Platform(s): PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Genre: Top-Down Action Throwback With “Business Management”
Shakedown: Hawaii is an open-world top-down action game from Brian Provinciano, the man behind the much-lauded retro throwback Retro City Rampage. This pseudo-sequel of sorts takes the best, and worst, aspects of today’s gaming cliches and habits; specifically the addictive and mandatory attention-leecher aspects of a clicker game.
The story is simple: run your criminal-slash-business empire through questionable means by offering protection rackets, devaluing land by torching it down, repoing cars, and sabotaging the competition. Also, being a dick in this version of Hawaii helps. Stealing cars, killing innocent bystanders for extra cash; nothing is sacred.
And then there’s the business aspects of the game, simplified down to “buy property if you have enough cash from your main job(s)”. As you play more of the game, you earn more money and up the value and daily revenue of your business. The more hours you spend playing the game, the bigger your empire grows.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case where you have to wait a single day for a paywall to reach its cooldown; you just need to keep doing the game’s short and punchy missions. At least about 24 hours or so to get to three million in-game. If only real life was as rewarding.
Punchy gameplay requires arcade-perfect controls, and thankfully Shakedown: Hawaii delivers that. You have a plethora of weapons to sort your destructive tendencies: grenades, SMGs, shotguns, and flamethrowers to name but a few.
Challenge-wise, you’re not going to die if your twitch reflexes are on the level of “getting through most of NES Contra with your default lives”. Even the more dramatic and tense of fights can be taken down without much thought due to the game’s generous save system and cookie-cutter enemy behaviour.
Grand Theft Adequate
Your tolerance of Shakedown: Hawaii’s clicker-baiting may be offset with the fact that the game handles its top-down action in a solid, breezy, and occasionally fun fashion. It will get old and mundane if you’re not gelling with the on-the-nose satire and aesthetics.
However, its mobile-esque method of grabbing your attention span and giving you some enrichment while your digital empire grows through carnage deserves a few hours of your time. And it’s only US$14.99; you don’t have much to lose from this throwback.
-Cute story about greed and crime.
-Fun action and solid controls.
-Charming and consistent aesthetics.
-Game gets tiresome and old over time.
-Not that challenging.
FINAL SCORE: 60/100