Switch version tested
16-bit Grand Theft Auto is here and it’s called Shakedown: Hawaii. Steal cars, money, weapons, and wreak havoc on a corporate-owned island. Dilute quality and increase profits to take over the competition in a rat race to be the top dog. You want to be the very best, but try to enjoy the ride along the way.
Looks are the first attention grabber for me so that’s what we’ll start with. I very much love the 16-bit visual category and Shakedown: Hawaii fits that mold pretty well. Many aspects of an “open-world” game make me question whether or not this art style will work, but with each question comes a nice looking answer that satisfies me. Buildings, planes, and large vehicles exploit the art style the best. They paint the pixels in a satisfying way that entices me to hunt down new objects in-game. It makes exploring and looking for secrets all the more fun.
Shooting was either going to be within eight directions or twin-stick. To my surprise, it was twin-stick as well as auto-aim and I loved that. It met and surpassed my expectations in a nice way. Auto-aim grabs on to a nearby enemy allowing the player to simply run and dodge fire, while taking twin-stick control gave aiming freedom to manoeuvre in your own way. Linear areas I gravitated towards the auto-aim while engaging in enemy fire from all directions I opted for manual aim. When you feel like going on a destruction spree to gain points and money, the auto-aim is a big help.
Shakedown: Hawaii follows the story of an older CEO that has fallen behind on the times. He leans on his son and a distant friend to help tackle these new obstacles in his old ways. Swap between characters once unlocked for their specific missions or just because. I stuck with the CEO simply because his jump and running speed can eventually be upgraded. The game will also auto swap to the CEO once you’re engaged in a shakedown.
In order to take over the island, the task at hand is to own every business in sight. Perform a shakedown to ruffle the feathers of business owners to extort money from them. With each Shakedown and business owned, you’ll increase daily profits and cash on hand. With each passing day you’ll get money from your business. A slew of upgrades to each business is available on the pause menu. There are a variety of sequences for each Shakedown. Some involved a little intimidation, violence, or humour.
Humour is the main drive of the story with each cutscene the CEO getting frustrated or creating another get-rich-quick scheme. With every cutscene, the developer enlarged the characters and brought them to life in a gorgeous way. They evolve from 16-bit and breathe personality into the characters. These scenes are both charming and impressive.
When thinking of GTA inspired games violence is at the forefront of thought. Shakedown: Hawaii does have violence but it’s executed in a silly way. It doesn’t focus on that element in a “negative” way. Yeah, you can mow folks on the sidewalk but with each fatality or car crash they disappear in moments. There is no visible blood but there are some screams from folks. Watch your vigilante gauge increase with each negligent act and more cops will appear to stop you.
Lastly the music is great. It’s got this 80’s vibe to it and if you’re not playing you might just nod your head to it. The soundtrack is on the developers YouTube channel if you want to listen.
I enjoyed my time spent with Shakedown: Hawaii and it took just over eight hours to complete. It left me wanting more so I think it was the perfect length. The art style is great, humour is entertaining, and I can’t wait to see more from this developer. Shakedown: Hawaii is a fun game I would recommend to my friends.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, PSVita, 3DS, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 07/05/2019
No. of Players: 1
File Size: 139 MB
Category: Action, Adventure, Arcade
Publisher: Vblank Entertainment
Download link: eShop