Forty-five years ago today, Stephen Spielburg helped invent the Summer Blockbuster with the movie Jaws. Since then, people have learned to fear the sight of a shark-fin in the water. Therefore, it feels appropriate for me to put up this review for a game that embodies the spirit of Jaws. Everyone, get ready to experience the terror of the deep all over again in Tripwire Interactive’s game, Maneater.
Set in the fictional gulf city of Port Clovis, you play as a bull shark who’s out for revenge on the shark-hunter that killed your mother and maimed you as a pup. Small and alone, you’ve got to fight and chomp your way up to the top of the food chain by eating anything you can come across. By doing so, you’ll grow from a pup to an adult, and finally, into a long-extinct Megalodon. As in, the super-sharks that went extinct almost 2 million years ago. If you thought the shark in Jaws was scary, then a Mega is the stuff of nightmares!
Gameplay wise, the whole thing’s pretty straightforward. You have to eat everything you can and avoid getting eaten yourself. The more you eat, the bigger you get. And when you eat certain prey, you’ll get nutrients to give yourself upgrades to make your shark even more powerful. And there are a lot of cool upgrades. They range from being able to survive longer on land to covering your shark in bones to protect them. By the time you’ve reached the end, our shark will be the most dangerous fish in the ocean.
As far as stories go, there really isn’t a need for one, and the developers know it. Thus, they decided to frame the game in this in-game reality show called Maneaters vs. Sharkhunters, hosted by Chris Parnell. Chris gives the game much of its humor through his very snarky commentary, never missing a beat. Not even when you jump onto the beach and devour beachgoers. Or when you’re ripping apart trigger-happy sharkhunters.
The game doesn’t take that long to finish; I got done in about 16 hours. If that’s not going to sell you on it, the game’s also filled with a lot of easter eggs and pop culture references. Off the top of my head, I found references to Titanic, Spongebob, Castaway, Finding Nemo, Cthulhu, and Godzilla. If you’re looking for a short, hilarious game to break in summertime, I recommend Maneater. It’s a real steal at on $30.