Maneater Review (PC): Shark based survival focused on fun

Maneater title image

Maneater is a shark survival game that sticks to what it’s good at, being visually appealing violent fun throughout, so let’s give it a review, shall we?

Forewarning for those of you who might not handle gore and blood well: Maneater follows a shark that is best described as ultraviolent, there will be some blood, and at least one gruesome image in this review.

And one last thing before we get into Maneater, this review is focused on the base game and does not touch Truth Quest (the DLC), there will also be some gameplay and story discussion of the game, so spoilers ahead.

Now, let’s dive right into these shark-infested waters.

Maneater: Shark Survival / Simulation?

Is it really a survival game after all when the things trying to kill you pose only a moderate threat at the best of times? This is a question you might find yourself wondering during the prologue of Maneater.

Your first few objectives are the usual tutorial fare you’d expect. Learning the basic movement and camera controls as per usual for any game, and being a shark, naturally snacking on some fish follows suit.

After you learn the basics though? Straight out to eat some humans for you. Maneater can be said to do quite a few things, but it certainly doesn’t waste any time with its objective design, they’re straight to the point throughout.

Maneater review - the chaos begins immediately with a beach attack
Credit: Tripwire Interactive

At the behest of our incredibly violent mission objective popup, the shark murders the beachgoers. Naturally, the locals aren’t thrilled about people being brutally murdered on the beach, and some bounty hunters are sent to deal with you.

This serves as an introduction to the bounty hunters present throughout the game, though it’s quite a bit less chaotic than it will get later on.

And as you might expect what with the shark being our viewpoint of the game and all, the bounty hunters have… a bad time.

Shortly after you turn Chad (yes, Chad is a shark hunter) and friends into chum, the game will make a point of announcing you are being pursued by Scaly Pete, who serves as the main antagonist of the game.

Unfortunately, this is where our prologue ends, as this first shark is captured by Scaly Pete then and there.

But you remember when I mentioned we play as an ultraviolent shark earlier? Well, that isn’t the one we’ve been following up to this point. This is the nice one.

No, the shark we follow for the rest of the game is actually the child of this one – cut out by Scaly Pete after capturing mamma shark. While Pete examines it, he marks it with a blade to make it easier to identify later.

The problem with that idea is that bringing an angry shark close to you after wounding it and killing its parent is an absolutely stupid thing to do.

The cutscenes of Maneater often run the balance between brutality and comedy, which can be a hard line to walk.

With that said, it does manage this balance quite well, and it helps the player connect with the new shark immediately – robbed of its parent; and the player of their first shark – our new protagonist lashes out and leaves a significant wound even despite being injured itself.

While that cutscene lands more on the brutal side to establish both the character of our new shark and Pete himself, the game also benefits heavily from not taking itself too seriously even following moments like that.

Having been thrown off the boat, our shark has managed to take Pete’s hand with it, and Maneater is quick to encourage you to chow down on your newly stolen hand.

The tonal balance of sharks being fearsome and dangerous as shown in the previous interaction alone, while playing up moments like this for laughs works surprisingly well throughout.

With the prologue over and our setting and character established, let’s now run through the gameplay contents of the game itself.

The gameplay highlights

The core gameplay of Maneater is pretty much what you’d expect from a game focused on sharks. Consume everything you can and grow stronger. Assert yourself as the Apex predator of whatever area you find yourself in.

Naturally, asserting yourself as the Apex of an area requires a bit of work reminding the locals who precisely is the boss, including other fish who mistakenly insist that the title belongs to them.

Each such fight is introduced with a brief cutscene showing the current Apex before you rearrange them into bite-sized snacks.

These one-time fights are bouts of violent fun that make a nice break from your war on humankind, though they are spread between regions with only one Apex laying claim to each area, which makes them, unfortunately, few and far between.

Of course, you’ll also be in conflict with the local human population too. And your missions won’t shy about telling you to deal with them either.

As a larger shark further into the game though, the focus shifts in some quests away from the humans and on to the boats themselves, as sinking them drops the humans into the water and makes them entirely defenceless to you in most cases.

You might also notice in this example image that our protagonist looks a tad different from how the momma shark looked previously.

This is where the customization system comes into play, the fin shown here for example is part of the bio-electric set, which adds a stun chance or stun counter building for a certain stun to the various actions the shark will take.

Other examples include a bone-themed set that allows you to deal damage while evading, outright resist damage, and crush your way through obstacles such as boats with ease.

