Hungry Shark World is the newest game from FGOL and Ubisoft, following the success of the very popular Hungry Shark Evolution. Veteran fans of Evolution will find Hungry Shark World to be extremely familiar at the outset, but can look forward to many thoughtful new features in this sequel. New players to the franchise are also in for a ferocious treat.
Your goal in Hungry Shark World is to eat as much prey as possible, earning gold and points to grow your shark pup as large as you can. Hungry Shark World offers 17 shark species you can collect and grow, each with different strengths and idiosyncratic styles, including the agile Hammerhead, the comical Basking Shark, the speedy Mako and the iconic Great White.
The world is artful and rendered beautifully, though the cartoony sharks are so intense they are almost grotesque. Once the sharks get moving though, you don’t notice how they look- just how they bite. They feel faster and more manic than their previous versions, and as a significant improvement, they have a lot more to do. The features within each gameplay session are well designed and there’s something entertaining for everyone.
Some missions motivate short bursts of activity whereas others are just based on accruing something over time until you reach the goal, no matter how many tries it takes. There’s lots of bonus loot to find in the water and plenty of high ranking enemies to inspire you to get bigger. The best parts of predatory ocean life are still enjoyable, including munching on slow swimmers and jumping for elusive birds.
Along with more shark species, Hungry Shark World also offers three maps to explore and lots of new “pets” to accompany you on your rampages. People who downloaded as soon as the game was available were given a gift of a cute octopus named Kraken, which has proven to be quite useful as a sidekick. Other pets include a baby beluga or a diminutive killer whale you can win as a daily contest prize. There are also accessories to dress your shark, but I wasn’t interested in those. Strangely enough, many seemed to be inspired by the racially stereotypical Halloween costumes cited in “Never Wear This” articles about awkward office parties (i.e. does it actually need to be a “Mexican” mustache?).
While the game is an improvement in many ways on its predecessor, there are noticeable bugs in the game. Swimming up on land, jumping out of the water, attacking humans or even birds can sometimes trigger a jumpy screen or even a half disappearing shark. The game also crashed several times while I was playing, unceremoniously bumping me out to my home screen. Of course, this is most damaging when you’re on track to complete a high level mission and might frustrate some people enough to keep them from trying again. But all great streaks must come to an end eventually, and the occasional game crash wasn’t going to stop me from achieving shark superiority.
As a warning, unless you are willing to shell out some cash, the game is a grind. But, it’s the best type of grind because there is no timer, no limited lives, and no energy systems to prevent you from jumping right back in the water as many times as you want. There’s plenty to do and you can keep playing for as long as your appetite allows.
If you love your games fast, ferocious and filled with bloody feasting then Hungry Shark World should be your next download. A lot will look familiar to Hungry Shark fans, but the new features will make your journey from pup to greatness worth every bite.