Ever since Jaws first hit cinema screens in the 1970s, sharks have been a source of terror for most of us. Ancient, powerful, and ugly-looking, they’re the ultimate predator. And much like the film industry, games developers have often brought them in as villains for players to fight against (or flee from).Among the first games to be set predominantly under the water was Ecco the Dolphin for the Sega Genesis. Given the setting, it’s no surprise that sharks featured as enemies throughout the game, most notably in the ‘open ocean’ level, where hordes of them swam toward poor Ecco at high speed.The first Resident Evil game famously featured a shark tank, which made for some memorable jump-scares. The largest shark, ‘Mother Neptune’, would bash her nose into the side of the tank while the player attempted to complete a puzzle. Only once the tank had been successfully drained could the monster be tracked down and electrocuted.Later games took this as inspiration, including Batman: Arkham City, where Penguin lures Batman into a gigantic area of open water, and forces him to face off with an enormous shark named Tiny. But sharks aren’t always rendered quite so realistically – those who played Banjo Kazooie on the N64 might recall being chased through Treasure Trove Cove by an irate shark named Snacker.Smaller studios have promoted sharks to the starring roles in their games. 2016’s Hungry Shark World and the upcoming Maneater by Tripwire Entertainment see the player take control of the world’s scariest predator – often with messy results!Here at Gamepix, we provide a range of different games involving sharks. They’re all free and available in HTML5, and thus capable of running on any device with a web browser and an internet connection.
Things you always find in Shark games
The vast majority of shark games are side-on adventure games, in the vein of Ecco the Dolphin on the Genesis and Mega Drive. The only difference is that you’re not playing as a helpless dolphin here, but a deadly predator, using the arrow keys or on-screen controls to maneuver your shark through the underwater environment. As you’re swimming all the time you won’t need to worry about gravity or platforming; just point your shark in the appropriate direction and press the button to accelerate. Sharks are natural carnivores, so in most of these games you’ll be recovering health by eating the fish around you. Sometimes, the hunger itself is what applies the pressure – go too long without food, and your shark will starve to death, and it’ll be game over. To avoid this unfortunate outcome, the only option is to keep swimming, and keep eating!
GamePix’s Collection of Shark games
Undoubtedly the most popular game of this kind is Hungry Shark. This is a game which combines arcade-style underwater action with RPG-style progression. The more the shark eats, the hungrier it gets – and the larger it gets, too! Simply swim around, eating all of the marine life you come across. You’ll grow in size until eventually a newer, more powerful shark becomes available. In order to eat certain species of underwater creature, you’ll need to have unlocked the appropriate shark. There are more than a dozen sharks to unlock, as well as other fantastic creatures like whales and dinosaurs. At the very top of the tree, of course, is the ferocious prehistoric megalodon. But beware – some sorts of creature can’t be eaten at all, and they may actually pose a threat to you. Hungry Shark World was first released in 2015, and has since racked up more than 50 million downloads from players around the world. It’s a sequel to Hungry Shark Evolution, which was in turn a sequel to Hungry Shark: Night. Originally the work of Future Games of London, the studio was bought by Ubisoft in 2013 in a big-money deal. It’s not always easy to be a shark – as word of your destructive prowess spreads, you’ll find that human beings attempt to rid the water of you. Helicopters might appear, dropping explosive barrels on you, and brave fishermen might head out into the water, just like knights looking to slay a dragon. All of this is, of course, just a fact of life for a man-eating predator, and you’ll need to avoid these hazards and eat up those threats wherever you can. Different sorts of shark come with different special abilities, which makes it worth unlocking all of them. This provides a little bit of replay value, as even after you’ve unlocked the biggest, scariest shark available, you’ll still have reason to check out some of the others. For added depth, those special abilities can be upgraded over time. In Evolution, things actually go a little bit further than this, with a whole slew of unlockable items available. You might install jetpacks or laser beams onto your shark, or recruit a baby shark or two to assist you in your hunt for food. If you’ve never played a game in which a flying shark does battle with an airplane, you’re in for a treat. We should also mention the game’s graphics, which are plush and three-dimensional; it’s a great game to look at, even after hours of gameplay – which is convenient, as the gameplay is so compelling that you’ll be glued to the screen for a long time! With such an enormous open world to explore, and such a sizeable variety of items to unlock and creatures to devour, it’s no wonder that so many gamers have been won over by this unlikely formula. This is a game that’s been around since 2015, but it’s receiving constant updates, which means that all of the tiny little bugs have been ironed out, and the experience is a polished and optimized as it possibly can be. Another change is a tweak to the difficulty – it’s not quite as tricky as it was back in the day – but it still poses a challenge for players to get their teeth into!