Ever wondered what it is like to be a shark? Want to know how it feels to be one of the most feared beasts in the sea…ME TOO! I always had an obsession – somewhat unhealthy – with sharks. Jaws is one of my favourite films, and the game from 2006 also holds a special place in my heart, but I have longed for a new shark-based game.
Finally, Tripwire Interactive has made my dreams come true with its new title Maneater. A spiritual successor to Jaws Unleashed, we take on the role of a Bull Shark. A nice choice, there are many different breeds of Shark, yet many people will automatically assume we play as a Great White – understandable given it has been the source of nightmares since 1978.
However, it may come as a surprise to people that the Great White can be rivalled in its aggression by multiple species of Shark, one of which is the Bull. So, the fact that we take control of a new-born Bull Shark and control it through the ageing process was a breath of fresh air to me. Not to mention that killing crocodiles as a pup makes you feel like a total badass.
A big draw to Maneater is its RPG elements, anybody that knows me is aware that Role-Playing Games are my thing, Sharks are my favourite marine creature so bringing the two together is a match made in heaven…or hell depending on how many times you’ve watched Jaws, Deep Blue Sea or Shark Attack.
The RPG aspects are on point. Naturally, you level up the Shark through fighting enemies, finding collectables, completing challenges and more. The stronger you become, the more damage you can do. Furthermore, there are different abilities to be upgraded, equipment and armour to wear, all of which can be improved through various materials that can be collected by gobbling up prey and thrashing your foe’s.
Let me just say that the gameplay is a lot of fun! Honestly, I have been lucky enough to have this game for over a week courtesy of Tripwire Interactive, and I am yet to be bored. Even if I am feeling lazy – come on, even a rampaging shark needs a break sometimes – it is always good to visit a golf course or beach. Play a few rounds, catch some rays…eat some people.
You will encounter a range of enemies, including other sharks – Mako’s are a real pain in the ass, though their speed is no match for the mighty jaws of our Bull Shark! Each area of the map has a main enemy type in the water such as Crocodile, Barracuda, other sharks etc. But each location will have what is essentially a boss – a super version of whatever main enemy type you have been facing – they may or may not have been eating some dodgy things thrown into the sea.
Besides the marine threats, there are several bounty hunters just waiting to take you out. There is a threat level monitor, once you level up, a new boss bounty hunter will join the others in trying to take you out. To attract the standard bounty hunters, you need to enjoy yourself really, all those fun things such as eating humans and destroying boats.
Each boss, with some interesting names I might add, have an upgrade or piece of equipment ready for you upon defeat. Keep an eye on them though; I lost a bit of time killing hunters and destroying boats to kill the main hunter…only to realise sometime later I had already eaten them.
However, there is one big bad bounty hunter that we are after, good old Pete. He is not a fan of us, and we are definitely not keen on him, he made sure of that at the start of the game. Seriously, you want to tear that guy a new one from the get-go. That is what the game’s about, revenge on Pete, as we grow through our life, learn new abilities and go about becoming the most dominant beast, we always have our beady little eyes on that annoying asshole.
Mind you, with the game’s narrator around things, are always entertaining. Ever played Naughty Bear? No? Well, you should. The narrator reminded me of that little gem. Prepare to learn pointless facts, listen to some cracking one liner’s and discover more about your story.
Control-wise the game is great, not overly complicated with a decent tutorial to teach you the ways of being one of the most feared creatures in the seven seas. As with any game, it can take a little bit of practice to remember all functions – though bare in mind that I have the memory of a goldfish – genuinely forgot how simple it was to jump and made it overly complicated…Thirty minutes of gorging that I will never get back.
The downside to this game for me is that the story is not very long, and I actually found myself speeding through the game without even realising how far in I was. But it is an enjoyable experience, hence why I couldn’t put the controller down. It is not a serious game if you are after something that is ridiculously long and filled with an in-depth story; this is not for you. If you are up for a bit of fun, want to see things from the Shark’s side for once then I would recommend Maneater.
If you have played Jaws Unleashed and enjoyed that, then this is a no brainer, Tripwire has the game for you. Go ahead, jump in, eat some fish, slay some humans, destroy those boats!
This review first appeared on StrangeGirlGaming.com.