VBlank Leisure’s Retro Metropolis Rampage was a exceptional indie jab at online game big Grand Theft Auto. That includes every part from high-octane motion to time-travelling shenanigans, it was a sport that obtained every part proper. It was sensible, humorous, attractive… in brief, just about every part you’d need in a online game. After years of delays and an excellent longer growth, you’d hope that Rampage’s successor Shakedown: Hawaii could be a grand return for VBlank. Sadly, it by no means hits the gold commonplace that was set earlier than it.
From a purely presentational standpoint, Shakedown: Hawaii is vastly superior to its predecessor. Whereas Rampage’s Eight-bit visuals had been appropriately amiable, Hawaii as an alternative opts for a gorgeously detailed 16-bit aesthetic. Whereas a pixel-art world won’t ever be as immersive because the totally Three-D landscapes of Crimson Lifeless or GTA, Hawaii’s compact world is so detail-rich that you possibly can think about being there.
Wonderful particulars are plentiful: each nook of 16-bit Hawaii has one thing to gawp at, even if you happen to’re simply flattening pedestrians in your strategy to a mission. Civilians stroll round taking selfies, streets are crammed with diverse NPCs, timber sway and puddles minimize as you drive via them. There’s no denying the eye to element right here. A lot of the sport’s attractive objects even have quite a few states as you’ll inevitably destroy them sooner or later throughout your playthrough. That lovely-looking brick wall? You’re going to drive proper via it. That tiny store? You’re going to burn it right down to the bottom.
VBlank’s collection has seen a progress spurt, not simply in its visuals but in addition its story. Whereas the unique sport was a tremendous tongue-in-cheek jab at each popular culture reference previously thirty years, Shakedown: Hawaii drops that completely. Set thirty years after Rampage, the participant character has advanced into the disgruntled CEO of the failing Feeble Company.
As you’re struggling to maintain your organization afloat, you’ll resort to a lifetime of crime and unethical enterprise practices to rise from the ashes and take out your competitor, Featherbottom. The plot right here isn’t complicated in any respect, however that’s as a result of any significant story beats are forged away in favour of pure comedic moments. Humour could also be subjective, however Shakedown: Hawaii doesn’t provide its comedy as cannily as its predecessor did; whereas Rampage drew its humour from parody and outlandish conditions, this time the laughs purely stem from the participant character’s lack of ability to maintain up with fashionable conveniences.
A number of the jabs listed below are truthful sport. Massive day one patches and console UI commercials need to be closely scrutinized, so too do egregious store-specific bank cards, however many of the jokes listed below are merely of the “outdated man yelling at a cloud” selection. That’s the level; the character you’re enjoying as is hilariously out of contact, however Shakedown: Hawaii by no means evolves. As a substitute, you’re caught with that one joke all through many of the story. There are some chuckle-worthy scenes however, for probably the most half, it will get stale rapidly and the dialogue isn’t as witty or intelligent because it was in Rampage.
With the world being blown as much as 4 occasions the scale of the unique, VBlank has made positive there’s one thing apart from mindless-albeit-fun violence to do inside it. Opening the sport’s map will present the various purchasable buildings which you’ll have to accumulate, improve and carry out the titular shakedowns in. Sadly, that is probably the most distinguished a part of the sport.
Each few in-game minutes you’ll be granted each day income out of your properties which instantly will get dumped into extra properties. As soon as you bought a constructing, you possibly can improve it from an inventory of 13 bonuses you’ll uncover via story missions. Every constructing provides extra income to buy, but extra buildings and upgrades merely add a share improve to that income. It’s a mechanic that by no means evolves, it solely will get extra tedious. You’re merely shopping for a factor from an inventory of issues that solely serves the aim of permitting you to purchase much more issues. It’s senseless busywork.
As a sport that ridicules the worst of consumerism, Shakedown: Hawaii adopts some of the reviled elements of recent gaming: a Ubisoft-style guidelines fashion of completion. There are 81 properties to shakedown, all of which come right down to performing one in every of six completely different actions: eradicate gang members, scare away clients, minimize off somebody’s hair, escape from an underground jail, steal a cargo or drive away with the store proprietor on the hood of your automotive. Because the shakedowns are positioned in massive clusters on the sport’s map, you’ll most certainly be tackling them in teams at a time, highlighting the repetitious nature of the signature mechanic.
In between shakedowns and story missions, you’ll pop into your map and buy just a few properties. Possibly you’ll save up for an costly constructing and dump all your cash into upgrading that – it’ll make an excellent bonus on your each day income. Inside Hawaii, there are a whole bunch of buildings to purchase, every with 13 upgrades that you just’ll should manually apply. It’s senseless repetition: the monotonous moments of repeatedly urgent down and “A” on each property to buy its upgrades is much from enjoyable.
In later sections, Shakedown: Hawaii does choose up the tempo. With all shakedowns full, every property bought, and upgrades put in place, the lengthy sections of menu navigation barely crop up within the final quarter of the sport’s narrative. In fact, they’ll seem from time-to-time as most story missions finish in you buying a property or upgrading one thing, however together with your each day income within the tens of millions, it’ll by no means gatekeep you from development once more.
When it’s purely enjoying itself as a sequel to Retro Metropolis Rampage, there’s a lot to love right here. Senseless weapon actions allow you to assault civilians with grenades and the sport nonetheless offers you with loads of pleasant gunfights. Alas, these nuggets of gold fail to cover the sport’s shortcomings. The pacing continues to be overwhelmingly sluggish and most missions finish simply as they’re getting began. It’s a disappointment, but it surely’s removed from a failure; Shakedown: Hawaii merely strayed too removed from what the unique was nice at.
VBlank Leisure’s second GTA parody isn’t the close-to-perfect sequel we anticipated, but it surely’s nonetheless a good sport. Regardless of all of its quite a few shortcomings, there’s nonetheless some enjoyable available whenever you’re not toiling via menus, but it surely’s exhausting not be dissatisfied when you think about VBlank’s earlier work; hopefully, like Retro Metropolis Rampage, we’ll see a greater DX model sooner or later. Because it stands, Shakedown: Hawaii is filled with potential, but it surely’s overshadowed by monotony.