Maneater, Reviews. The killer shark crying out for revenge

Maneater, analysis. The killer shark crying out for revenge

We analyzed Maneater's sandbox game for PC, which stood out at E3 a couple of years ago.

Many of us who were attending the PC Gaming conference at E3 two years ago live called the teaser of a very particular game: a shark that devoured humans. But he didn't eat them in a "traditional" way, no. He would sneak into the sand on the beaches and nibble them there, jump on top of a yacht and take them into the water or kick back the dynamite that desperate hunters used when they tried to shoot him down. It was not the best title we could see that night but given the peculiar timing and format of the PC conference, added to the early hours of its broadcast in the Iberian Peninsula, it was a fun anecdote that we remember for a few weeks. It turned out that Tripwire finally took the project forward and after approximately twenty hours to complete it 100%, Maneater is not the wonder we hoped it would be but it does have some of the funniest moments we've had on a PC over the past year.

The story of a hunter vs. a shark

Narrated as if it were a documentary for a sensational local television program, the story immediately puts us in the shoes of a female shark wreaking havoc across the Gulf of Mexico and how a legendary hunter takes us down, opens the channel and launches our it breeds – still in the womb – in the water. In this interesting way, Maneater encourages curiosity in the player: it allows you to feel at first the power of an adult shark in your hands to take it away a few minutes later and you have to start from scratch. It is the evolution of this young and a story of revenge that will act as the thread of the plot, tied here and there by some brief cinematics that we will see throughout the ten or twelve hours that the main campaign lasts.


The premise could not be simpler: eat everything that moves to level up. As a shark cub, we can hardly take prey of a manageable size to our mouths and, as we grow, we can increase the mass of what will fit in our jaws. At the beginning, it may be just parrot fish or small turtles that are the basis of our diet, but it won't take us long to incorporate seals, hammerheads or even killer whales into our range of possibilities. All this while we go through the secrets and ins and outs of Puerto Clovis and its open world style map that, despite being a fraction of what Ubisoft for example has accustomed us to, still has its dozens of underwater locations, its many collectibles and other details while we do other missions of the main campaign whose only objective is to level up.

Getting hold of the controls costs a bit at first, but the movement of our protagonist is quite simple in general. We can swim more or less fast, bite things, jump, hit pigtails and corkscrews and dive at will. We even have a sonar at our disposal that helps us to orient ourselves better. Since there is no "Z button" to use to lock onto enemies, our first few battles are often a bit chaotic as we try to properly focus our shark. On PC, drastically reducing the DPI of our mouse – or experimenting with sensitivity in ingame settings – has been an abysmal change in handling the game. With keyboard and mouse we know that adaptation is easier than with command because very often it requires very sharp turns of direction that are difficult with classic sticks.

As we complete missions, we will change phase; We will start as a puppy and soon we will pass to adolescence, then we will be an adult shark, a veteran and finally a "mega". It is during the first two phases where the difficulty of the game lies almost exclusively, which is when our protagonist will be most vulnerable. Once we reach adulthood, and especially later, we will be an unstoppable killing machine capable of taking even the most dangerous prey into our mouths. Maneater has a level system that gives the player an idea of ​​our relative power with respect to the environment but since the maximum is 30 and there are enemies of level 45, it is more a warning about its lethality than a real impossibility the fact of being able defeat fish and reptiles in theory more powerful than ourselves.


A shark vs the environment

It is difficult to create an underwater world that is also varied and attractive to the player, but Tripwire has managed to create a series of clearly distinctive areas with their hallmarks. Although the maps are not gigantic and we can go through them at a fairly considerable speed, there is a good level of detail in the decoration of the funds with a multitude of plants, waste everywhere and a number of extra locations to discover. Out of the water it has also been taken into account since we have certain … abilities to move around docks, bridges, boats, beaches, swamps, ports and others. The graphic level here is lower – and it is not a pointer title at a general level either – but we have not had any performance problems with the game with a very high level of detail and even streaming, so in general you have to be happy with optimization.

