Shakedown : Hawaii
Nintendo Switch

Developed By : Vblank Entertainment
Published By : Vblank Entertainment
Category : Action, Adventure
Release Date : May 07, 2019

One of the most difficult things for a huge corporation to do, is get with the times when the times change, and that’s exactly what you’re in store for when you fire up Shakedown : Hawaii on the Nintendo Switch. You’ll step into the role of an old CEO for a world-wide conglomerate Feeble Multinational. With his headquarters based in Hawaii, the CEO has taken a very passive approach at running his business. To be more specific, he’s lounging, tossing back margaritas and letting his company run itself. Unfortunately, it’s running itself right into the ground.

Feeble Multinational has it’s fingers in many markets like retail stores, taxi services, and video rental stores. However, while he’s been throwing back drinks and soaking up the son, the world has surpassed Feeble’s network, moving on to online streaming, online shopping, and popular ride-sharing services. So it’s quite the shock when the CEO gets a call that his company is going under. Now, it’s up to him, his son, and a third party known only as “The Consultant” to reclaim the island and make Feeble Multinational prosper once again!

Right away, players will feel a sense of familiarity as they drop into the Hawaiian city, as this game initially plays and feels like quite a few others. A few specific that will come to mind immediately are Grand Theft Auto specifically the older top-down ones, as well as Vblanks previous game, Retro City Rampage. You’ll have full access to an open city, free to roam and destroy as you please.

There is plenty to do around, ranging from important main missions to over-the-top side activities, as you look to regain your corporate throne and overthrow your competition, Featherbottom. The early game introduces you to a lot of these mechanics very rapidly, and it seems as though the game is seeking to overwhelm you with stuff to do. Yet, once you take a step back you can quickly realize that Shakedown : Hawaii may offer a lot in individual numbers, but not so much in variety.

As with most games of this type, the main story will  be your introduction to any and all side activities for the rest of the game. These activities will be your way of overthrowing the businesses around, and taking them over as your own. And, being completely honest, almost none of what you learn is going to be honorable, or even legal some of the time. Shady practices will be the key to twisting the knife in your competition’s backs and coming out on top in the market.

Nearly every building and business on the island is up for sale, and it’s all just waiting for you to shove your foot through the front door. Some properties, although not many, even offer their own introduction into side activities for you to enjoy. For example, buying up a car dealership allows you to go around and repo cars that have been leased from that location, bring them back and re-lease them to new customers for a recycleable way to earn profits.

The biggest way you’ll earn money is through the titular Shakedowns that can be run on businesses all around. There are tons of these to do, and while they can be quite comical, they are a huge source of what I mentioned before about things being repetitive. Almost any business on the island can be shaken down for protection money, but it’s how you convince the owners that they need protection which will have you either laughing or rolling your eyes (maybe both?) Perhaps the clothing store manager needs his mannequin punched a few dozen times, or the barber could lose his sick hairdo. They’re a lot of fun, but very quickly you’ll just fall into the pattern of repeating these over and over.

On the whole, the city looks absolutely amazing. Even for a top-down perspective, the detail that is present in Shakedown : Hawaii is beautifully thrown in your face. To top it off, the detail isn’t just limited to how things look, but how things can be interacted with. Almost the entire city is destructible, meaning if you cut a corner while driving, or you’re in a gunfight where bullets start flying every which way, chances are you’re gonna lay out some buildings or shrubbery along the way. Even puddles will react when you drive through them, and its a really minute detail to see pulled off.

If you’re looking for humor in a game like this, you will absolutely get it. However, much like the selection of activities, don’t expect a wide variety. Right off the bat, Shakedown takes advantage that it’s main character is an old fogey that can’t get with the times because he either refuses to, or doesn’t understand how to. And, with the exception of a few knee-slapping puns here and there, this is the majority of the driving point for the game’s humor. I personally didn’t mind it. Despite it feeling like the only source for a real comedic twist, I didn’t feel like it was being forced down my throat at the same time.

At a first glance, I knew this game was going to be one I enjoyed, and it absolutely lived up to it’s expectations. I was immediately impressed with the visuals of the game, there are more than enough times where you think it can’t just be in 16-bit style. The music and overall sound of the game sits very well, adding to the intensity and enjoyment of all things going on. Really, all this game does is impress. I cited a few things that can get repetitive, but only for the sake of being honest and making note of it. Shakedown : Hawaii is still a ton of fun and insanely hard to put down. Handheld or docked, this game is one that’s easy to immerse yourself in. So don’t wait, get with the times and download this in the eShop today!

 

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