It’s that time again folks, time for another 15 Minute Challenge. These are a series of videos we do where we download some of the hottest paid applications from the Play Store and see if they have wait it takes to pique our interests for longer than Google’s 15 min return window. This time around we’ve downloaded ShaqDown by One Spear Entertainment, a title that launched in the Play Store only a few short weeks ago for the reasonably low price of $.99 cents.
The game stars legendary basketball great Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal — better known to you and I as the one and only Shaq — in a post-apocalyptic story where mankind is enslaved by semi-intelligent zombies. Of course, Shaq is our only hope for mankind. Wait- so why would someone knowingly make a game starring a retired basketball player? Well, it might have a little something to do with one of the greatest Super NES games of all time: Shaq Fu, of which ShaqDown directly pays homage to.
If you’re a sucker for great visuals, ShaqDown features art work from the one and only Long Vo, of Street Fighter fame. This is the man single handedly responsible for redoing the gorgeous art for Capcom in their Street Fighter HD remake that launched on consoles not too long ago. The man also draws a mean comic book. ‘Course, exceptional talent will only get you so far if the game itself looks like crap on your smartphone. Thankfully, ShaqDown looks absolutely stunning, even on my HTC DROID DNA and its full HD 1080p display. The Shaq and enemies feature a good amount of detail, colors pop, and animations are nice and fluid. The only problem I had was the lack of variation in the enemies — they’re all pretty much the same zombie just in different forms (we’ll get more into that later).
“Runner” games are all the rage in mobile gaming. It’s a genre that has the player auto running in a straight line and tapping the screen to jump and dodge enemies. ShaqDown is no different but attempts to mix things up by allowing the player to jump between platforms using quick screen swipes, tapping the screen to launch fire(basket)balls, and quickly navigating between weak and stronger enemies. Speaking of enemies, there is only 1 type of zombie, but it appears in 3 forms. The ones standing in a slouched position can be plowed through without any input from the player. Easy peasy. The second type is a zombie appears a bit more agitated and can only be defeated by a fireball, then plowing through him like regular. The player can also perform an upercut or slam by swiping the screen at just the right moment to defeat him as well. The 3rd form is the fully beefed up, evolved zombie that can be defeated by either a super attack (by pressing the basketball icon at the bottom of the screen), or simply avoiding.
The fact that ShaqDown features 3 levels/stages featuring a boss battle at the end of each (3 total) is what makes it stand out from other runner games in my opinion. The environment changes, and you get to face a big baddie at the end of every level in typical gaming fashion. This means ShaqDown actually gives the player something to work for, something to see, rather than just mindless running in an attempt to beat an old score. Mix in the ability to spend acquired points (Shaqra) on powerups and enhanced abilities and ShaqDown provides a good deal of bang for the buck. That’s why ShaqDown has successfully passed my 15 Minute Challenge and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for quick, impromptu gaming sessions on the John, or anywhere gameplay is appropriate. You can pick up ShaqDown via the link below.