Maneater, the game that lets the player become a shark. If that’s not enough to sell you on the game then I don’t know what you’re into. Developed by Tripwire Interactive, this game was originally released for PC and major consoles on May 22 2020, but they have since published the game on Nintendo Switch. My review will be for the Switch version. Fans of the Jaws movie will be happy to play this over the top shark role-playing game.
Being a shark is fun
Eating all sorts of wildlife and awful humans is the best. Anything from turtles and groupers to gators and orcas are on the menu. Each meal will allow the player to gain experience to level up and evolve. Complete objectives like collecting license plates and finding location markers. Each marker found will trigger the narrator to drop a line that is always funny or passive-aggressive. Voiced by Chris Parnell who is known for his acting on Saturday Night Live and Jerry Smith on Rick and Morty, he is a massive highlight to the game. Listening to his jokes was the motivation to find more location markers.
Our story begins with our pal Scaly Pete the shark hunter. He has a shark hunting family legacy to contribute and is the star of a cable show to document it. The player starts as a shark that encounters Pete only to be caught and killed. Pete slices open the stomach to find a baby, cuts it, then has his arm bitten off by the small shark and flails its way to freedom. Now the player is the baby shark and it’s time to grow!
Finding footing with the controls is the first catch of the day
Use the right analogue stick to direct the shark up and down while the left stick moves left and right. A turns on sonar to locate collectables and target enemies. B is to slightly ascend, Y to descend. These make it feel weird as it’s an abrupt movement that cannot be held to continue in either direction. L will allow the player to tail whip which is fantastic for BOSS BATTLES. ZL increases swim speed but not for long enough. It feels like it should have been a sort of ‘run’ button that could be held down for a higher speed but instead, it’s more of a quick boost. R is to dodge and I recommend using that while being hunted. ZR is the attack or bite button and while biting enemies the right joystick will be used to thrash. The shark bite is a sort of homing bite and I love that. Swimming upward and hitting B will allow the player to breach the water and I found that to be difficult. With all the controls being laid out they do feel a bit off. There is room for improvement and I doubt that will come in the form of an update. It’s unfortunate because I feel it will push some people away.
Increasing the shark’s level is required for the BOSS BATTLES and apex animal fights. For a moment I felt the game was grindy but finding underwater tunnels or caves filled with fish or hunters, and eating humans will move things along faster quashing that initial feeling. Discover grottos in each area to upgrade, grow, and advance in the food chain. Changing the visual of the shark comes with added benefits such as better fat intake or more damage. All parts of the shark can be customised from jaw, head, body, fins, tail, and three organs. Complete sets will give a damage bonus if selected.
Visually Maneater looks good in handheld
My advice is to play docked for a better look and feel. Often I would have the issue of frozen enemies and that was a bummer. This problem was only with animal enemies but still became an annoyance. Yes, it made the game easier in those portions but I hope that can be corrected. On one occasion a hunted mako got stuck in a wall, another time a hunted hammerhead got stuck in a wall.
It took me around fifteen hours to complete the story mode without fighting two of the bosses, which was unintentional. There is more to play once the story is over but I have not played since writing my review. The only downsides to this game are the bugs and somewhat wonky controls. Take away the frozen fish, weird instant transportations (yes it happened, it was on stream and others witnessed), and unnatural things that happened and it’s a great game. Don’t take it too seriously, just be a shark. It’s fun, made me laugh, made others laugh, it’s a good time. Sit back with a couple of beers and enjoy some time sharking.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 25/05/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Role-Playing
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop