Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Developing a spiritual successor to one of the most reviled licensed games in history might not be the best way to generate positive results, if ShaqDown is any indication. Like the laughable Shaq Fu before it, which transformed eccentric NBA star Shaquille O'Neal into a hand-to-hand fighter during the early days of his career, ShaqDown again turns the now-retired hoops legend into a violent warrior, this time tasked with pummeling zombies. And much like the game that inspired it, Shaq Fu is an occasionally amusing but mostly irritating experience.
When a virus transforms half of the world's remaining population into so-called mutant zombies, only one hero can save the remaining humans: the Dunkman and Justice Bringer himself, Shaquille O'Neal. It's a marvelously dumb premise, but the confidently ludicrous storytelling at least generates some chuckles. Less entertaining is the actual game, which spans just three levels that play identically with slightly different boss battles at the end, plus a survival mode that cobbles them all together as one.
Each stage sends Shaq surging headlong through three tiers of the monsters, most of which he'll simply topple automatically; others must be hit with a basketball projectile first (cue Shaq saying "Free Throw" a few hundred times), while the bulkiest of the set should simply be avoided unless your special meter allows a Dragon Ball Z-like energy attack or sped-up running move. Navigating the levels means swiping up and down to attack or avoid foes as desired for a couple minutes, which proves pretty humdrum even when you find the rhythm. And then the boss appears.
Toppling foes like "Ricardo Montalbomb" and "Mutant Zombie Behemoth" requires tossing balls while in pursuit, all while switching lanes to avoid enemy projectiles, but it's during the second such fight that many players will no doubt want to quit altogether. Awful design choices create scenarios in which Shaq is trapped between lanes with bombs and top-tier zombies, both of which will end the battle, and the controls aren't fluid or responsive enough to allow for the kinds of quick actions needed in those moments. It took me about 50 tries to defeat that boss, while the other two fell in a single attempt. ShaqDown's brief and banal quest simply doesn't reward such abrupt and prolonged aggravation.
The bottom line. Inane and unvaried gameplay, paired with some terrible boss stage design, yields another sad Shaq action affair; a real Diesel disappointment, to say the least.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Shaquille O'Neal as a zombie-killing warrior in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Good for a few laughs.
Terrible stage design in the second boss battle. Dull core gameplay requires little effort. Brief game with repetitive stages, mechanics, and presentation.