walk speed, and other things have no impact on any mission I've played and I'm 48% into story mode. I unlocked all that stuff once I was aware it existed because it was so useful in RCR.

The meat of this game are the main missions. They aren't exactly memorable and also feel like a bad rerun of RCR. Drive there, shoot the people or burn the trees, get out of there, run from the cops for a minute until they give up, mission is over. Generally your rewards are the ability to buy more properties or add new multipliers to existing properties. Yay numbers go up again woo hoo!! Obvious sarcasm there because there's no point to any of this except the dumb story. Earning all this money you can't do anything with except buy more property is an awful gameplay loop.

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Look, he's wearing spandex oh its too funny, can you imagine
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Honestly it seems like this game was so stuck in trying to be like its predecessor that it fails to do anything worthwhile on its own. If I recall correctly I finished Retro City Rampage in under 10 hours with over 90% completion. It was tightly paced, each mission was more absurd than the last and it was just a dumb fun nostalgia joyride. I'm about 9 hours into Shakedown Hawaii. The story is complete nonsense in this game too but it isn't supposed to be. Seeing this old man rage about dumb marketing schemes isn't a fun joyride. Its like this game is so meta that the whole narrative about business being shallow and money grabbing applies to the fact that this game costs actual real life money to buy and offers far less enjoyment than the previous game by the same company. If that was the point then this game was a successful shitpost.

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Overall this is a shiny package. The sprite art is appealing and the music is the best part of the game. You can find the soundtrack on youtube and I recommend it if you like Genesis/Mega Drive style music. However there's no reason for me to recommend this game to anyone. I don't see any reason to keep playing it myself. All screenshots in this review are my own. This game is available on PC and all the current and last gen consoles. If you want a number score it gets a 69 out of a possible 420. Play Retro City Rampage instead, you'll be glad you did.
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