Cringe not, child: Jaws Revenge for the iOS has nothing to do with the awful 1987 movie Jaws: The Revenge. Rather, it’s a one-touch action game where you wreak havoc on a beach as God’s own biological chainsaw, the Great White shark.
What’s it like to shoot through the water like a living torpedo in Jaws Revenge? Imagine playing Sega’s classic 16-bit adventure Ecco the Dolphin without having to worry about your air supply, and without having to demonstrate a shred of respect for the Circle of Life.
It’s totally safe to go in the ocean.
More specifically, Jaws Revenge is the story of a shark with an insatiable appetite for destruction. You take control of Jaws as he swims down the length of Amity Beach and chows down. Getting through the game’s 30 levels requires a lot of swimming, leaping, killing, and eating, all of which is done with simple tap controls. If you hold your finger on the screen, Jaws submerges; when you let go, he gives a mighty leap upwards, and woe to any sea bird that sought refuge in the sky. If you tap on the screen twice, Jaws will dash forward. You “eat” by simply running into anything with nutritional value: fish, snorkelers, swimmers, water-skiers, and the entirety of Planet Earth.
But Jaws’ life isn’t all sweetness and chum. Each level in Jaws Revenge issues a challenge, like eating a certain number of people or getting a certain number of points before you reach a level marker (usually a buoy). If you don’t meet your goal, you fail, and must do the level over again. Repetition makes an otherwise mindlessly fun game boring and stale at times.
Moreover, Jaws isn’t invincible. He can be hurt by coral, underwater mines, and weapons wielded by the land-monkeys. You can upgrade Jaws’ bite and defense by collecting coins. Not surprisingly, some of these upgrades cost a ridiculous number of coins, and the game gives you the option to buy a bunch with real-world money.
But those complaints are minor next to the game’s basic concept, which is simply to provide the player with mindless, stupid fun. Jaws Revenge is ridiculous, but it knows it’s ridiculous, and revels in its bizarre, campy sense of humor. For instance, Jaws can power up and enter a “Frenzy” mode that lets him swim faster and leap high enough to bring down commercial airliners.
Jaws Revenge looks good, but its sound positively shines. Not only do your victims utter cheesy screams and cries of “Shark!”, but every time Jaws leaps out of the water, his lunge is accompanied by a suitable riff. Feeding time!
Jaws Revenge is a shallow game, but even if you tire of it in a couple of hours, you’ll have a blast the entire time. Best of all, if you play it while holding your iPhone upside-down, it becomes a game about a shark that throws up so many people, the authorities have to open up a beach.
Okay, that doesn’t happen. But it’s more fun to eat people than regurgitate them, anyway.