Jaws has been one of my favorite movies for quite some time, Dad and I use to watch it almost religiously and it makes sense since it was the FIRST summer blockbuster movie. So when Maneater first dropped last year I was extremely intrigued. Intrigued enough to buy the game at launch, play it for an hour and then get distracted by something even more shiny. Luckily I get a second chance to play the title on my Nintendo Switch, which is very exciting.
Tripwire Interactive first released this title for May 22, 2020 on the PS4 and Xbox One; in November the PS5 and Xbox Series X got this title and now almost exactly a year later the Nintendo Switch gets a turn. Hopefully, for Tripwire’s sake, not all Switch owners have other systems to play this game. Maneater is a very unique experience and I hope there are a lot of late adopters to the game.
You begin the game as a full grown Great White Shark, living your best life of eating, screwing and having baby sharks. Unfortunately “Scaly” Pete and his thirst for revenge against Great White Sharks has your mother caught and killed. On the Cajun Queen you are violently removed from your mother’s womb and scarred by Pete, so that you can be identified later.
Survival instinct kicks in and you wriggle from Pete’s hand and bite his arm off. All of this live on camera for the “Maneater” television show. Once you hit the water it is up to you to survive, grow, explore and become more powerful. You can’t just let this Pete live after murdering your mother for no good reason.
As a small pup you get to roam around the seas, kill prey, become prey, find hidden and secret items and become a better killing machine. This game right off the bat really reminded me of the old Crash Bandicoot games where you would have collect-a-thons to 100% the game. Maneater is no different, there are so many things for you to find while exploring, some of them even help level you up.
The game’s narrator helps move the story along and gives you hints on what to do next. At the outset of the game he is hilarious, it’s kind of like a The Stanley Parable vibe, but the narrator speaks pretty much AFTER the event. So there’s no going against narration or pissing off the narrator.
Controlling a shark in the wide open seas is actually more difficult than it sounds, I remember having issues remembering and properly using the controls on the Xbox One version of the game. I guess I’m just not meant to be a shark because I had some issues sticking the controls properly for awhile, maybe it’s because I was using a Pro Controller, but I think I’m just not an Apex Predator.
The first hour or so of the game is a controls tutorial, which is helpful but they throw so much at you, you forget the prior controls, at least that’s what happened to me. I had a hard time with the first battle sequence cause I couldn’t my shark to jump and eat, something I can do at Burger King all the time. To swim in the ocean you use the Left Thumbstick, Right Thumbstick is look around and ZL is accelerate.
When you get into battle with fish or hunters you press ZR to bite your enemy and to consume them for health you keep pressing the button. If you’re fighter larger prey than you press L so that you can tailwhip stun them and then bite them. Some prey can attack back so you’ll have to press R to evade their attack, and if you time it right you can attack them back immediately.
Since you’re a shark, you’re going to want to “knife” through the water and scare the hell out of humans. To do this you just get close to the surface and then your fin will show. While you’re knifing you can jump onto the beach and docks by pressing B, then you can eat the unsuspecting humans. If you need to avoid hunter boats then press Y and you’ll submerge to safety.
Swimming through the vast ocean can really be confusing at times, thankfully you can use your sonar by pressing A. This highlights prey in the area, special items to find and if you have it marked in your quests, where to go. I used this mostly to find all the license plates, mutagen containers and where the heck to go. It’s very useful, especially when you first start out, that swamp ocean you’re in is confusing, and you’re super weak.
I’ve not played many games on both next gen systems like the Xbox One AND the Nintendo Switch, this was new to me and sadly it showed. The first instance I noticed this were the incredibly LONG load times, I’ve played some of the heavy hitters on my Switch and even they didn’t have load times like this. A couple times my Switch almost went to “sleep” mode, and it was docked!
Handheld mode surprising looks pretty good, I didn’t see too many graphical downgrades when I was playing on my Switch Lite. It’s just those load times, man they were long. Hopefully they can patch those out at sometime, but I doubt that will happen. If you want to enjoy this title and have access to an Xbox One or PS4, I would go with those. The game will look better and the load times won’t kill your buzz.
I am a HUGE fan of unique games, ones that break the mold and do something that we’ve never seen or rarely seen. Maneater isn’t a new type of game to me because I enjoyed my time with Jaws: Unleashed on my OG Xbox. The novelty of this title doesn’t wear off as quickly as you think it does. Once you’re about to call if quits the game throws a new upgrade at you, or opens up more of the ocean for you.
This is a fun and interesting title that we rarely see anymore on the shelves. It seems to me that developers have stopped taking chances on games like Maneater. Long gone are the days of humorous games that will make you laugh out loud, Dr. Muto, Maximo, and Crytpo-137, we hardly knew you.
If the Nintendo Switch is all you have then buy this title for it. You will spend hours laughing and causing mayhem for all of those unsuspecting tourists and shark hunters. However, if you have an Xbox One or PS4, then grab the title on one of those. It’ll look better and load faster. This title is worth a play and experience, you’ll be laughing A LOT!
The shark simulator finally swims its way onto Nintendo's home console a year after its initial release. How does this port hold up on Nintendo's weaker console?
- Game is unique and fun as all Hell!
- The humor in this game is something that more games need to have. It's like playing one of those unique PS2 games with the corny jokes all the time.
- Lots to do in the game, to unlock and to collect.
- Load times were ridiculous!
- Graphics don't look as great as they do on the Xbox One or PS4.