Real Talk By: KJ
Retro City Rampage was a fun take on the open world genre. Mocking Grand Theft Auto, taking many playful jabs at pop culture. It was considered a success and is available on a vast amount of gaming devices. As expected, its followup Shakedown: Hawaii would be a highly anticipated Indie Release. RCR went for the 8-bit look, now we’re in 16-bit territory. It’s easy to see a lot of time was put into the visuals. Animations, explosions, destruction overall impresses. Pedestrians are more lively. See them regularly taking selfies, working out, adding more life to this well-designed world map. Driving around is a breeze, and controls well. A standout look has been achieved. Music carries the Miami Vice 80’s vibe. Synth-fueled Jams perfect for cruising and engaging in shootouts.
Control three characters. One is an out of touch CEO whose investments have caused him to lose lots of money. It’s understandable considering he feels renting VHS Tapes is still profitable. Most of the comedy comes from how truly-behind the curve this character is. By any means necessary he takes steps to change his fortunes. He’ll have to use what’s available, recruiting help in the likes of his deadbeat son Scooter. Another aid comes from an Overseas Connection, who regularly takes on cartel members and acquires goods. Playing as all three is just for pushing the narrative forward, none have unique abilities.
A major part of the game is the act of Shaking-down stores, turning a profit. Over 80 businesses need to be forced to join your team. Most missions are constantly repeated. There’s some differences in-between, but expect similarities. Some times a player would cut the hair of a barber to pressure them. Other times an owner may already have protective services from other thugs. You then step outside and wipe them all out. The shakedown was a good concept, but the missions do wear out faster than expected.
It really becomes a grind. You’ve monopolized various businesses by force, but then what. Other than buying more property, Where can I take my monstrous amounts of cash earned? For the protagonist its great. He continues to cash-out, adjusting his finances accordingly. However, for the person holding the controller, there really isn’t much to do with earnings. It’s available to buying cosmetic items and guns, but all of which are fairly priced to begin with. Overall too much focus in this area takes away from mayhem established in Retro City.
Rampage Challenges are still a highlight. Missions putting key weapons to use in short time limits. One would see players using only a rocket launcher in a attempt to rack-up combos. Target locking enemies is accurate enough, but using the right stick to shoot from every direction is the way to go. This is very useful when being rushed by a surrounding group of gangsters. While there may be a few struggles, Missions across the board are very easy and fast to complete.
Wish there was more focus on the mayhem. It worked well for Retro City. Thumbs up for the comical dialogue, adding life to the grinding aspects of the game. There’s no denying when Shakedown: Hawaii embraces the fun of its predecessor, there is magic on screen. Unfortunately, the rampaging takes a backseat to a heavy dose of repetitive grinding.
Shakedown: Hawaii Gets
3.5 out 5
-Easy Missions throughout