Shark Attack Deathmatch is a game available on Xbox Live via the Indie Games section. It is developed by Lighthouse Games, and is definitely a unique twist on the genre of multiplayer deathmatch games, but in most aspects it does fail to please.
The game is only 80 MSP so you’re not exactly losing much, and who knows. You might actually enjoy the game, sadly I didn’t and I’m here to write this review for you guys.
There was this other shark based game being developed on the Unreal Engine and it was called “Depth“. Depth put you into the shoes of either a diver, or a shark and tossed you into environments that mixed team deathmatch with objectives, and my god did it look interesting. For some reason though, the game went into indefinite hiatus and bummed a lot of people out. Who knows, maybe some day we’ll get to hear some news about the games development. I wanted to play it so badly.
So, last night I was cruising the Indie Games section of Xbox Live after completely destroying my friends in Gun Game (Black Ops 2) and wanted to see if I could find any more gems. I eventually came across a game called ‘Shark Attack Deathmatch’ and decided to buy it, and boot the game up. Instantly I was thrown into a menu system that had horrible frame-rate, and I had to end up restarting the game to fix the issue.
Once I could navigate the menu without any issues I decided I’d check out the “Deathmatch” mode first. In Deathmatch you’re against three other players in one ocean environment trying to kill each other, all while sharks swim about and it gets extremely tense sometimes, I’ll be honest. There was a moment when three of us were shooting our harpoons at one another, I dropped a flash-bang and blinded all three of us, just as a shark came swimming in and chomped all three of us.
The game does that well. It captures the intensity of the situation, because it wouldn’t be a cake walk and a joyous experience dealing with Great Whites and some fools trying to harpoon your ass. But, the mode does present its flaws pretty early on in the experience and it can be extremely frustrating at times.
The game’s hit detection is god-damn awful. There was countless situations where I shot somebody in the face with a harpoon and they’d casually swim away without any damage done to them at all (You’ll tell when a player has been damaged because blood will appear in the water, and attracts sharks). I shot the guy so many times, and eventually killed him by hitting him in the foot. The blood cloud dispersed in the water attracting a shark which ended up eating me. Talk about frustration. It feels impossible to go on a killing streak of any sort, and if anyone has gone on a long killing streak in this game please show me some video proof or something. I just don’t see how it can be done!
The variety of weapons is completely crap, and not to mention they feel rather darn useless as you can read above. We only get two weapons, and flashbangs as our equipment (they are useless too). We have the harpoon gun which is very good at taking out sharks, but is completely useless at taking out players. I’d imagine a player would be taken out easier than a shark but sometimes that’s not the case. The other weapon is a knife which is incredibly useless against sharks, and shouldn’t even be used against players. It really bugs me. I know you’re divers, and it’s an underwater scenario but there has to be other weapons that could be usable. Give me a Trident or something and we’ll be laughing.
Another thing I kind of thought was neat the first time I played was the Oxygen system and how you need to gather oxygen to stay alive, or risk drowning. It feels good in the beginning, especially Survival Mode because it adds an addition to the classic deathmatch style of game-play, but eventually turns out to be a nuisance since it expires in around 2 minutes or less, and you’ll be constantly searching for oxygen tanks, which are incredibly hard to find and I’ve only found one on the map. You’re going to die either way. Whether it be from a shark, a player, or lack of oxygen. It gets to the point where the game isn’t fun, and I had to put the Deathmatch mode down.
A good thing about Deathmatch? You can choose the color of your diver’s suit. There’s some variety there, and it’s nice.
I head back to the main menu, and decided to hop into some Survival mode. The goal of Survival is to see how many sharks you can kill before dying. I did pretty piss poor as I couldn’t find any oxygen, and I killed two sharks before drowning. Survival Mode just feels tacked on, and it tries to be something its not. It’s more of a one play kind of deal and you’ll be done with this mode. It’s executed horribly, and it’s only singleplayer. Maybe I’d play it more if I could get some buddies in on it, but the fact it’s a solo experience really aided in turning me off on that experience.
Luckily, the game does have its moments and we do get to see some nice visuals. It really captures the feeling of being underwater and I like that. Not to mention seeing other aquatic life besides sharks swimming around does help give you that feeling of being in an ocean. There would be times where I’d be so transfixed on looking for wildlife that I would get killed by either a player or a shark. This game could benefit from an Exploration mode where you had infinite oxygen supply and you could just swim around, and cruise the ocean. There is a screensaver mode though, and it basically just shows off the environments, and sea-life with the time and date displayed all while playing some really soothing music. It’s a nice touch, but not enough to save the game.
There is also one map, and at times it can feel really small, as it seems to restrict you almost everywhere in the game and you can’t exactly explore the level. I always seemed to be stuck in the same spot, around a sunken boat. People tell me that the map is large, but I just can’t seem to explore any of it. It could be an issue with my game, or it could just be a bug that happens. But from what I’ve seen the map isn’t that interesting, and the fact we only have one environment to explore really bugs me. This game would definitely benefit from more levels, but it is an indie game on Xbox Live’s indie games section. Have to remember that.
If the developers ever decided to release this game with more content via weapons, and a better leveling/ranking system I think I would pick it up. It just seems to lack so much content, and executes a lot of stuff wrong. Heck, if this game was a just an “Ocean Exploring” game I’d buy it. But honestly, it just feels like it had a good idea and then executed everything wrong. It’s a shame too, I was really looking forward to a good game to feature sharks.
Avoid this one guys. Unless you’re curious.