If you have ever watched the Jaws movies or any other shark movie that involves Sharks attacking humans and you secretly root for the Shark. Then Maneater might just be for you. In Maneater you play as an angry Shark hungry for revenge. Swimming beneath the waters of fictional towns in the Gulf of Mexico region of the U.S. Hunting your mother’s killer – An equally scary-looking Shark Hunter called Scaly Pete.
Scaly Pete is your Shark’s arch-nemesis, he will stop at nothing to kill you.
The main story of Maneater revolves around Scaly Pete and his TV documentary in which he stars. The cutscenes in the game show the documentary crew filming and talking to Scaly Pete as he prepares for his next Shark Hunt.
Scaly Pete isn’t the only star of this documentary though. You are too, or rather your Shark. As you are swimming about the waters munching on the local aquatic life or jumping on to the sandy shores to lunch on some humans, a narrater comments on your actions.
The narrator in Maneater is voiced by Chris Parnell (30 Rock, Rick and Morty, Archer, Saturday Night Live.) His unique comedic tone and quips provide hilarious comic relief to what would otherwise by a game filled with death.
Growth and Evolution
In Maneater you start off as a little baby shark pup, trying to get familiar to the watery environment around you, whilst feeding on smaller fish and fending off bigger fish trying to feed on you.
Your goal in Maneater is to complete quests and find nutrient caches which are found around the world. Doing these things makes you grow bigger and stronger and you Shark will go through several stages of growth, from a bay pup to a teen Shark and adult Shark and all the way up to massive Megalodon growth.
Maneater also has a levelling system. By completing quests, killing other fish and sea creatures and finding the aforementioned nutrient caches you gain XP to level up. At certain levels, your Shark will grow into the next stage of development.
I found levelling up early on the game quite slow, it felt like it was taking ages to get from pup to teen growth. After about level 10 or so, the levelling did get a bit faster.
When Sharks Attack
Combat in Maneater is extremely fun…and gruesome. Even though your Shark only has few main combat moves to rely on, using these effectively can be the difference between life and death.
Defeating other sea-dwelling creatures can be tough at first. Taking on a level 8 Alligator when you are level 4, for example, will teach your Shark some harsh lessons. Combat does get easier as you level up and grow although some higher-level creatures, like the Apex Predators you have to kill, will still give your Shark a run for its money.
Getting the better of the numerous, large sea-dwelling creatures is very satisfying. Even though Maneater is a bit over-the-top and comedic at times, seeing clouds of blood in the water after you have dispatched an enemy really hits home about the harshness of the eat or be eaten world of the sea.
Combat in Maneater isn’t just limited to beneath the waves. Your Shark can jump out of the water onto beaches, boardwalks and even boats to feed on unsuspecting humans. Watch out though, as the more humans you attack means that your infamy rank will increase. This will send the local Shark Hunters after you.
Fighting off Shark Hunters, with their speed boats, laser-sighted guns and depth charges is a different ball game. This is where evolutions come in.
As well as levelling up and growing in size. Maneater also provides another form of progression called Evolutions. Think of Evolutions like additional skills or modifications you would get in other RPG games. These Evolutions range from things like bio-electric body parts which will create electricity to shock enemies and cause extra damage. Or Bone evolutions which help you deal more damage when ramming boats. There is also evolutions which increase your swim speed, bite damage and tail whip damage making you a formidable foe.
Deep Hue Sea
The environments in Maneater are very pretty and pretty diverse. There are eight regions in total ranging from areas with golden beaches and clear blue waters with plenty of sunbathing people to chow on. To swamp and marshland areas with murky waters and thick underwater vegetation.
Graphically, the game looks great and there are great little details such as the landmarks that can be found both underwater and on land. Chris Parnell also does a great job of describing the often funny story behind the landmark.
The Shark and other fish animations are done extremely well. Developer Tripwire Interactive has done a fantastic job in capturing the Sharks movements and mannerisms to tee. The animations and actions of humans are also done very well. If you jump your Shark out of the water onto a busy beach. Sunbathers will scream and run in fear.
Sound plays a big role in the atmosphere and immersion in Maneater. Tripwire have done a great job of getting blood-curdling screams just right. The kind of muffled underwater sound of a person who is unfortunate enough to be lodged in your jaws. That sound of sheer terror and agony mixed with a bone-crunching chomp as you deal the death bite is both satisfying and terrifying.
Apart from some minor frame-rate issues when at some points when a lot was happening on the screen, Maneater ran pretty smoothly and the land and underwater environments look good enough to eat.
Gameplay in Maneater
Gameplay in Maneater mostly consists of underwater combat interspersed with boat combat against the Shark Hunters and completing quests that are dotted around the world. The quests mainly consist of killing a certain number of humans or a certain number of fish species. Although there wasn’t a great deal of variety in the various quests and objectives they never felt tedious or boring to do.
There are also quite a few side objectives that you can complete. These side objectives bring about an opportunity to explore the underwater world a lot more. There plenty of collectables to find in the game, from Rusty license plates to Landmarks and Nutrient Caches. Not all of the collectables are underwater though, so keep an eye out as you are swimming on the surface.
Although the game felt difficult at first and I was constantly getting my ass handed to me by bigger and more powerful creatures. There was a real sense of power progression as I levelled up and unlocked more evolutions. Even Apex Predators like the Orca Whale were no match for my mighty, all-powerful Megalodon Shark.
The only downside to this exponential increase in power was that, near the end, the game started to feel perhaps a bit too easy.
This rapid increase in power and the numerous collectables to be found make Maneater an ideal game for trophy hunters.
Summing It Up
Maneater is a very enjoyable game. The combat is satisfying and there is a real sense of growing and evolving your shark from a wee baby Shark into an unstoppable Queen of the ocean.
The game is not particularly long but given the fact that the game is only around £30.00 and developers Tripwire Interactive have crammed quite a bit of stuff do into the game. Maneater does offer pretty good value for money.
If you like RPG games and if you have ever watched movies like Jaws, Deep Blue Sea or 47 Metres Down and have rooted for the Sharks then Maneater might just be the game for you.