Thanks to Koch Media PR, we were given the opportunity to go hands on with Maneater and after an hour of hands-on time, we have a few thoughts.
Disclaimer: Maneater is still in beta and we played the PC version.
The opening area of Maneater has you playing as a medium-sized shark, immediately giving you a sense of strength and power. It’s incredibly satisfying to roam the seas, munching down on sea creatures taking out shark hunters that are shooting at you from the “safety” of their boats.
When you take down boats of bounty hunters, your infamy level will rise. This works similarly to the police level in the Grand Theft Auto games where an increasing number of bounty hunters will be sent to take you out. It helps to keep your character grounded (so to speak) and is a great way to increase the challenge if you just wish to mess around and have fun with it.
You begin as the mumma shark but when you’re inevitably captured and cut open, you become the baby shark that the mumma was impregnated with. You then play as the shark pup and grow from a youngun into a raging beast. This gives you the taste of blood, so to speak, and a goal of what you can become. You’ll heal by killing things, whether that be marine animals or humans. This avoids any unnatural healing orbs and it makes sense within the context of the game.
As you carry out objectives and continue to feed on what is around, you can upgrades your shark by levelling up, customising your shark to the way you want it. The demo that we played was only the opening and the start of the second segment but if you’re eventually going to be stronger than the mumma shark at the beginning, that is certainly something to look forward to.
The shark that you play as is a bull shark as they can survive in both fresh and salt waters. This, as well as the game’s expansive map, provides you with a lot of freedom in exploration, guided by standard objectives (e.g. Kill x sea creatures/humans). You will be able to fast travel by finding grottos which are hidden and can act as safe havens if need be. These grottos also allow you to customise your shark and level up, providing more depth and the time for you to take your time and upgrade to your liking.
The gameplay feels really smooth with so few frame dips, but it must be stressed that we were playing the PC version. Graphically, the game doesn’t appear to be too technically demanding, so I’m confident in it running on Switch, but a lot of that can come down to the quality of the port.
Controls can feel a little cumbersome at first and I often got confused as to what the game required of me to perform certain actions. Hit detection felt a little off and whilst the game was smooth, the developers still have a bit of work to do. For general exploration, swimming through the water feels very intuitive. A negative point to this is that while to reach the surface, you only need to swim upward but to dive, you actively needed to press a button. Actions like this may take a while for the player to grow familiar with, as well as attacks where you thrash with your catch in your mouth, but I’m sure it’ll feel nice with the more hours that you put into Maneater.
The game has a narrator that is simultaneously humorous and informative. I actually learned a lot of interesting facts about sharks but as is the case with quick fire facts being thrown at me, I cannot remember a single one to write down in this Maneater preview. Maybe I’ll remember one for the review, but don’t hold your breath (the underwater puns will also be present in the review, fair warning).
Maneater looks to be a lot of chaotic fun that is enjoyable when simply swimming around and exploring all that the waters has to offer. The game will release on May 22, 2020 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One with the Nintendo Switch version releasing later this year.
Thank you for checking out our Maneater preview, thank you Koch Media for allowing us to go hands on with the game and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out!)
- Belinda Cubitt