Nutshell Review: Maneater
PG Score: 7/10
Maneater is a unique idea that is executed relatively well. I spent roughly 15 hours wreaking aquatic havoc on underwater creatures and humans alike. I am pleased to report the majority of that time was entertaining. The gameplay is certainly repetitive but the fun factor outweighs the monotony. Following a brief tutorial introduction, you control a bull shark as she seeks revenge against shark hunter Pete LeBlanc. The story is told in a humorous, reality series format as it cuts to Pete in between missions. The plot doesn’t have much meat on its bones but the dialogue is funny for the most part. The humor is elevated by the narration of Chris Parnell (Rick and Morty) who chimes in during gameplay with commentary on anything and everything you’re doing. Whether it’s fending off a gigantic orca whale or exploring a hidden sewer, Parnell has something to say and it’s usually quite funny. Maneater is an action-RPG that is light on variety. The main mission structure has you tackling one area at a time. In each location, you can explore for collectibles in the form of license plates, landmarks, and chests. There are the side quests of eliminating x number of humans or turtles, hunting missions that involve going after a high powered target such as an alligator or hammerhead shark, and going one-on-one with various apex predators such as a great white and a sperm whale. The apex encounters serve as boss battles and can be challenging as the enemy is usually a much higher level than you.
As you chomp your way through swaths of people and marine life, you’ll level up and unlock new upgrades in the process. These range from bio-electric teeth that electrocute your opponents to an advanced sonar that aids you in collectible hunting. As you progress, you’ll gradually transform your shark into an insanely intimidating predator of the deep. This gave me the satisfying feeling of having absolute power over everything. Those pesky mako sharks or menacing marlins that were once so bothersome soon became reduced to fish food.
The combat in Maneater is fun but gets really repetitive really fast. The same can be said for the mission structure and the exploration. As for the movement, the swimming and evade mechanics are functional but don’t always work as well as they should. I often found myself swimming into walls or getting stuck on debris due to the semi-unresponsive/ineffective controls. I didn’t have an urge to go for the platinum trophy and the game offers little to no replay value after the credits roll.
Despite the lack of variation in virtually every facet of the game, this one still manages to deliver. Terrorizing all forms of life as a vengeance seeking shark with biomechanical enhancements is as much fun as it sounds. While the execution may not always measure up to the dynamite premise, Maneater is still worth sinking your teeth into.