With shark season right around the corner, Maneater is the perfect game to set the tone. In Maneater, you take the role of a baby bull shark who was ripped out of her mother by the shark hunter Scaly Pete. In return, our baby bull shark bites off Pete’s hand and escapes, leaving a long-term rival between the two. Throughout the game, the story follows Scaly Pete and his disappointment of a son Kyle. The storytelling often feels like a Deadliest Catch episode with interview like camera scenes and little touches like showtime logos in the corner of the screen. There is also a narrator through your water travels that provide witty sarcastic information on the surrounding areas.
Our bull shark’s life begins in the murky waters of Fawtick Bayou. Full of catfish and gators, here we learn our bull shark’s speed and strength. After eating enough catfish and loot boxes full of XP, I was ready to fight my first gator. After many failed attempts of constant trigger mashing and awkward camera angles, I finally got into a rhythm of swimming away and attacking in a circling fashion. Once I completed the fetch quests of eating people, catfish, and killing the apex crocodile, I found myself busting and searching through large pipelines full of fish and cachets, providing me with lots of XP.
After searching through the bayou’s swamp waters, I then migrated into the trash waters of Dead Horse Lake. I was slightly disappointed as I was ready for crystal blue ocean waters but was greeted with polluted green waters. Here the barracudas and mako sharks were aggressive and aggravating. After a few more quests of eating grouper and catfish, my baby bull shark grew into a teen. Being a teen shark made the barracudas and mako sharks look like a snack. Each upgrade throughout the game makes you feel more powerful than before.
The combat in Maneater can be frustrating at times. With a Grand Theft Auto mindset, once you have killed enough people, the shark hunters come out (Acting as police). Jumping out of the water to kill the hunters can be overwhelming as many boats are surrounding you with guns and harpoons. Often the camera gets confused on which target you are hitting because there is no auto-lock. There is only a refocus button that quickly switches the camera to the closest enemy. When the threat meter rises, more boats and hunters appear, which makes the game lag while trying to attack.
Once you have reached a certain threat level, big named shark hunters become aware and begin hunting you. There are ten big-name hunters, not including Scaly Pete. Once killed, each hunter provides you with a new ability like bio shock teeth, or bio shock fins, eventually evolving the shark into a bio mutant killer. When I chewed my way through the trash-filled waters of Dead Horse Lake, I had reached the adult stage of the bull shark’s life and swam to the crystal-clear waters of Golden Shores and Sapphire Bay. With more fetch quests of eating local fish and killing apex predators, I made my way through each level which started feeling repetitive.
Overall, Maneater provides the opportunity to become something that not all games do, a man-eating bull shark. Its joke telling narrator adds a special spark to the story along the way. Controls can be aggravating as the camera is sometimes insubordinate. High threat levels from killing, bring more boats, which brings more lag. Even through the frustration, Maneater has a lot to offer. I found myself constantly wanting to explore the large sea. The open gulf waters are clear and surreal to see the seals, orcas, and hammerhead sharks swimming the seas.
The Ruling Score: 6.5