Skip to content

Maneater #GameReview

You are the shark. You eat people.

Title: Maneater | Developer: Tripwire Interactive | Publisher: Deep Silver | Release Date: 05/22/2020 | Genre: Action Sci-fi | Platform: Xbox One | Source: Self-Purchased | Starred Review

Page break indicator for Sci-Fi & Scary

Maneater Review

A few weeks ago, The Last of Us Part II was released on the Playstation 4. I haven’t read much about it (fear of spoilers) but I understand that, like the first game, it is a tense and emotionally gripping experience that will leave you a shivering wreck by the time the credits roll. On the day it was released, I instead bought a game where a shark eats people. That’s more what my emotional state can handle right now.

Maneater presents its story as a fictional reality show in the vein of something you would see during Shark Week. The camera crew is following a fisherman/shark hunter named Scaly Pete. In the opening moments, Pete guts a shark he has just killed and finds a baby shark inside her belly. The baby shark promptly bites Pete’s hand off and jumps into the ocean. You take control as the war between you and Scaly Pete escalates throughout the rest of the game.

The game gets a lot of mileage out of its reality show aesthetic. Various hashtags appear on screen during cut-scenes and the whole thing is narrated by Chris Parnell. The writing is surprisingly funny and even better, there is a lot of variety to it. Nothing grates on me more than hearing the same audio clips in a game repeatedly so it was nice to see the effort the developers put into ensuring the narration never gets stale.

Maneater takes place across seven environments, each one its own open world. You can explore the map, taking on missions, finding collectables or just casually swim around and gobble up fish and people. You begin as a baby shark who can barely battle barracudas (alliteration!) but you eventually evolve into a mega shark who can smash through boats and gobble up whales. You also gain and upgrade various evolution powers and can equip your shark with armor so that by the end you can be encased in armor made of pure bone as you take down yachts. All that to say, we aren’t dealing with a realistic game here but who would want a pure shark simulator experience? The answer is me, but this is great too.

The game presents a clear hypothesis – that it’s super fun to play as a shark and eat people. This is of course correct and the game executes on that idea very well. It took me about 15 hours to complete this game 100% and I never stopped enjoying snacking on some silly humans. It helps that there are various scenarios where you do this instead of simply heading to the beach. You can hop into swimming pools, grab people off their boats and since you can temporarily survive on land, you can bite your way through a beach side rave party. Watching a crowd scatter as you barrel your way through as many two legged treats as possible remained a great time from beginning to end. In addition to your big ole shark mouth, you can use your tail to whip enemies and also fling them through the air once they are in your clutches. Tossing a person into the side of a yacht in the early hours was a very fun discovery.

The issue is that the missions surrounding the game play are not very interesting and you’ve seen most of what the game has to offer after the first two hours. Nearly all the missions have you swim to a spot on the map and eat a certain number of something (humans, seals, etc). That’s really it. Once you complete the missions in an area, you will face an apex predator boss and then move on to the next location. There are also bounty hunters that will seek you out but to lure them out you have to spend a long time eating people and smashing boats so it feels drawn out. Searching for collectables adds some variety though an upgraded sonar ability means you won’t have to search very hard. It’s a game that lends itself well to shorter play sessions.

Oh and I should mention that the game did get stuck in a perpetual loading screen a few times. Frequent auto saving meant I never lost progress but it was annoying and always a tad stressful when it happened.

Maneater is a great summer game. After a long day of work or dealing with the sun’s consistent attempts to murder me, it was nice to unwind in the evening with an hour of shark-ing. The difficulty never gets frustrating (I only had to attempt the final boss twice) and sometimes all we need is to make a shark grab a rich guy off the front of his yacht and then eat him in front of all his rich guy friends to make real world problems seem a little further away.

Oh and one final note to say that yes, you can equip your shark to have lightning powers. If that doesn’t sell you, there’s nothing more I can do for you.

Published inHorror GamesStarred Reviews

One Comment

Comments are closed.

©Sci-Fi & Scary 2019
%d bloggers like this: