Community Review: Shakedown Hawaii

Community Review: Shakedown Hawaii

You’ve gotta admit, restoring Blockbuster to its former glory by going GTA on the streets is a pretty good hook for a game.

Shakedown Hawaii‘s also one of the last games to release on the Vita – probably the last game, really. But while the Retro City Rampage developres know how to nail their visual style, the game also has a lot more busywork than its predecessor.

Shakedown: Hawaii Offers A Breezy 16-Bit Farewell To The Vita

There are hundreds of missions in Shakedown: Hawaii, each one of them a bite-sized mashup of arcade violence and dark humour that takes aim at late capitalism. None of the missions overstay their welcome, but also, they don’t culminate into anything more rewarding than the experience of just driving around the game’s bright, lurid streets looking for trouble.

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Shakedown Hawaii Actually Looks Mental AF

The latest game from the makers of Retro City Rampage, Shakedown: Hawaii is looking bonkers in the best possible way.

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Beyond the opening jabs and jokes about subscription payments and day one patches, Hawaii has the player buying up a lot of property around Hawaii. Your properties give you money every couple of minutes, which can then be spent on more properties to gain more money. There’s no
volatility in the properties you buy, and you can’t lose them once you’ve bought them. So it’s a little bit like completing things for the sake of completing them, which can get a bit samey. Your landlord ambitions aside, there’s also 81 properties that need to be shaken down through scaring away customers, cutting off hair, killing gang members, and so on.

But I’m interested in your take on the game. How have you found Shakedown Hawaii‘s references and in-jokes, and how’s the gameplay been for you coming from Retro City Rampage?


  • Relentless, that’s how I’d describe this game. You finish a mission, your phone rings immediately… you’re off on another mission. And each mission gives you a new option for managing businesses or more properties to buy, but there’s never a pause for you to actually do this, or if you do… and play the real estate game for just a moment, you make so much money so quickly you never have a spare second there either.

    I suppose you could ignore the mission prompts and explore for a nanosecond, but it’s not that kind of game, and without the bizarre/funny plot of the first game, it’s not particularly compelling.

    While playing I can’t help but be reminded of how good GTA:Chinatown Wars was – this game makes me want to go back to that instead; it runs rather well on ipad Pro with an MFI controller.

    What Shakedown Hawaii does have in spades, is a practical (not cynical, this stuff is frequently deployed) guide to all kinds of “spin” placed on products. This is what the linear narrative is replaced with, a remarkable ‘how to’ of ripping off people. For example there’s a mission where you’re charged a “convenience fee” for buying concert tickets online, so you grumpily go to the mall to buy them in person, and still get charged the same convenience fee – so then your character thinks that’s a great idea and you have now unlocked convenience fee profit multiplyers at all your businesses. Very funny … but a proper story might have worked better.

    And yes it does cover loot boxes too!

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