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Posted by GG Goblin On June - 2 - 2020

Eating seafood and causing chaos. The life of a shark is not all that bad.

When Tripwire Interactive first revealed Maneater, their open world shark-based action RPG, there was a certain amount of disbelief. Surely it was some kind of joke. I mean, sharks only tend to swim around and eat stuff, don’t they? How much game can be made out of that? Well, once the disbelief calmed down, and thanks to some brilliant footage, anticipation kicked in. This could be something really interesting, and it certainly looked like fun. Now that Maneater has launched, it turns out that sharks don’t do much other than swim around and eat stuff, but that hasn’t stopped the game from being very enjoyable, in a tongue in cheek kind of way.


Maneater is not a serious game. Those looking for a simulator with some kind of documentary-style message will be sorely disappointed. However, anyone who has sat through movies such as Sharknado will know what to expect here. Larger than life shark hunters, sharks evolving special powers, and eating through entire ecosystems are just some of what players can expect.

Not known for their deep thinking, it may come as a surprise that the shark in Maneater has a story. It is not just a case of eat to live, but rather a tale of rising up from almost nothing to get revenge on those who wronged you. In this case the offending character is Scaly Pete, a shark hunter who killed your mum at the very beginning of the game. Scaly Pete lost an arm, but now your plan is to grow and evolve enough to end his life for good. Okay, so it is not the most involving story, and don’t be expecting any plot twists along the way, but at least it gives the player a very clear indication of where they are heading. Scaly Pete, your time is up.

Starting out as a young shark, the most important thing to start with will be to eat anything that moves, and anything that is small enough to not put up too much of a fight, and start growing. As the player progresses through the game, they will visit seven different areas as they grow, gliding through the beautiful waters and eating other sea creatures. The player will be presented with different missions to complete, although most of these missions will involve attacking various different creatures and eating them. Each of the areas also has a boss of sorts that the young shark will have to overcome as they evolve.

The shark is not the only predator in the waters, and the player will often have to fight for their survival, or at least for their dinner. As a shark, the available moves are somewhat limited, with a chomp of the jaws and a tail whip being about the sum total. There is also a dash of sorts that will thrust the shark forward, and an evade for keeping out of the way of opposing attacks. For the most part, adversaries will make use of the same types of attack, and so the combat is easy to learn and manageable as the shark evolves. Even when it comes to the larger creatures, from Alligators to Killer Whales, there are only so many moves to worry about.


Of course, there is also the option to wreak some havoc on the Humans who dare to go in the water. Targetting a Human from beneath the waves and rising up to leap out of the water with the flailing Human in the shark’s mouth never gets old, but this sort of fun comes at a price. As the blood is spilled, the sharks notoriety will increase and more people will take notice. This can lead to the Coast Guard getting involved, and eventually the type of people who make a living from hunting sharks. Still, it keeps things interesting.

As already mentioned, Maneater doesn’t really stick to reality. While it could be understandable that the young shark will get bigger and grow stronger as it eats its way through the various ecosystems, mutations are perhaps a little more unbelievable. To face off against Scaly Pete, this little shark will need all the advantages it can get, and while levelling up and becoming generally more powerful and hardy will make the upcoming conflict easier, throw in some electrifying teeth and Scaly Pete’s days are numbered. Many of the upgrades are quite silly, but I did say it wasn’t a serious game.

The presentation is really well done in Maneater. While the Humans may not be the best I have seen in a game, the underwater world is quite beautiful and enjoyable to explore. It could have been quite a silent game, aside from the screaming of course. However, an excellent set up involving a reality show and narrator keeps it from getting boring and provides much of the silly humour.

There are some problems with the game though. The core concept of eating everything, which carries over to the vast majority of the missions, can become repetitive. Lasting for less than ten hours does mean that the game doesn’t outstay its welcome though. There are also some issues with the camera and the movement can be a little janky at times. These are minor issues though that can be overlooked if the idea of getting revenge on a salty sailor sounds like fun.


Maneater is a game about swimming and eating. Some players will find it frustratingly one note, but for those who embrace their inner shark, the game will be an absolute blast. It may be repetitive and perhaps a little strange, but the game that made waves when first announced proves that the wait was worth it. A very enjoyable action RPG where you happen to be a shark. Pick up Maneater and get your revenge.




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