The main character of Shakedown: Hawaii is the gray-haired CEO of the once large corporation who wrote the book “My company is functioning by itself while I am on the beach” many years ago. Unfortunately for him, while he was on vacation, the interests of the people and the situation on the market changed dramatically: digital purchases took the place of ordinary ones, videotapes are not needed by anyone because of streaming services and so on. Strong competitors began to appear, it is necessary to invest money in something new and profitable, and that is what we have to do in the new game from the designer Retro City Rampage.
The main advantage of Shakedown: Hawaii is that, even if some moments in it are exaggerated and hyperbolized, they still have some basis. As a businessman who constantly watches TV and analyzes advertising, we will use a variety of tricks in our marketing campaigns, and many of them are popular in our modern realities.
People stopped buying our cola? We will rebrand and turn it into a cola for gamers, inviting for a movie a cheap actor who has never held a gamepad in his hands. A competitor sells a drink at the same price, but quietly reduced the packaging? You can do the same, making beautiful design and fooled buyers. Are some ingredients expensive? We will replace them with some kind of “chemistry”, but we will not change the packaging much, we will only add a postscript in small letters. Did you notice that yogurts in stores are now “tasteful” of something, and not with pieces of fruit?
This is where the plot is built, which is a set of one and a half hundred short missions. The protagonist finds ideas at every corner: he will see a report about an unscrupulous businessman, he will come to the store and notice something unusual, then his colleagues will prompt something. And as soon as he clings to something, he immediately tries to accumulate the necessary amount (companies make a profit every day) and acquires buildings and various types of ready-made business so that all the money they earn in the future goes into his pocket.
There is a lot of real estate on the island, but not everything can be bought immediately – as you progress through the plot, the houses whose owners are ready to work for you will become more and more. The story itself can not boast of something special, the developers did not rely on the plot. But there are plenty of references and jokes here – they scoff here at marketing specialists, and over how an elderly businessman tries to blend into modern life (episodes with the purchase of software and movie tickets are just fine), and about the features of the gaming industry with its loot boxes and endless patches do not forget.
It’s great that in Shakedown: Hawaii everything happens rapidly, without pauses and long trips. We received a mission, immediately get into your fast sports car (or go down into the subway and teleport to the right place in a second), there you are exchanged with someone with a couple of words, if necessary, shoot from a machine gun – the mission is over. Someone immediately calls the hero, or he contacts someone, immediately a pointer appears on the mini-map with the next point. It seems there is no time to be distracted, but in fact, you can take a break from the plot at any time and go about your business: buy a new weapon, repaint a car, beat passersby, collect the money that fell from them and fights off the cops. And then go back to the main story without missing anything.
Made in a 16-bit style, the world is surprisingly lively: cars are going somewhere, any of which can be stolen, as in the GTA, people walk, restaurants work. It is possible to visit many buildings so that, having changed clothes, to begin to extort money from the sellers for protection. Not everyone agrees right away – you have to resort to extreme measures. You can scare someone by scoring his toilet with paper or breaking a couple of shop windows, and in some cases, you will have to shoot with the bandits. Sometime, situations will start to repeat, but there are many of them so that these mini-quests do not get a mouthwash quickly.
Subject tasks also tried to diversify: at one moment the main character runs with a flamethrower and burns trees, instead of which one could put up a building, and after a few minutes doing gymnastics or participating in a show. Often, instead of a businessman, we manage his son, who does not want to look for a normal job, and also a hired killer, who destroys cartel members and collects documents somewhere in South America. The missions for the latter are rather boring – ordinary running from one point to another with the shooting of idols. The remaining tasks, too, are sometimes repeated, but this is not so noticeable.
Shakedown: Hawaii is a fun and at the same time meaningless game that rests exclusively on satire and dynamic gameplay. The relatively large open world is overflowing with buildings that are waiting for you to buy them in order to make profits with them and buy property until the whole island is yours. Such an exciting “clicker” that is equally good if you spend an hour on it and come back the next evening, and if you devote a whole day to it. It’s definitely not going to be in the story and is unlikely to be remembered by anything, but if you start the passage, then it will be difficult to stop.
Pros: great visual style; cleaning up the map, buying real estate and developing every business is fascinating; dynamic gameplay; good (in most cases) humor, ridiculing fashion trends in marketing.
Cons: sometimes monotonous missions; problems with money are solved by waiting for the next day, which is why you can quickly save a huge amount without doing anything; not the most convenient card (but it will be improved in the first patch).