ManEater (PS5 Review)

While many Sony fans are still in hot pursuit of the brand spankin’ new PS5 console, some have been fortunate enough to get their hands on one despite Sony’s poor planning at launch. For those that do have the newest Playstation, there is no mistaking the shortage of titles currently available for it, yet this was not necessarily unexpected. Games like Godfall have bedazzled players with next gen graphics while familiar faces like Mortal Kombat continue to wow with its consistently solid play and upgrade of sights and sounds. One release that many gamers may not be familiar with, however, is the new ManEater from developer Tripwire Interactive.

Anyone that knows me well knows I have a certain affinity for all things oceanic, most specifically cephalopods and sharks. While you can’t play as an octopus in this game, ManEater puts you in the role of one very gluttonous, cartilaginous fish, otherwise known as a very hungry shark. The title was simultaneously released on both the PS4 and PS5, though as my days on the PS4 have pretty much come to a close, this review will focus solely on the PS5 version. After all, out with the old, in with the new!

The game starts you off in a small bay where you can get some familiarity of the controls as you start to snack on various fish and your first taste of humans. You’ll also learn the basic abilities of jumping, lunging and tail thrashing, all of which will become important at some point in the game. After this quick run-through in a sandbox-style environment, you are ready for the open seas!


ManEater has a total of five areas in the game for your razor-toothed character to investigate. They are not available at the start as you will need to accomplish various feats in order to unlock them. Each area is quite expansive, to say the least, and rather unique from one another. You start off in murky bayou waters and will eventually find yourself in locations that range from a severely polluted green-hued shallows to pristine blue depths.

In each environment, you will need to feed and investigate while accomplishing an array of side quests. Let it be known this game is very straight forward. The only thing deep about it is the ocean floor, and that is certainly not a criticism. If I wanted complex, I’d be playing some RPG I have no hope of finishing. Every lake, bay and cove will have you chasing down hidden items like license plates to eat and nutrition caches to open. Both unlock add-on abilities while the nutrition caches also help you grow and ultimately level up.

Sonar is a key ability in the game (yes I know sharks don’t really possess sonar) that allows you to immediately look for threats and food in the game. There are approximately four types of nutrients divided as blue, green, yellow and red. Red is DNA, green is mutagen, blue is diamond (defense) and yellow’s icon is presumably fats or lipids. For example, eating grouper provides the yellow attribute, sea turtles provide blue and humans provide red. You will also find rare albino sea creatures that provide the green mutagen attribute. All of these are used in various capacities to upgrade abilities such as sonar, health and several evolutions like electro-shock and bony plating.


This game is certainly colorful if nothing else. Its creators left no part of the spectrum unused from their palette which all displays beautifully here. The undersea environments are often stunning, even so in the toxic waters of Dead Horse Lake. The sun will rise and set as you continue your aquatic escapades throughout the game, adding even more visual wow as skyline lights cast their reflection across the shimmering surface.

Your character will undergo a number of changes in the form of the aforementioned evolutions. Each one displays a very detailed and realistic look, despite the fictitious abilities they bring. Other sea life looks quite realistic as well, though their movement can be somewhat stiff, unlike the shark you play as. Humans have a bit of a cartoonish look to them, befitting of the game’s theme which is one that does not take itself too seriously.


As stated earlier, you will find yourself hunting down side quests in each locale while also trying to complete standard missions. These are all part of the overall requirement to move on to the next step. A pause menu brings up a basic map showing you what you’ve collected and what’s still out there. This same menu also shows abilities, completed and incomplete missions, and finally, the list of bosses who are expert shark hunters (some are more expert than others).

Humans will be a critical part of your diet at some point. The more humans you eat in a short period of time, the more the threat level increases. Once the threat level maxes out, here come the cavalry. Skiffs and speedboats will rush to the scene with an arsenal that includes spear guns, fully automatic weapons and dynamite. You got it. You are essentially a living submarine and these folks came prepared with depth charges. And thus begins my critique of the controls.

Lunging from the water and the direction you take can be tricky, if not frustrating. I have often found myself wanting to pierce the ocean’s surface toward an oncoming Coast Guard vessel so I may nab one of its occupants and drag them to the sandy depths below. Nearly as often I find that my jump is either straight up and not angled toward the boat or in the right direction but lacking momentum. On land, and yes you will be able to traverse land for brief moments at a time in this game, the clumsy flopping is outdone by the even more clumsy direction in which you are trying to maneuver. Want to go slightly to the right? No, you’re going to keep going straight. Want to keep going straight? No, you’re going to fall off the edge.

Outside of those underwhelming aspects, the largest of which is trying to jump at an excessively high license plate, other and more easily accomplished motions include speed bursts through the water, tail whips, thrashing prey that you’ve detained in your highly compressive maw and submerging. Submerging will be arguably used the most of all those, especially when it becomes time to find a cove to hide from shark hunters or upgrade your shark.  In short, the gameplay is utterly fantastic while the controls could use some refining.

I will say, Tripwire Interactive struck gold when that moment comes to flee shark hunters. It creates a wonderful sense of anxiety and panic to outrun them when they are hot on your tail. Bullets will be zipping past you through the water and explosions will disrupt your path while your health is nearly at end.


I liken this game to the old Rampage arcade cabinet. It’s not often we are given the chance to play as the bad guy, and it’s not that sharks are bad at all, quite the contrary, but your shark is definitely homicidal. Such a playable opportunity sparks lengthy moments of elation, not to mention kudos are due for the creative teams behind such unique games.

ManEater, despite its few flaws, is incredible fun. Is it for everybody? No. It does have its place in many players’ libraries though. To be given the chance to basically play the equivalent of Jaws in video game form is endorphin-inducing. There are some moments I just like to enjoy the tranquility of the undersea environments, followed by the bloodthirsty moments of devouring everything in my way, people included.

Man Eater keeps me coming back as I continue to rack up countless hours invested in this game, still with two areas left to explore (as well as that confounded license plate too high for me to reach). It is in a league of its own, to be sure. Super Dodge Ball on the old NES is my favorite video game of all time. ManEater is not far behind. I know, quite a statement, right?  That is certainly not to say you will enjoy it as much as I have, but there is something to be said for a title that has climbed my ranking of games as quickly as Man Eater has.  Give me unique.  Give me a game that stands out.  Above all, make it fun.  ManEater checks all of those boxes.

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