Shark Attack Deathmatch review: an underwater XBLIG shooter with real bite

Shark Attack Deathmatch review

Shark Attack Deathmatch review

Below the flotilla of Minecraft clones and Avatar titles bobbing along happily at the top of the XBLIG charts lurks a game with real bite. Shark Attack Deathmatch is both title and premise: four scuba divers use spearguns to shoot each other while a circling great white menace persistently threatens to join in the bloodshed.

It’s a persuasive conceit, and it’s been realised with no little skill by relative unknown Lighthouse Games Studio. The speargun is authentically unwieldy and slow to reload, while your spindly rivals prove a hard target to hit, turning encounters into tense cat-and-mouse affairs. A knife offers the opportunity for a close-quarters kill, though as sharks are attracted by the blood that results, it’s a risky strategy – particularly given the paucity of hiding places. Visually, it can be a little ragged, but there’s some fine lighting work here, and the sharks are realistic enough to unsettle even from a distance.

Shark Attack Deathmatch review

Facing nature’s greatest predator alone in the singleplayer Survival mode is an even more frightening experience. Orchestral stabs alert you to a shark’s presence but not its location, precipitating a frantic 360-degree spin that commonly ends with a screen full of teeth and blood. After several hours, such jolts lose a little of their potency, but the purity of these ideas touches upon something primal that recalls our early dalliances with Doom. At just 80 MSP, and with the developer promising a raft of updates, there are plenty of good reasons to dive in.