Years of psychological conditioning in video games, and in reality too I guess though that’s boring, has taught me to fear sharks. They move quickly and silently, they bite and kill anything they can get their teeth into, and those cold dead eyes are one of the worst final things to see before you die.

It amuses me to no end in the early stages of playing Maneater at how frequently I would panic for half a second at there being a shark on screen, before gently reminding myself that it’s me for a change.

I had been interested in Maneater from the moment I first heard of it, and was convinced to purchase it by our own Stuart in a recent episode of The Bear’s Den. I purchased a copy for Playstation 4 on the day the review went live and immediately got stuck right into playing it the moment it arrived, dropping the other games I had been playing without a second thought.

From the word ‘go’ I was completely hooked on it, and aside from a small amount of progress loss due to a bit of a shaky auto-save function, I am thoroughly enjoying exploring the open depths of the varied map.

I’m not sure how to describe the graphical quality of Maneater, as even on my PS4 Pro they seem simultaneously pretty and vibrant yet also dated and a little ugly. No other game has confused me so much with its appearance (except for Shadow of War but that’s more astonishment at the fact it’s allowed to exist) but I couldn’t give the game a tough time for it as it all feels very much part of the charm it wants to convey.

Something isn’t right here…

Gameplay is incredibly basic but in a very good way, and I hope you enjoy mashing R2 (the bite button) as you’ll be spending plenty of time doing that across the course of this game. Better gamers than me have said it took them around ten hours from starting the game to Platinum it, and the fact the pause menu informed me upon finishing the first hour of gameplay that I had completed 27% of the story, I am inclined to believe them.

Even though Maneater is quite a short game I love how quickly your shark progresses, unlocking new cosmetics and buffs that make combat opportunities more diverse as the game gently ramps up the difficulty. Some enemies found early on will obliterate you in just a couple of hits, though fear not, you’ll be back soon enough to devour them with absolute prejudice for their gall at challenging you whilst you’re just a baby shark (NOOOOO….doo doo doo doo doo doo).

is this…is this a birth?

A minor gripe I have with the gameplay is that not much allowance has been made for the size your shark can grow to when you revisit early game areas. This means that even the simple action of swimming through a tunnel means that the camera has no idea what it is supposed to be doing, and flails helplessly like a seal trapped in the shark’s mighty jaws.

At the time of writing this review I have finished the story and am two trophies away from unlocking the Platinum. Maneater isn’t getting out of this review without a solid recommendation, and the only reason aside from the temperamental auto-save and confused camera that I won’t be giving it a perfect score is because it is too short for a game that costs more than £20. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, but I wish there was more to do in it as the potential is certainly there.

I agree with Big Bears’ verdict, and I score Maneater

9 / 10

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