Contrast that with the likes of the shadow set, which poisons nearby creatures when you evade and adds life-leeching to your bites, and you get quite a few interesting options to work with.

Never mind that the sets are split into 5 separate parts each that you can mix and match as you wish.

You can also improve their base stats a few times each by upgrading them with the various types of currencies earned through eating just about anything in the game.

You’ll probably want to make use of those upgrades too, given bounty hunter leaders aren’t just a thing in the prologue.

If you kill enough humans, you’ll get shark hunters chasing you down. And if rather than hiding from them you decide to fight back and kill some of them, unique individuals will show up with the intent of putting a stop to your rampage.

These unique hunters offer similarly unique rewards if you can defeat them, potentially body set parts or organ upgrades that enhance your shark and offer new features, meaning that angering the hunters can be its own reward purely to strengthen yourself. The vast majority of these upgrades are well worth the time, though one or two of them – looking at you, Adrenal Gland – are trap choices.

These shark hunts often end with broken boats sinking below the waterline and a few straggler hunters swimming for safety – all it takes to heal your shark is eating something, fish or human alike – and being a shark your teeth are your main response to humans attacking you.

READ MORE: Maneater: How to open the large region gates

Naturally, this means that hunters can struggle to kill an aggressive player because aggressive gameplay will result in regular boosts to your health bar as the shark chows down on those chasing it.

All of these game elements focus on what Maneater and our shark can do best: fight, bite and consume to grow stronger.

And while these elements of the game are great, and are the core of what makes the game entertaining to play, some spots are a bit less fun and a bit more tedious to get through.

The less great bits of Maneater

With the main highlights of Maneater now addressed in our review, let’s move on to what might not be so great. First up, the quest design.

Quest design in Maneater is… lacking. While the life of a shark is obviously a restricted environment to tell a story from, basically every quest in the game can be summarised as one of these three options: kill 10 local creatures, consume 10 local creatures, or, on the rare occasion, destroy a thing.

It isn’t uncommon to clean up a region’s side content and find 3 or 4 consecutive quests of “eat this many catfish.”

It does very much seem like quests were designed to be filler sometimes, which is quite unusual for a game with a run time of around 10 hours in total. If Maneater was a 50+ hour epic, some filler would be far more understandable – I still wouldn’t like it, but I’d be able to understand why it was there.

As it stands, however, Steam clocked my time at 9.9 hours at the time I’d completed every base game achievement. It is of course possible I cleared the game quite quickly, and that many players might see more around 12 to 15 hours.

With that said, I struggle to see gameplay being stretched beyond 15 hours at all without going into the DLC or starting an entirely new campaign.

Filler quests aren’t the only curious decision though, as the game also features three separate types of collectable items to gather throughout the game: Nutrient caches, landmarks, and license plates.

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All of these end up being fairly boring – you gather each by attacking them – and while I’ll give Nutrient Caches a pass as a sort of shark power-up collectable, why our shark should be interested in license plates at all is entirely beyond me.

Landmarks meanwhile are a bit of a weirder one, as while they also do seem out of place, Maneater does use them to interject commentary and jokes about the local area quite frequently – making them a good excuse to allow the game to flex its excellent narration frequently.

Summary of our Maneater Review

With all of this from our review in mind, do I think Maneater is a good game? Yes. It’s great to kill a few hours with some fairly mindless fun. Though with that said, I do find it hard to justify the asking price on Steam of £33.99.

Personally, I would put the game somewhere between £15 to £25 in value, so sale prices can make it more worthwhile. If Maneater had been built to be more replayable and thus made more use of its fun core gameplay loop then its current price would be much easier to justify.

As it stands, Maneater is an excellent game if you just want to kick back and enjoy yourself for a bit, and does a great job adding another entry to a genre that is rarely explored, without compromising on the necessary gory visuals needed to make it work. It does however suffer heavily from a short playtime, limited replayability, and content that can simply feel recycled – all of which make it difficult to justify Maneater at full price.

If you’d like to give Maneater a try after our review, you can find an affiliate link below for Gamivo. They provide a Steam key for the game at around £14.40, which is a far more reasonable asking price in my opinion. The Click will make a small amount from each sale as well, so it’s a great way to support us for the Maneater review if you enjoyed it.







Fun Factor







  • Fun core gameplay loop
  • Stunning visuals
  • Free form customisation options
  • Largely unexplored genre
  • Doesn't shy away from being brutal


  • The gore and violence may turn some off
  • Weak quest design, relies on fun gameplay
  • Short playtime relative to full price