There are a whole lot of missions in Shakedown: Hawaii, every one in every of them a bite-sized mashup of arcade violence and darkish humor that takes intention at late capitalism. Not one of the missions overstay their welcome, but additionally, they don’t culminate into something extra rewarding than the expertise of simply driving across the sport’s shiny, lurid streets in search of hassle.
Designer Brian Provinciano’s non secular successor to 2012’s Retro Metropolis Rampage, Shakedown: Hawaii is out right now on PS4, Swap, and Vita, and it’s greater and prettier than its predecessor in nearly each manner. Its 16-bit sprites flutter within the pixelated winds that blow throughout its sprawling island, which is a number of occasions the dimensions of Rampage’s map. The pale backgrounds and dirty streets of the unique have been changed with electrical pinks and balmy palm bushes, making the carnage you continue to depart in your wake really feel extra just like the residue of a gonzo trip than a Bonnie and Clyde dying pact.
Shakedown: Hawaii places you within the sneakers of an ageing businessman who should come out of retirement for one final set of jobs to save lots of his company empire from the ravages of capitalism within the age of the web. The retail outlets and video rental companies upon which commerce was constructed within the age of the previous Grand Theft Auto video games that impressed Rampage and Shakedown have been despatched spiraling into debt due to content material streaming and two-day supply. Somewhat than be radicalized into opposing these hostile forces, the protagonist is impressed by them, and so that you spend the vast majority of Shakedown utilizing a mix of violence and grift to slowly construct again up your company empire and take over the island.
Just like Rampage, the missions nonetheless principally include you hijacking automobiles, going to a spot, after which occurring shoot ‘em up homicide sprees to facilitate hostile takeovers. In Shakedown, all of that’s in service of increase a steadiness sheet and diversifying your portfolio of companies and actual property property. You may blow up Amazon-inspired supply automobiles to assist your brick-and-mortar shops win again market share, or you possibly can repossess vehicles from homeowners late on their funds and instantly lease them again out once more as a part of a convoluted however all-too-believable subprime auto lending con. And, in fact, because the title guarantees, you possibly can shake down native companies for cover cash. Typically this implies knocking over merchandise. Different occasions it means high-stakes shootouts with police.
All of those actions have the potential to line your checking account and facilitate your takeover of a SimCity-like map, one block at a time. As a glutton for spreadsheets, I wished an added layer of numerical complexity, and at first, it appeared just like the greenback sign-filled metropolis overview would offer this, however in the end, it’s only a manner of protecting rating. You may spend your additional funds on buying new companies or shopping for new outfits and weapons, however there’s not any overarching risk to your monetary objectives. When you’ve taken over companies, you possibly can’t lose them. The actual property market isn’t unstable, and there’s no inventory market to play with, so regardless of the entire digits bombarding you in between missions, there’s nothing to actually handle behind the maths.
The premise permits the sport countless alternatives to take pictures at enterprise capital run amok and scams geared toward made-up demographics like “avid gamers between the ages of 14 and 30,” however that may get tiring. I spent a lot of the 5 or so hours I’ve spent enjoying Shakedown eager for the time-traveling antics and NES references embedded within the first sport. There’s one thing overly taxing and admittedly simply too actual about fucking over an exquisite metropolis as a wealthy, Fanta-toned child boomer whose head is colonized principally by hair plugs.
Every thing in Shakedown appears attractive, although, and it controls like a dream, a minimum of in case your desires are stuffed with ’80s arcade racers and weighty however responsive twin-stick shooters (mine are). Matthew Creamer’s soundtrack is bursting with a chiptune-fueled zest for all times that all the time felt restorative it doesn’t matter what soul-crushing shenanigans my character was as much as.
The sport actually sizzles when projected via the nice and cozy glow of the Vita’s OLED display screen. Providing one final zombie-like gasp to Sony’s handheld, Shakedown is each cross-buy with the PS4 and makes use of cross-save, a pleasant nod to the promise of the previous which at this level feels as cute and retro as any of the sport’s different references.
I simply want there was extra coronary heart in Shakedown—one thing to make the entire punchy driving and frantic fights really feel like they had been main someplace worthy of the 16-bit paradise that surrounds them. It’s straightforward sufficient to take the sport out for a fast spin and benefit from the mush of colours and sounds that fly by, however it will have been even nicer if the sport provided me a extra satisfying manner out of the enterprise cycle churn of its most important story.