Hungry Shark World Nintendo Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Future Games of London

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release Date: July 17th 2018

Price as of Article: $9.99 USD, £7.19 GBP

Game code purchased for review

Story

The story in Hungry Shark World is almost non-existent as we don’t get any intro as to why we’re playing as a shark and what the motivations are. But the only thing I can say is during gameplay every time we’re about to fight a boss, a corporation message box appears from Glutwell Corp. Telling you they have captured a friend and we have to save him. Other than that there’s no mention of anything during gameplay about so the called story.

Gameplay

So what do you do in Hungry Shark World? Well you eat.. actually you devour all life as we know it! Nothing must get in your way of eating. If you’re not eating you will start to starve, resulting in game over if your green health bar depletes completely. You start off as a small shark and as the food chain demands you can only eat fish that are smaller than you. You can certainly attack anything but attacking something bigger than you will likely lead to you being eaten, yeah you know, the whole circle of life thing.

Sharkventures!

Each shark has his own missions that can be completed in any order. Each of the 27 sharks has 10 missions, each of these range from eating a certain number of fish to more obscure missions like hitting switches or finding letters that spell out the word HUNGRY on the map. Talking about maps, there are 4 areas you can explore. They start off small, however every time you unlock a new shark you will be able to break through walls or pipes and extend that area. Meaning more places to explore and alot more fish to eat, which is really cool. Unlocking sharks is the key to success. Some are unlocked by previous shark missions such as finding 30 fossils to unlock the next shark and others can be unlocked by defeating bosses. Sadly, each encounter has the same process, which is find a message in a bottle then find a map, then defeat the bosses or boss, then smash the cage to unlock the next fish. The formula never changes, however bosses do, but it can get repetitive after a while.

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Levelling up

After completing an area, any missions you have completed will give you XP which levels up your shark to a Max level of 10. On the results menu there’s a progress bar at the bottom which moves along every time you gain XP unlocking new accessories for your sharks. These accessories cover your shark on 7 different parts like tail, fins, face, head and body. You also unlock little pets to accompany you. Each accessory gives you a perk like 4+ damage to bosses or increased speed. They’re all themed as well, meaning if you equip all the aviator gear you will get additional perks. Some of the themes are: Evil Clown, English gentleman, Bunny, Princess etc. There are 110 items to unlock so you’ll have plenty to get and attach to your chosen shark. Money can be acquired in-game by finding chests located on the seabed and scoring big points. It’s all about scoring big and eating everything smaller than you. If you eat a golden fish you can increase a gold rush bar at the bottom of the screen. If this fills up then you enter gold rush mode, where all the small fish can be eaten to acquire more gold and huge multipliers increasing the score even more. However if you continue to eat…and I mean EAT everything, you’ll increase the red bar just above the gold one, which makes everything edible including mines, which would normally kill you! Jellyfish, everything, nothing is off the menu when that bar blings! The problem though is that’s when game can crash causing you lose all that hard work in an instant! It’s really fun swimming around, eating and being the top predator in the ocean. Some sharks even have their own special abilities which is a nice touch. But it does get repetitive after a while, even when you get to different theme areas it’s the same thing constantly. And that’s where the issues begin to arise, on the Switch version anyway.

Audio

The audio in Hungry Shark World is not unpleasant to listen to but its nothing really exciting either. The shark noises are cool, and the screams of people as they get chased down the beach by a rocket wearing shark is always hilarious to listen to, for a while. Considering the fact that you are an apex predator more could have been done with the audio.

Visuals & Performance

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Oh Hungry Shark World this is where you struggle. Let’s start with the long loading times and absence of a retry option. After selecting the shark and equipping the accessories you’re taken to the map. You can choose a level, then you have to sit through a long loading screen. Let’s say you get into a game and died for whatever reason, instead of simply pressing retry and loading back into the game, you’re sent to the results screen and back through another loading screen back into the shark menu from which you then have to go through the same process all over again. It’s so annoying and time consuming.

The graphics are nice to look at and the sharks are all detailed, but some of the animations look a little wonky. The biggest kicker though is the performance which is awful at times. The game runs well when there’s not much going on but as soon as things get hectic the game starts to chug along and frame dips happen, sometimes it feels like hitting below 30 fps. It doesn’t last long, but it’s very noticeable. This is where the crashes happen. I’ve played for about 10 hours and I’ve experienced about 18 crashes in my play-throughs!

I first thought that my data might have been corrupted, but this wasn’t the case. None of my other games have this problem, so why is this one so special? If I get killed by an enemy the game crashes, if I defeat the boss the game crashes! It happens far to often to be just a one off and it ruins what is actually a pretty fun game, even though repetition sets in quickly.

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It’s worth mentioning that I’ve spoken to a few people on Twitter who said the same thing. I’m not sure how it runs on other systems though. Also, a few people mentioned that it hasn’t happened to them, so the performance may vary. The game also supports screenshots as well as video capture. I understand that this is the first time that Hungry Shark World has appeared on home consoles as it’s previously been released on mobile devices. It’s not the best first impression for the Switch version though as it feels like it was just cobbled together without proper testing. Thankfully the game wasn’t overly expensive, but I think the developers need to take responsibility for the fact that the Switch version just doesn’t run very well. I posted and sent a number of messages to them with no response yet.

Value

£7.19 isn’t that expensive and what’s here is fun. All the sharks, accessories and areas are really cool. There’s a lot of content here for the asking price but its hard to justify value when the game is so buggy which dampens the experience significantly.

Pros

P

Lots of sharks to unlock

P

over 100 accessories

P

Huge area to explore

Cons

P

Crashes can occur

P

Long loading times

P

Drops below 30fps