Maneater review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, PS4, PS5
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No

I?ve always liked the idea of Maneater a lot more than the actual game. That was the case when I got it on Xbox back when it first came out: I loved the concept, found the game boring. When it came to PS+ back in January: still loved the premise, still found the game boring. And now that it?s arrived on the Switch? You guessed it: I still love everything about the game, save for the actual gameplay.

I genuinely want to like this game a lot more than I do. I wish I could praise it as much as my colleague Stan did for the PC release last year.

The thing is, the gameplay is just so boring. Pretty much every single mission consists of swimming to an area, eating a certain number of a specific type of fish (and sometimes humans), and then waiting for the area bosses to show up. Obviously, given that we?re talking about a real underwater creature, it?s not like the developers could have given your killer shark some insane, out-of-this-world powers — though at the same time, given the inventiveness on display elsewhere in the game, it?s kind of unfortunate that they didn?t.

After all, all your shark can really do is bite, hit enemies with its tail, and sometimes combine the two together so that you bite then hit with your tail. It?s…kind of underwhelming, and it gets very repetitively very, very quickly. Occasionally the game forces your shark to flop around on dry land eating people, but that only serves to make Maneater?s combat shortcomings even more evident, since that?s when it goes from being merely repetitive to repetitive with awkward controls.

And again, it?s really unfortunate that the game falls apart the way it does, because when you look beyond the core gameplay, you can tell the developers really, really loved coming up with everything in Maneater. It?s the story of a shark out to avenge its mother?s murder at the hands of a reality show cretin and his son, narrated by the inimitable Chris Parnell. Whether it?s some goofy cutscene or Parnell narrating some insane nonsense, it?s in those moments where the game transcends its lousy action and becomes something fun and original.

Most of the time, though, Maneater feels like a game where they spent all their creativity coming up with the premise. Don?t get me wrong: it?s a wonderfully goofy premise, and the fact I keep giving this game so many chances shows how easy it is to love. The unfortunate truth, though, is that no matter how much fun the idea of being an unstoppable killer shark may be, the reality — at least in Maneater — leaves a lot to be desired.

Tripwire Interactive provided us with a Maneater Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+