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Shaq Down for iOS misses the mark for 90s nostalgia

Chris Holt | Feb. 6, 2013
Whether regrettable cash-in or novelty item, Shaq Down doesn't even hit the rim.

The boss battles represent a missed opportunity, as they have a potential to be epic slugfests, showing Shaq's apparent strength as the "Justice Bringer." Instead, they become insanely tough bullet hell sessions. Thankfully, while there are no real checkpoints in the regular stages, if you die during the boss fight, you can restart at the fight.

There are several achievements to unlock, but nothing you won't automatically attain after running through the game for a few hours. You can unlock different jerseys that will change the game rules slightly: a faster pace but weaker boss, for example.

While I can only speculate, there's plenty of evidence to assume that Shaq was selected as the game's title character after the developers failed to secure some other celebrity. With the bull-running mechanic and references to the character's speed, was the game originally supposed to be "Adrian Peterson Saves the World," or "Marshawn Lynch Versus the Zombies?" Just curious.

Bottom line

There's a spectrum of celebrity basketball players in video games, from genuine if overly-serious fandom best exemplified by Barkley: Shut Up and Jam, Gaiden to the absurdist distraction of Dikembe Mutombo's 4.5 Weeks to Save the World.

Shaq Down occupies an unfortunate middle ground: with game-play elements that include zombies and super-powered basketballs, it can't be taken seriously. But its wafer-thin plot and lack of intentional humor make it a bore. Whether regrettable cash-in or novelty item, Shaq Down doesn't even hit the rim.

 

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