One of the biggest problems Maneater has is the lack of variety of missions; The game is conceptually brilliant and has a very good predisposition, but basically it consists of going to a place and eating X number of prey, eliminating a particular fish, devouring X humans and … that's it. Aware of its limitation, in addition, to progress in the story, the game forces us to repeat missions of this type before we can change the map, making the gameplay, especially during the final hours, thick. Collectibles invite you to visit the setting and the magnificent narrator of the supposed documentary does an excellent job of adding a bit of color to the otherwise monochromatic – albeit very fun at first – basis of the title, but it gives the impression that overall the game would have appreciated a little more work on some fundamentals that would have provided more variety.


To add a little more versatility we have at our disposal a series of mutations that we will add to our arsenal and that are improved with the nutrients acquired by eliminating prey. The easiest set to get, which adds a kind of bone armor around our shark, provides maximum durability and survival being able to tank everything that comes our way without problems. On the one hand, it is good to have the possibility of enjoying this feeling of invulnerability, but on the other hand, the fact that you know that you are almost completely impossible to kill takes a bit less grace from the game, and also with more than decent damage statistics.

By thoroughly exploring everything (or by improving the sonar, which helps horrors) it is possible to unlock other improvements that slightly change the way we play. Also based on raising our level of infamy, which rises when we eat humans (normal or hunters, on the shore or underwater) and, in true GTA style, cause the appearance of more and more ships and boats that They add to our persecution and that, after shooting them down, cause the departure of some boss that we must overcome. In general, the fighting always follows the same pattern that consists of compulsively pressing the dodge button (which also damages nearby enemies) while we jump chaotically and devour the hunters one by one. Or we start repeatedly attacking the boat until they all end up in the water. With the exception of the final boss, which does add a novelty, the pattern repeats over and over again and the only thing that changes is the enemy's lethality index.

A shark vs. animalism

One of the doubts that part of the community had raised was about whether the game would be an apology against the illegal hunting of animals or an argument to defend protected species. And while it is true that there are lots of humorous comments about ocean pollution and marine pollution, Maneater never takes himself seriously and that, in our opinion, is fine. The game aims to be an ode to meaningless fun, to the butcher madness of games like Carmaggedon or Destroy All Humans in which the important thing was not always the existence of an underlying message but simply doing something because it is fun. And the truth, stalking an inflatable boat full of bathers and breaking it in a bite and watching its occupants fight to get to the beach is fun. And waiting for them to get to a "safe" zone and launching after them in a destructive frenzy flapping like a mullet out of the river is fun. A 7m mullet with an electric dent that paralyzes your enemies, be clear.

Maneater review

Once the main campaign is finished, we can return to the map and explore freely and be able to do the secondary missions that we have left to do that, as we have already said, are exactly the same as the main ones. One has the feeling that either Maneater is a bit long for no reason or something else would have been needed to fill it. Because the bottom line is there, the ingredients are there and the first bites (sic) to the game are great fun but the feeling of bloating comes too soon. In other words, if it were not for the need to do the review, very likely we would not have reached the end of the story and much less would we have completed the game 100%.


We have had a fun time with Maneater. It has a few first hours that provide a degree of freshness and originality that are very difficult to see in our industry. But it is in the transition to the bulk of the game and how to turn it into a 20-hour experience that the title loses almost all its bellows. A too little skill system, too simple mechanics and a lack of escalation in its difficulty make the Tripwire experience unforgettable but without leaving the aftertaste to a job well done for real. Spectacular to try at a friend's house or to have a laugh but with less critical mass to make it a must-have on the shelf.


  • Mindless butcher madness for fun
  • The formula in which it is narrated and its narrator
  • Well designed at a technical and artistic level


  • Lack of chicha for an experience of 20 hours or more
  • Non-existent difficulty curve at a certain point
  • Some bugs with the control and with the enemies


It meets the expectations of what is a good game, it has quality and does not have serious flaws, although it lacks elements that could have taken it to higher levels.

About author

Chris Watson is a gaming expert and writer. He has loved video games since childhood and has been writing about them for over 15 years. Chris has worked for major gaming magazines where he reviewed new games and wrote strategy guides. He started his own gaming website to share insider tips and in-depth commentary about his favorite games. When he's not gaming or writing, Chris enjoys travel and hiking. His passion is helping other gamers master new games.

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