Developer: Young Horses
Release Date: January 30th, 2014 (PC), April 22nd, 2014 (Ps4)
Available on: PC, Playstation 4
Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the Playstation 4. There may be differences between versions.
Have you ever felt like you were super out of place for something? Well then you can likely relate to Octodad who is an octopus living in a human’s world. Yes, I am serious. Using crazy controls you’ll have to accomplish tasks without arousing the suspicion of the humans whom you live with. It’s every part as ridiculous and humorous as you’d expect, but is it fun? That’s another story.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch has you playing as the Octodad, the loving husband and father to two children. When his family takes a trip to the aquarium Octodad has to continue to fulfill their wishes while avoiding detection by regular humans and being killed by sushi chef Fujimoto. It’s really silly, always humorous, and even a little heartwarming later in the game. The absurd scenarios and clever writing helped carry the game a long way, even farther than the gameplay could carry it. Eventually, once the game stopped being fun to play, it was wanting to see the conclusion to the story that kept me going to the end. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is on the short side (it only clocked in about 3 – 4 hours) but in this time it squeezes out a nice story that made it well worth it.
At first Octodad: Dadliest Catch is also fun to play. Controlling Octodad is difficult, but that’s where the main challenge of the game comes in. You need to move each of Octodad’s legs independently using the right and left triggers, and you use the two analogue sticks to control his arm. It’s difficult, and is made more so when nearly everything in the environment has some kind of physics attached to it. You’ll knock over soda cans, destroy boxes, mess up orderly lines, and more. Some of the destruction that Octodad can make in his adventures is downright hilarious. While doing so you have to avoid bumping humans, which will fill the suspicion bar. If that fills then you’ll go back to a check point, something that’s at least a little generous.
Sadly, the fun isn’t going to last. Some of the later segments have some crazy requirements that are just not fun to deal with. A stealth segment late in the game is extraordinarily frustrating, battling the game’s awkward controls while avoiding getting caught is just not fun to play at all. Whenever Octodad looses his disguise and the suspicion bar fills up when people just look at you then you know you’re in for a bad segment. There are also some other times where the controls stop being cute and start getting into frustrating. One segment of the game has you playing carnival games to win prizes for your wife. One of these games involve using a spray of water to knock over moving objects. The pinpoint accuracy to knock over a cup combined with the time limit and awkward controls mean playing this one is insanely frustrating.
Some of the pain can be alleviated by the game’s co-op mode, which has one player controlling the legs while another controls the arm and has them switch every time they complete an objective. Does it make the game easier? No. But getting to screw around with a buddy does help make the game a lot more humorous and takes away some of the pain caused by the frustrating late game segments.
While Octodad: Dadliest Catch is fun to start off, and at least remains funny throughout its running time, some of the late game stuff really made me loath playing it. It never ruined the entire game for me, I still enjoy just screwing around the first half of the game and seeing what kind of ruckus this not-so-stealthy octopus can cause. I just wish that the second half was about the same caliber.