Maneater developed by Tripwire Interactive and Blindside Interactive is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
In Maneater you take on the role of a shark who has just been cut out of its mother shark… No, you read that right, a fisherman named Scaly Pete killed your mother and marked you and now it’s time for revenge while also taking out most of the human and marine life population along the way. I quite liked the story-delivery that the developers chose, it felt like one of those American reality/documentary series following Scaly Pete and his son. The way it was delivered made it all the more interesting along the way wanting to find out what happened next and how the story would play out though the plot is quite predictable it’s just the way it was all put together that hooked me in. Maneater isn’t a game that’s narrative screams, oh wow that was amazing, I think this game is aiming to please with gameplay and design but hearing Chris Parnell, Rick and Mortys Jerry narrating the shark’s adventure, growth and moves was a great addition to the game. I’d say the story is a complete mixed bag, on one hand, it’s presented fantastically but overall the story isn’t the key focus here and it does end the way you think it will end.
Maneater is a game that I found myself, in the end, grinding rather than enjoying it and wanting to progress to see more, at first the gameplay is quite fun and unique, it’s great destroying marine life to regain health and get points to upgrade the customisation shark, eating humans is hilarious but eventually it’s a rinse and repeat styled loop. There were moments where I’d get new upgrades for the shark which did to a point keep the game fresh but in the end, sadly all it boils down to is the same old missions each time, it’s sad because I really wanted to love this game but I honestly ended up feeling a little frustrated and just wanted it to change a bit at least. This isn’t to say that it’s a bad game, it’s far from it, for those who enjoy this style, they will find a ton of fun in what is done because it is designed beautifully and with a lot of thought into the systems it features, fans of shark-related movies, stories, etc, they’ll fall in love with this game and want to 100% complete it, but personally, for myself, I just don’t like grinding anymore. Maneater features different story-missions that tend to rely on, get your wanted meter up, kill these humans, kill this species of fish, kill that apex predator and so on, it doesn’t change so much as making you go against tougher enemies the more you progress and also giving you a wide range of new abilities to test and transform your shark into what you want it to be, the game gives you a lot of control. You’re free to roam and explore some incredibly designed levels, get collectables, mess around with marine life and humans, and search for some funny side bits which Chris Parnell will narrate hilariously. The open-waters truly are open and you’re free to take the game at your own pace. Luckily the controls are really good whether it be with a PlayStation 4 Controller or the Mouse and Keyboard, they’re smooth, easy to pick up, and easy to learn.
I truly did love the design of Maneater, each area you get placed in looks and feels different to the other, never did I come across the same old assets used over and over, I found some incredibly unique stuff while searching the depths. The graphics are wonderful as-well, you start in a disgusting old swamp where bodies from the mafia can be found pinned to the bottom or old flooded parts of a town forgotten in the deep depths of this gross and uncared for place, I never got bored of discovering new things and passing through each area was a joy. The music and voice acting were both perfect, as I said Chris Parnell does a really good job of keeping you entertained during highly tense moments or more chilled and it seems he always has something to say with each discovery you make. The music is that like jaws, the ominous silent track then boom, action starts, orchestra in full throttle to match what’s going on.
Maneater for me was a real mixed bag, there were moments of joy, and moments of I want this game off, please. I think the developers have achieved what they set out to and I think some are going to love this off the rails game, it’s fun, it’s original but if you don’t like the grind and you’re looking for something with depth, this might not be the game for you. I feel like this game is for the people who just wanna mess around, build up their shark and just have a good time with a game that doesn’t push the boundaries as such but one that is enough to provide some form of entertainment. The game was pretty much bug-free, I played it on PC, it ran well, I fell in love with the level design, Chris Parnell’s narration of what I was doing but ultimately I’d say perhaps wait for a sale if you’re unsure.