If you’ve heard of Hungry Shark, it’s most likely as the long running and very popular mobile series, but last month saw its most recent game, Hungry Shark World, make the jump from phones to consoles. It’s a game that’s got some pretty obvious shades of Echo the Dolphin, Pacman and other classic games, but that doesn’t stop it from having its own barmy modern identity. It’s a pretty straightforward game to get your head around, but its gameplay loop is fun to play, to say the least.
The first thing you’ll be impressed by is how pretty everything looks on console when compared to the mobile games. You’re able to see things way off in the distance and this attention to detail gives the ocean that extra depth while you’re swimming across it on the 2D plane. There are some neat slow motion effects when you leap out of the water and bite down on something, which adds an artsy flare to catching those bloody seagulls, and you’re encouraged to be silly and experiment with the environment to earn points by, for example, throwing your shark up onto land and chomping away at everything in sight, whether penguins or people trying to get in a round of golf!
The game works by just feeding your shark as you’re going through the levels, staving off your shark’s demise from an insatiable hunger. The game follows a point scoring system which offers multipliers for each consistent meal that your shark eats to top up its health. Alongside the health bar is a boost indicator, which shows how frequently your shark can charge into something underwater. The real key to maxing your points is by collecting gold and getting the gold meter filled and let you trigger a Gold Rush. This temporarily makes your shark invincible, allowing it to rack up points a bit easier.
Each of the available sharks offer different abilities and attributes though, and some offer less boost even if the selected shark is huge and others offer less charge and more bite power and size. There’s twenty-five to unlock and choose between, ranging from the small Porbeagle to the excessive Megalodon. Each has ten challenges to complete, earning EXP and more sharks to use.
Get enough EXP and you unlock a new area, letting you get out of the Pacific Islands and to the Arctic Ocean, Arabian Sea and the South China Sea. The problem is that the grind to get EXP can get pretty boring, especially early on where you just have the Pacific Reef to swim around in, trying to check off those challenges with multiple sharks just get get a glimpse of a new location.
Selecting a different shark when grinding the same ocean will spawn the player in a different part of the ocean though. There are also changes to the sea life, depending on the shark you pick, as some sharks have a larger bite, some are faster and others just weigh more. All this plays a role in how you can navigate each ocean and will allow you to overcome or smash through obstacles as you unlock the more impressive sharks. Despite having to repetetively play through the same level, there will be new things to discover from time to time.
Within it’s ocean depths, there’s plenty of fun to be found in coming back to Hungry Shark World every once in a while. The game’s point system makes it competitive enough for players who want to beat their personal best score, but the game really puts emphasis on running the same stages with different sharks which can start to grind. So while the game itself is pretty fun, Hungry Shark is one of those games best played in short bursts.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4
Also available for Xbox One, Switch, iOS & Android