ShakedownHawaii WideSplash

Shakedown Hawaii

The latest 16 BIT open world game from Canadian developer VBLANK is finally here! ‘Shakedown Hawaii’, the successor to ‘Retro City Rampage’ is available now for Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Playstation Vita and Windows.

Vblank Entertainment originated as a labour of love for Canadian Brian Provinciano. He has been fiercely committed to making games that recreate that NES / SNES nostalgia. Retro City rampage originated from a little homebrew project in 2002, and Brian went to the lengths of recreating his own NES dev kit just so that he could start working on his project which he codenamed ‘Grand Theftendo’. As the name suggests, Brian’s mission objective was to recreate GTA (III) using 8 Bit sprite based graphics.

VBlank's 8 Bit Styled 2012 Release 'Retro City Rampage'
VBlank’s 8 Bit Styled 2012 Release ‘Retro City Rampage’

That objective shifted over the course of development, as Provinciano moved away from recreating the content of GTA III, and towards a new direction. An original game was created, albeit with toungue in cheek pastiche and cheesy one liner references to other games along the way (such as Mario, Contra, Metal Gear, Zelda, Duck Hunt and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Set in the fiction town of Theftopolis, in 1985, the game takes advantage of it’s context to parody a huge amount of 80’s game and pop culture.

As the game got closer to launch, Provinciano’s one man band production also began widening to enlist more talent to help him complete development of the game’s pixel art and chiptune soundtrack.

Shakedown Hawaii - Some 16 Bit GTA cop chase action
Shakedown Hawaii – Some 16 Bit GTA cop chase action

So what about ‘Shakedown Hawaii’? The new action – adventure game is set some 30 years after the major events of ‘Retro City Rampage’.

“The entire island is up for grabs… or at least, could be with the right business model.

Welcome to Shakedown: Hawaii, Vblank Entertainment’s latest open world adventure. Build a “legitimate” corporation by completing open world missions, acquiring businesses, sabotaging competitors, “rezoning” land, and shaking down shops for protection money.

You are the CEO, and questionable subsidiaries, misleading ads, fine print, hidden service fees, and marketing spin are your tools of choice. Shakedown: Hawaii parodies big business, and the most absurd business practices that go alongside.

From the boardroom to the streets, build your corporate empire and destroy the competition.”

The gameplay goes down a similar route to ‘Retro City Rampage’, and is littered with parody of 80’s pop culture and retro video games. This time around the open world island features destructible environments and also allows you to break away from mission based game play to extort local businesses, buy real estate (in a responsive, fluctuating market), steal cars and clothing, wreak havoc on the unsuspecting public with an arsenal of weapons and discover and complete arcade style challenges and mini games.

'Shakedown Hawaii' In Action
“Shakedown Hawaii” in action

And so what about the graphics? Well. They’re BEAUTIFUL! The graphical style is deeper and richer than ‘Retro City Rampage’ and much more reminiscent of the ’16 bit’ era of consoles like Super Nintendo Entertainment System and SEGA Megadrive (or Genesis if you are in the states), than of the ‘8 Bit’ era. The luscious tropical environment of Hawaii allows a richer, more appealing and saturated world with plenty of depth and foliage for the eyes to feast on. Animation still has the same sense of humour in movement and retro arcadeyness that makes this kind of game so endeering and ‘real’.

If you are a fan of the 8 Bit / 16 Bit era and like the idea of blasting your way through a GTA inspired open world pixel art enviroment, and having some laughs along the way, grab ‘Shakedown Hawaii’ and let us know what you think in the comments!

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