Stern Jaws Shark Hunter Challenge Advanced Strategy – How To Achieve Level 6+

Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate! It’s looking like Stern Pinball is going all-in with Jaws this week celebrating with several Insider Connected quests and challenges, see: More Jaws July 2024 Insider Connected Quests + Seasonal Quests + John Wick Contract Quests Introduced or just head right to the Jaws 4th of July quests here:

For those not familiar, Stern’s newest and first pinball machine in 2024 Jaws comes with a separate and included minigame challenge played entirely on the LCD called Shark Hunter. This game while simplistic in design is fast and difficult and costs 20 shark teeth to play.

Am not sure how many regular pinball games needed on average to accumulate 20 shark teeth, haven’t ever really tracked (has anybody reading? Let us know in the comments), but it’s not very many. Am pretty certain it can be done in a single game, but that would have to be a very high score. More likely a few good games will net 20 shark teeth or say 5-10 average games should get you 20+ shark teeth.

The good news is if you’ve been playing Jaws pinball for awhile and Insider Connected for all the games, then you should already have plenty of shark teeth for games to play. My strategy is to load up on the teeth until I get near the max of 999 teeth and then work on the Shark Hunter Challenge mode. With code v0.91 they added the new 4th of July Challenge mode that also takes 20 shark teeth. We’ll cover that game another day, but if you’re here reading, be sure to play that this week as well, as there is a leaderboard challenge for the 4th of July Challenge also.

A typical game of Shark Hunter Challenge will last less than a minute. It’s everything a classic arcade gamer looks for and there is strategy that can be used to get deeper into the game.

We previously covered an overview of this game here: How to Play Stern Pinball Jaws Shark Hunter Challenge Worldwide Video Mode Leaderboard Competition March 13 – March 31, 2024 and my arcade gamer son that goes by Khazu and I have been playing Shark Hunter a lot more, both reaching Level 6+. This article we’ll go through advanced play tips to help you reach level 6+. We’re very close to breaking to level 7.

During the recent Jaws 4th of July, I was able to reach first in the world on Day #1 of the promotion at level 6 with score of 145,350,000:

On Day #2, Stern’s tester Nick, bested my score. Then, yesterday, Day #3 of the challenge, at the end of our Humpday Wednesday live stream my son, Khazu, played one game and beat both of us with a score of 148 million.

You can watch the beginning to end video of Khazu’s #1 run here: Khazu Takes #1 World Score in Jaws Shark Hunter Challenge 2024 – Twitch

This was the second time Stern ran the Shark Hunter challenge leaderboard. The other time it ran for a few weeks and the top score was around 153 million, if memory serves. That score was at least level 6, maybe level 7. So, if you’d like to break into the top 10 worldwide scores, it’s time to up your Shark Hunter game and get to at least level 6. Let’s go through some advanced strategy and tips that should help up your game.

First, it’s important to understand the scoring required to attain each level. At each new level you’re awarded 10 additional harpoons with a max of no more than 20 harpoons total. We start the game with 20 harpoons.

Shark Hunter Scoring required by level:

  • Level 1 – 6,000 to advance to level 2
  • Level 2 – 13,000 to advance to level 3
  • Level 3 – 21 ,000to advance to level 4
  • Level 4 – 30,000 to advance to level 5
  • Level 5 – 40,000 to advance to level 6
  • Level 6 – 51,000 to advance to level 7
  • *Level 7 – ??? (guessing 63,000, since that would be +12,000, but have never been to level 7 to see what it takes to get to level 8– @Khazu and I both have reached level 6 multiple times)
  • *Level 8 – 76,000 to advance to level 9
  • *Level 9 – 90,000 to advance to level 10
  • *Level 10 – 105,000 to advance to level 11 …

* these are estimates, based on the progressive level score advancement for the preceding levels. Everything moves VERY fast at level 6, so one can imagine level 7-10 is probably close to or is human unplayable fast speed

POWER TIP #1 – use 3D mode! Yes, even without the glasses, you can see the outline when the sharks sway left and right faster easier by the outline. This mode is a little more difficult in the earlier levels, but is essential in the higher levels 4+

#2 – Anticipate at higher levels the shark swarms toward the screen. It becomes almost immediate and you can’t react at the higher levels, you have to anticipate. This means if you’ve been shooting a lot of left or right, then probably the center or place you haven’t shot is where the shark will almost immediately appear. There is a tiny fraction of a second at higher levels to react to the shark approaching, so spraying an occasional harpoon in the direction you aren’t shooting will increase a chance of a shark swarm hit.

#3 – learn to load up on harpoons, early and often, even if you don’t need them. They max at 20 harpoons, so no going over 20, but learning to hit those along with sharks is critical for achieving and beating higher levels so you don’t “run out of harpoons.”

#4 – Starting with level 4, and definitely with level 5, you need to spray harpoons in all directions and fire much faster. Not non-stop at 4, but almost non-stop at 5 and even faster at level 6. Even a very minor delay will result in a shark swarm and the shark will bite you for game over. Levels 1-3 become much easier once you’re regularly hitting level 4, 5 and 6. The first three levels are about timing your shots better and collecting the harpoons.

BONUS – how to get the extra ball in the pinball game video mode Shark Hunter 95% of the time

The strategy for playing Shark Hunter when it comes up inside a normal pinball game is similar but there are some key differences between the Shark Hunter Challenge mode and the game triggered inside a normal pinball game that are important to note.

First, you have to light the video mode (second indicator from top) with the target shot on the left bank of three targets, then go up the far right lane to activate the video mode. Once you’re in the Shark Hunter, these are the main differences:

  • There are no pauses for level increase, but level advancement is still based on scoring
  • You will receive a little amount of bonus time with each level increase
  • Running out of harpoons (seems?) much easier in this version of the video mode game
  • The extra ball always appears at the very top from the far right moving left, so the strategy to always claim it is to keep the middle area clear. Don’t hit too many sharks too fast, or the game will be at a higher level and make earning the extra ball with a successful hit harder. Instead, just slowly pick off any objects in the middle and be ready for that round extra ball to appear in the upper right corner. When it appears, fire multiple harpoons as necessary to earn the extra ball hit. Once that’s done, then focus on hitting everything you can to advance the level and earn some bonus time.

Your turn. Any tips to score higher at Shark Hunter that we haven’t covered? Share away in the comments. It’s good to have friendly competition to drive scores higher. Happy gaming to all!

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