Fish are food, not friend.
Hungry Shark World is yet another example of a quaint mobile game ported over to the Nintendo Switch with enhanced controls, a premium price and the removal of microtransactions. As such, it’s unquestionably a better experience than it is on mobile, but it also lacks the depth necessary to be a must-buy title on the Switch.
As the name blatantly suggests, you play as a rather ravenous shark who must eat its way through a smorgasbord of unfortunate prey. This includes small fish, crabs, birds, fellow sharks, humans and more. Your own health is displayed as a hunger meter, so naturally the longer you go without any food, the closer to death you’ll get. What this means is that the game actively encourages you to never stop moving – you must always be on the lookout for more food (so, rather like my own life, in a way).
If this sounds pretty simplistic, that’s because it is. There’s little more to the game other than swimming around the environment and gobbling up various creatures – but that’s okay. The game is incredibly accessible, and it means that anyone with even the most basic understanding of games can jump in and have a reasonably good time. You control your shark with the left analogue stick, and it will automatically gobble up smaller creatures. Larger creatures, such as sharks or humans, require you to hold the X button whilst nearby to start munching on them. If you find yourself running out of health with no meals in the nearby vicinity, you can also press and hold A for a handy boost of speed.
Being a mobile game originally, there are a ton of unlockables for you to acquire as you progress. This includes but is not limited to new sharks and various items of clothing. Yeah, your sharks can wear clothes. The game can bit a bit of a grind, and unlocking new sharks in particular can take a lengthy amount of time. As such, you might find yourself getting a bit burnt out by the repetitive nature of the game quite quickly, which is a shame.
To alleviate this issue slightly, the game includes various missions depending on which shark you’re currently playing as. So for example, you may need to survive for at least 4 minutes whilst wearing a particular hat or necklace, or collect a certain amount of gold. It’s a decent way of incentivising repeat playthroughs, but to be honest, there’s only so much you can do with the core gameplay.
Whilst the gameplay itself is a clear step up from the mandatory touch-screen controls of a mobile game, I can’t help but feel the title has not been optimised particularly well. Loading times are jarringly lengthy, which means that if you die, you need to sit through a loading screen for a good amount of time before you can jump into the action again. Additionally, the gameplay is mostly smooth, but I did notice some significant slow down when the action gets particularly hectic, but thankfully this occurred so infrequently that it wasn’t too much of an issue.
Hungry Shark World is worth a go if you’re after a bit of a distraction for a while. It won’t offer the same kind of depth as some of the Switch’s exclusive offerings, but it’s nevertheless a fun little port.