When the first Jaws movie dropped in 1971, no one had any idea how popular the franchise would become. Man-eating sharks are now officially a trend, so it's no surprise that Universal decided to create a mobile game, Jaws.io, based on the original classic movie. But where the film offers fans a bloody and violent good time, the mobile game is more of a time-waster, a casual thing people play when they're waiting in line at the grocery store.
Jaws.io takes players back to the waters of Amity Island as the captain of a boat that must avoid the crushing jaws of the great white shark and rescue swimmers trapped within the murky depths. Eventually, though, players can take on the shark itself, and if successful, they get to become the shark, meaning that they can eat ships and swimmers, which is the most fun part of gameplay. It's almost a shame that the entirety of gameplay doesn't revolve around being the shark. The game is multiplayer, meaning that all those other ships, and sometimes Jaws himself, are being driven by someone else playing the game. It's a shark-eat-shark world out there, and the key is to survive and become the hunter, rather than the prey.
The gameplay of Jaws.io is rather simplistic. Using a finger, the player moves the boat, or shark, to what they want to pick up and the key is to try and pick up everything (or eat everything, if in shark mode). Gameplay takes place in a series of time-limited matches, with scores going on a leaderboard that lets players compare their ratings with friends. Players can also choose various skins for their boats and sharks. Like the gameplay, the graphics are simple, which means the blood and gore are toned down, which could be disappointing for Jaws fans. However, the music is that familiar Jaws music that everyone knows and loves, and that makes the title a little more fun to play.
The downside of Jaws.io is that it is an ad-supported game. The ads begin as banners at the bottom of the screen, but between matches, players are forced to watch more intrusive video ads. These ads can get turned off by purchasing the game for $2.99, but with the game being so casual and not something anyone will want to play for hours on end, it's doubtful many will pay for it.
Jaws.io is fun for a short while, but it seems that it's just another simple casual game in an ocean full of simple casual games. It's not likely to make a big splash, but if mobile gamers are looking for something to waste time with, Jaws.io is as good as any other casual game that doesn't require a great deal of commitment.