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Shakedown Hawaii shows off megacorp murderthon

Shakedown Hawaii

Confession: when Alice mentioned Shakedown Hawaii [official site] to me I assumed it was a fancy pineapple smoothie. It is not. It’s a spiritual successor type deal and what it’s succeeding is the 8-bit-esque Retro City Rampage. The bits have doubled to 16 and there’s now a full reveal trailer offering up the following: “its theme, story, protagonist, and… business acquisition metagame!”

There’s also a lot of riffing on amoral corporate shenanigans with mention of spurious superfoods so I guess pineapple smoothies could MAYBE still be involved at some point? Anyway, let’s have a look:

According to the accompanying post by developers Vblank:

“You play an aging CEO, stranded in a world he no longer understands, with a company that’s now a relic of the past.

“Upon discovering that online shopping’s destroyed his retail margins, ride sharing killed his taxi business, and video rental stores… are no longer actually a thing… it becomes clear that keeping the company alive will require drastic measures. He’ll need to modernize the business! Unfortunately, the modernizations he chooses are exactly those comically egregious practices!”

For me it’s too heavy-handed to be an enticing game prospect – it feels more like a lazy comedy set based on an afternoon of skimming Instagram trends and Silicon Valley news attached to something old-GTA-ish than a fleshed out game concept. I think that was a similar problem Alec found with Retro City Rampage when it came out.

I mean, the info post itself says:

“But, whether you’re cornering the market on avocado toast or masterminding new hidden service fees, the missions ultimately unravel into the same carjacking, combat and shootouts you’d expect from the genre.”

It’ll be interesting to see whether it comes together a bit more in the full thing – it might be that the mega-corp idea and acquisition loops help structure the rest of the action and hinge the slew of references around something – or whether it’s another scattergun affair. At the moment, and especially because of the avocado toast and carjacking quote it sounds in danger of just being a fresh skin on the same game, but this bit sounds more promising:

“New opportunities will emerge as your empire branches out into new market segments. With the disguise, you can begin sabotaging competitors, threatening those who threaten your brands, and collaterally “rezone” land.”

Sidenote: I’m now wondering whether the series progression will hit 64-bit and start investigating such topics as the Harlem Shake, the Ice Bucket Challenge, The Dress, Bee Movie, Dabbing and Netflix and chill.

Anyway, Shakedown Hawaii be out on PC via Steam this year sometime, as well as on a bunch of other platforms I’ve never heard of. What’s a PlateStation? Why is Nintendo’s Witch involved? Gosh, this is confusing.

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Philippa Warr

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