A few years ago, both indie developer VBlank Entertainment and Brian Provinciano launched a succesfull Grand Theft Auto parody that struck gold with the players due to having fun !-bit style gameplay and a ton of 80’s references, exciting action and a great soundtrack. Now both developers return with a long awaited sequel set in a 16-bit art style.
As we said in the intro, this sequel to Retro City Rampage now has a 16-bit art style, making the game alot more lively and vibrant then its predecessor. The animations have been heavily improved, the city is more densely packed and the crisper visuals just create more distinct environments then the original could. Shakedown Hawaii also features many different filters in the game that make the details in the scenery really pop out.
While Retro City Rampage had a crazy story with some time travel escapades, Shakedown Hawaii keeps it more down to Earth with a completely different type of story. You play as the ageing CEO of a large corporation who realises his company is about to go under. While he still has lots of royalties from his earlier work on making books. He is slowly seeing all his money going down the drain, now he tries to use every dirty trick in the book to crawl himself back to the top. He also has a son that sadly went the wrong way in life and started crime.
The story mind seem kind of boring at first, but there is quite some fun to be had leading a corporation that tries every kind of dirty deed to earn more money. Like lowering fees people earn at your company or even reduce the amount of soda that you get when buying a can or bottle. It also has some funny moments when you see the CEO struggle with things like cookies on his pc or him messing up a livestream.
During the game you can play as the CEO, his son or a hired goon and the majority of the missions lets you go from point A to B to either get something or kill/destroy a target. These types of missions can become boring really fast and you are happy to see when the game shifts tone and lets you perform rhythmic minigames in missions instead. All the missions usually end up making you more money for the company and that is the entire point of the game in general.
The money-making story line is luckily not the only way to have fun, as you can just go out GTA-style and destroy or steal cars, mow down pedestrians or escape from the cops. There is a big variety of weaponry in the game to have fun with and create chaos and if you are tired or you have to recuperate a bit you can always stay at one of the many businesses or properties you can buy. you can also perform shakedowns in certain establishments to get protection money, adding to your daily earnings. Eventually you can be the true dictator of the island when you rack in millions of dollars and own a hefty amount of buildings.
Creating the chaos in town feels just as satisfying as in the first game. The controls of the vehicles and weapons are the same and if you really want to create a rampage, there is also a Free Mode for you to enjoy yourself in. This mode grants you an infinite amount of cash and all weaponry from the start. Making you not having to care how much you destroy or how many people you murder, although if you complete the story mode you practically end up with the same result.
There are also challenges included for you to enjoy. Each give you a new scenario where you have to race against the clock, get as many points as fast as possible or run over vehicles in a monster truck. Each challenge feels fresh and is a good pass time inbetween the lesser moments in the main story. These challenges are also good for quick burts of play and perfect to play on the go on the Switch when you do not have that much time to spare. In general we actually had the most fun in the challenges and the free mode compared to the amazing story of the previous game.
Despite having not such a grand storyline this time around, Shakedown: Hawaii is still a great game to enjoy. Swapping the 80’s references for modern takes and giving you fun ways to run your own business. Sadly the missions can get a bit repititive at times, but the fun challenges and Free Mode truly make up for it, making Shakedown: Hawaii a great purchase for fans of the GTA-series.