Developer: Vblank Entertainment
Publisher: Vblank Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: eShop download
Category: Action, Adventure, Arcade
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: May 07, 2019 (EU & NA)
Price: $19.99 USD
Shakedown: Hawaii is a 16-bit GTA-esque action arcade game developed by Vblank Entertainment. It is a non-direct sequel to the well-received Retro City Rampage. It has been developed for multiple platforms including the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS Vita, PC and the 3DS. The latter being available some time a little later in 2019.
Shakedown: Hawaii follows the story of an ageing CEO whose company has been run into the ground during his absence. With advancements in technology, the internet and property development on the rise, it’s up to the player to rebuild their corporate empire by any means necessary.
Shakedown stores, purchase businesses and acquire land with hostile takeovers. While you are at it, increase your revenue by “Rezoning” land, fabricating loopholes in the fine print and distributing deceiving ads. All in the name of profit.
If you have played Retro City Rampage or even the first GTA games on the Original PlayStation, you can expect more of the same here but with further development into acquiring properties and making a profit from them.
From a top-down camera perspective, the whole 16-bit Island is at your disposal. Beat down on pedestrians, steal cars, rob houses, shoplift, pretty much anything and everything is within limits. Just bear in mind that the police don’t take too kindly to misdemeanours or full-on crimes.
There are three types of gameplay modes available; Story Mode, Arcade Challenges and Free Roam Mode. In Story Mode, You gain access to missions that act like an elaborate tutorial with story elements to teach you what you need to know. There are 111 main missions to sink your teeth into with another 15 side missions and 83 opportunities to shake down businesses. There are also up to 415 properties to be owned.
The Arcade Challenges mode allows you to play through the different weapon and score challenges without the need to try to hunt them down over the island. Each challenge is timed and depending on your performance, you can earn either a bronze, silver or gold medal.
Score Challenges require you to rack up a Hi-score, collect as much money or weapons as possible, etc. Weapon challenges are more specific to a particular weapon and how well you wield it.
Free Roaming mode allows you to wreak havoc on the island as you see fit. You have full funds, all weapons and not a care in the world. You can’t acquire properties or businesses and you can’t save progress but you have free reign to just go nuts.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
In Main Story mode, there are a number of other features; you will learn how to use. You can buy and use Multipliers in order to earn more profits from your businesses and properties. If your personal wallet is getting a little light, you can increase your salary on a day-to-day basis but be warned. This eats into your margin and you need to keep your corporate empire afloat.
As well as the business side there are plenty of everyday features as well. You can customize your character’s appearance by visiting different shops or hair stylists. You can get physiological upgrades at the Veterinarian that can allow you to double jump or run faster among other things.
Vehicles can get their own makeovers as well. By taking them to Car Mechanics, you can get your vehicles, repaired, recoloured or add a little Nitrous to really make them faster. There are also garages dotted around the island where you can store Cars that you want to keep.
Aside from the main character, the CEO, there are two others to unlock as well. You can change between them freely once you have ventured far enough into the main game. In the Main Story Mode, you will get the opportunity to play all three characters during certain missions. However, they are only unlocked at certain points in the game.
Of course, we can’t forget about the weapons, oh no. There are 18 different weapons that you can use and collect. From baseball bats to spreadguns, flamethrowers to faulty hairdryers, you can even cause complete panic with a pair of scissors. Most weapons, you can buy from gun shops but for the heavier arsenal, you will need to pay a visit to the black market lorries. Rocket Launchers and miniguns are also up for grabs for maximum mayhem.
Another feature is the Video Replays mode. At the end of completing Arcade Challenges, you can save your replay and watch it whenever you like from the main menu and going to Video Replays. Do bear in mind that you have to actually “Save” your replay by pressing the X button when prompted in the very bottom of the screen on the results screen.
Shakedown: Hawaii has a very upbeat, 16-bit music soundtrack that is just brimming with retro goodness. It wouldn’t feel out of place in an 80’s action flick with its electro pop-esque charm. You can also change radio stations when in vehicles to listen to different tunes. If you exit the vehicle you are driving, the background music will revert to the original overworld tune.
The sound effects are also very retro from the “pew-pew” of gunfire, to the bopping sound when you stomp on people. While most of the sound effects are most likely reused assets from Retro City Rampage, I can’t fault the developers for using them again for Shakedown Hawaii. If it isn’t broke, why change it, right?
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
Much like its predecessor, Shakedown: Hawaii is a colourful 16-bit world shown from a Top-Down perspective. Everything is carefully pixelated but plenty of attention was put into the detail. From the lines down the side of trash cans to the envelopes you can collect when you smash up letterboxes.
Performance is pretty solid as well. I had very little issue as regards to framerate drops. Even with multiple instances being rendered onto the screen like hordes of people of vehicles piling onto the screen. There doesn’t seem to be any noticeable difference between handheld or docked mode. This would leave me to believe that the performance is pretty solid regardless of how you play.
I enjoyed the original Retro City Rampage and Shakedown: Hawaii is definitely not a Sequel that fails to meet the standard. There is plenty to do in the Main Story mode and the Arcade Challenges will certainly keep players entertained.
The parody of questionable business tropes will certainly raise a smile or two and actually provides reasonably sound insight into today’s marketing strategies. Even though they are meant in jest in the game.
Besides the buildings themselves, everything else is destructible. The trees, fences, walls, etc. They will also stay destroyed until you die and respawn at the nearest hospital. People that you kill however will disappear shortly after being killed, as will any items they drop like money, weapons and health.
Shakedown: Hawaii builds upon the foundations of Retro City Rampage and is not afraid to shake things up a bit. It’s GTA mixed with SimCity formula strangely works and makes you wonder why it was never done sooner?
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*A download key was provided by the Publisher for the purposes of this review
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This post was written by Mike Scorpio