Maneater is a shark simulator. That’s really all you need to know when deciding whether to get excited about this game. The correct decision, by the way, is yes, you should get excited. Eat everything from fish, turtles, seals, boats, rafts, and yes, even humans. Awesome.
Developer Tripwire describes Maneater as an action RPG, and it’s not wrong: the player will get to explore seven expansive areas, including the open ocean, murky bayous, resort beaches, industrial docks, and more. Various evolutions are available that can enhance the shark as the player achieves new milestones. But it is hard to concentrate on any secondary gameplay elements when the primary aspect of “I’M A SHARK OM NOM NOM” eclipses everything.
Fortunately, this appeal is more than enough to carry the game. The shark swims, turns, and breaches through the water effortlessly thanks to streamlined controls. It has multiple attacks, including a charge, a tail whip, and a shake. I was surprised to find how remarkably satisfying it felt to consume and terrorize both deep sea and beaches alike. I never wanted to stop eating. The mayhem never got stale. And, to their credit, the humans do indeed fight back. Small skiffs prowl the shoreline, and bounty hunters and even the coast guard wield harpoon guns, sniper rifles, and more. But they are no match for you because YOU ARE A GIANT SHARK OM NOM NOM!
The game looks and sounds gorgeous. The peaceful waves reflect the sun (the day/night cycle creates glorious colors), and when the sea inevitably turn opaque red, liquids spurt and limbs tumble in the most wonderful, chaotic ways. I was having a blast creating a beautiful underwater nightmare, and I didn’t want to stop.
Maneater is coming May 22 to PC via the Epic Games Store, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. OM NOM NOM NOM!