Play Life, Live Games column: Dumb entertainment can still be fun
Like movies, television, books and music, there really is a video game out there for everybody no matter what their interests are.
There are military shooters, sci-fi titles, sports simulations, funny games, romantic games. Sometimes, games are at their best when they just try to be dumb fun.
One of the most popular games of the last five years has been “Rocket League.” It’s basically just soccer, but the players are all cars. It’s chaotic, fast, kind of dumb and incredibly fun.
A game I’ve been playing recently that qualifies as dumb fun is “Maneater” from Tripwire Interactive. “Maneater” is an action role-playing game where you play as a baby bull shark as it grows and evolves into the most fiercest predator around the fictional community of Port Clovis along Louisiana’s coastline.
This is by no means a simulation game. As your shark grows, it unlocks mutations. So by the end of the game, you’re about the size of a megalodon, and you can equip customizations like external bone plating, electric teeth that stuns prey and you can evolve to where you can live out of water for longer.
The game’s story is told through a reality fishing show that follows Port Clovis’ top shark fisherman, Scaly Pete, and is narrated by “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Parnell.
The game’s open world is full of hidden secrets to find and Parnell’s narration when you find them is hilarious. These Easter eggs make fun of everything from “It” to “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Arrested Development.” It even has an Easter egg for Sylvester Stallone’s 1993 action film “Demolition Man,” of all things.
As fun as the game is, it does have some performance issues, at least on PlayStation. The game crashed on me a couple of times and later on in the story, after you have opened up more populated areas and there’s more going on, the frame rate can really become sluggish. Tripwire is aware of these issues though and is working on an upcoming patch that will hopefully fix them.
The game is available now on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with a Switch version expected later this year. If you’re looking for some mindless escapism during these strange times, “Maneater” is a fun distraction.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.