App review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
JAWS.io App Poster Image
Ad-heavy multiplayer take on classic shark movie.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Game has very simple touch controls but can be challenging depending on who else is playing.


When you're a shark, you use your teeth to eat swimmers, boats, and rafts that swimmers are sunbathing on. All of which leaves blood in the water. When you're a boat, you run over swimmers. Which doesn't result in bloodshed, but it's mean. There's also one shark who's wounded, bloody, and has harpoons sticking out of him.


Game is based on the 1975 movie of the same name and the sequels that followed in its wake. Video ads run after every match, though you can pay for the ad-free version. Players can also opt to watch video ads for points they can then redeem for playable boats and sharks, which can also be purchased for money.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that JAWS.io is a multiplayer combat game for iOS and Android that's inspired by the classic movie. Players are either a boat chasing a shark or a boat-eating shark, and whoever chows down the most wins. Boats shoot projectiles at the sharks, and can run over swimmers, while the sharks use their teeth to eat boats and swimmers. Only the shark's kills result in blood being spilt. There also one gruesome-looking shark who's all bloody and has harpoons sticking out of him. Besides promoting the movie, this game has video ads for other games after every match (which you can disable by paying $2.99), and players can also watch video ads, or spend real-world money, to purchase new playable sharks and boats. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared, and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Inspired by Steven Spielberg's classic 1975 movie, JAWS.IO has you either being one of many boats that's trying to kill a giant shark, or being a shark who tries to get all those boats to stop bothering you. Why? Well, the game doesn't say, but if you're a boat, it's probably because you want to stop the shark from eating people, and if you're the shark, you're probably feeling a little peckish. Good thing this game has simple controls that just require you to drag your finger across the screen in the direction you wish your boat or shark to go in to accomplish your goal of scoring the most points possible in a round.

Is it any good?

While this online multiplayer game is weirdly fun, it's undermined by all the video ads you have to sit through to simply play a round. In JAWS.io, you use the game's simple touch controls to drive a boat full of grizzled old fisherman who are trying to stop a shark. If you're successful, you get to be the shark, while your fellow players man the boats. It's like they turned Steven Spielberg's classic movie into a cartoony arcade game that's essentially that old playground favorite "Kill the Guy with the Ball." Except in the film, the fisherman didn't shoot at the shark, and the shark didn't get bigger as it ate swimmers and destroyed boats. Regardless, the one with the most points at the end of the round is the winner. It's relatively easy to play, and easy to get into, and as long as you're not facing off against someone that's got more experience in controlling the shark or the boars in the game, you can rack up a high score.

It's just too bad that JAWS.io kills a bunch of the fun by running a video ad at the end of every game (well, unless you spring for the ad-free version, of course). Similarly, JAWS.io constantly runs ads that players can watch to earn points for boats or sharks, which feels like it misses the point of the movie or the gameplay in favor of blatant commercialism. But, If you can get past this, though, you'll have fun swimming with the sharks of JAWS.io.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about advertising. JAWS.io runs ads after every match unless you pay for the ad-free version, but do all the ads make the game less fun for you? Why do you think they include so many ads?

  • Is the impact of the violence in JAWS.io affected by the cartoonish nature of the gameplay? While it makes sense that a shark would eat helpless swimmers, does it make sense that boats would be rewarded for running people over?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love multiplayer action

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