What I thought of the PC/Xbox/PS4 game Maneater
So, I bought Maneater on a whim for my PC, it isn’t typically the sort of game I would buy. However, I was intrigued to find out how a game with a shark as the main protagonist would pan out. I can’t remember the last time I played a game where the main character was a sea creature, and I wondered about the physics, control and gameplay.
First off, and I have to be clear about this, Maneater, as you may have guessed, is an arcade-style game. So don’t expect a full-on simulation of life as a shark. I imagine, for the most part, being a shark wouldn’t be that exciting. They don’t have Netflix or YouTube for starters! Unless, of course, you end up as Sharky from Sharky and George the crime busters of the sea.
Chris Parnell narrates the shark shenanigans throughout in the whimsical style of Cyril Figgis.
The opening of Maneater sees you take control of a massive Bull Shark through a tutorial in a bay area with sandy beaches and clear waters. Initially, you hunt fish and turtles before graduating to people. This is where the game really starts to escalate, as you are given tasks to kill humans, and you oblige, only to be hunted for being a maneater.
After fending off a number of scuba outfitted hunters, and some on ribs or jetskis you face Scaly Pete. Pete is a veteran Shark Hunter and has you directly in his sights. In short, Pete manages to catch you, kill you and, while gutting you, pulls your pup from you. At which point the baby shark is scarred by Pete on its dorsal fins, takes umbrage at this at decides to relive Mr Scaly of his arm. After escaping, you find yourself as the baby shark, and you end up finding yourself in a creek where even the smallest fish is a challenge. This is a world where alligators are enormous monsters you must avoid at all costs.
Starting off as a small pup with a den to retreat to you are given various objectives to ensure you grow and become the apex predator of the creek. Additionally, you can find places of interest (which have humorous designs and backstories), hidden chests that help you grow quickly, and licence plates to eat. Licence plates being one of the many Bull Shark dietary staples.
It’s so unfair!
As you grow, you become a teenage shark and start to throw your weight around a little more, engaging in more and more shenanigans. You also unlock evolutions and special abilities, that all help you to become the apex and take down various alligators. At which point you can head into the toxic dump lake which is just one jump away from the very first human-populated area.
Moving into the lake area, you encounter humans, bigger alligators, barracuda and hunters! Dining on swimmers or people on boats is a sure-fire way to have the hunters on your tail. But, by building up your infamy level, killing civilians and hunters, you unlock unique hunters who are like bosses. By killing these bosses, you unlock more and more evolutions and, of course, you continue to grow.
At this point, you can also go further into sewer systems encountering larger alligators and uncovering more and more places of interest. The dens you unlock become fast travel points meaning as you grow you can head back and take on enemies that had beaten you previously. It is also at this point you can head out into the open world element of the game and ignore the missions if you want. Now being a teenage shark in the open ocean is always going to be a challenge with Hammerhead and Great White sharks appearing. However, both are overshadowed by Orca and Sperm Whales. Picking a fight with either of these when still a teen is a challenge, but it isn’t impossible.
Lean, mean human eating machine
With the entire world open to you now there are beaches packed with dinner and yachts carrying your takeout orders aplenty. You can wreak havoc throughout all of the various areas and challenge more and more unique hunters. However, if you stick with the missions, you will grow, and the story will continue to develop. Essentially, Scaly Pete is pissed off and comes after you with you having to fight him off and watch his reality TV show shenanigans. The story is above average and enjoyable as Pete becomes more and more unhinged.
Pete brings his son along in one mission, and you manage to kill him, while Pete escapes, after you have decided to take a leg to go with the arm you have already cost him. Your Bull shark then grows into an adult, an elder and a mega, with more and more evolutions such as exoskeleton style upgrades, shadow or electrical ones. All of these provide different abilities such as; speed, the ability to cause more damage, more armour and others that help you fight to become “the” apex predator of the entire map.
Never reaching apex like Coca-Cola
Along with fighting off boss hunters also encounter apex predators such as massive alligators, Great Whites, Orca and Sperm Whales. If you hit these apex predators at adult or elder level, you will wipe the floor with them. There is little challenge to be had, with only one of the Orca causing me the slightest bit of worry during my playthrough.
Once these have all been dispatched, you can meander back to the final mission to take down Pete. I think you can take on Pete in the last mission sooner, but I opted to take on the Moby Dick styled Sperm Whale first.
The final battle with Pete sees you taking on his electrified battle yacht. In the end, after some cheeky torpedo shenanigans, you are inches from finishing off Pete only to find he has a mountain of explosives and he destroys you both.
After defeating Pete and ending up in Sharky heaven, you do have the option to play on. This means you can complete each area to 100%, if that’s your thing, and you can continue to terrify the people of the game.
Fish are friends
So, in short, Maneater is an enjoyable game. Definitely, the best game starring a shark in the last decade, or as long as I can remember. The game controls can be a bit frustrating at times, but you can work around them. Some of the zones have frustratingly placed beach furniture that acts like barriers, I mean beach umbrellas and chairs. Considering you can take down reasonably sized yacht this can be annoying.
However, the game itself is fun to play, and you can just pick it up and go on a rampage for a bit. With references to Arrested Development, Jaws and more you can’t help but have a chuckle and enjoy the shenanigans.
I guess I would give this 3 Catfish and half of A Parrot fish out of a seafood platter. It’s just fun, and you can batter through the main story quickly and have fun even when that is done.