As 2020 continues to prove itself as the year that Doc tells Marty McFly to avoid at all costs, gamers are finding resolve in video games. With everyone stuck at home over the last few months, gamers have had no shortage of new content to sift through. As I combed through the catalogs of titles, I was sent a review code for Maneater, a survival title developed and published digitally by Tripwire, and physically published by Deep Silver.
Being a big Jaws fan, I was eager to jump in and take Maneater for a test drive. I was not disappointed.
In Maneater, players take on the role of a shark roaming around the sprawling Port Clovis, trying to survive the attempts of capture by “Scaly Pete,” a professional shark hunter, and his son Kyle. The entire game takes place in a reality TV show called Maneaters vs. Sharkhunters. The show is narrated by Chris Parnell of Saturday Night Live, and puts the baby bull shark in the role of good guy, which is a great spin on the whole good vs. evil narrative.
For some players, the initial fun factor of Maneater might wear off rather quickly because the game is a bit repetitive, but being a bit old school, I’ve been playing repetitive games for 30 years, I didn’t encounter a second of boredom. This game is a blast. There are a ton of places to discover, and ton of sidequests, and an overall beautiful landscape to explore.
The one question I had early on was, “Am I going to be able to attack humans?” That question was answered with a resounding “yes” roughly fifteen minutes into the game. While I do wish that there was more of it, there was indeed enough to keep me wanting more.
Graphically, Maneater isn’t the most beautiful game I’ve ever seen. While the area above the water is colorful and vibrant, the water itself seems muddy and many of the areas in the game feel a little dirty. This looks to me to be by design, however, as a way to hide the short draw distance. This wasn’t a huge inconvenience, but I did find some difficulty in exploring the terrain when needing to find landmarks above water while not being able to see what’s going on underwater.
Maneater contains some RPG elements, as players are presented with the option of earning upgrades to their shark’s body and organs. These are earned by defeating area bosses, killing, finding landmarks, among other things. These upgrades do exactly what one would expect, they make your shark tougher and allow for stronger attacks. This element of gameplay pushes the game beyond reality, which made me feel a little better about eating people, as the game no longer felt like a sim. The narration also adds a bit of humor to the atmosphere, which again, throws the feeling of a murderous rampage out the window.
I had a blast with this game, and it doesn’t go on so long that it becomes a chore. The game can be beating in about ten hours and can be 100% completed in about 15 hours. At $39.99, Maneater is a game that is definitely worth picking up, and is a great way to get to spend a day or two playing a game that doesn’t involve stealing cars, war or swords and shields.