Suckered me in.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is likely the strangest game you will ever play, and let’s get one thing out in the open: you will play Octodad; it will sucker you in.
In Octodad you play as an octopus, who is a dad, tasked with not giving away to his family or anyone else that he is, indeed, an octopus. It’s a riveting thrill-a-minute story that is sure to leave you on the edge of your seat, featuring gameplay that will raise your blood-pressure to unhealthily high levels.
Or, you will flail around like a mad man (octopus), failing to achieve even the simplest of tasks.
It’s the second one.
Octodad is a gimmick game, with the whole thing centred around the way Octodad moves, basing its levels on simple tasks like cooking a burger, going shopping and doing some gardening. While this doesn’t sound tricky, it is. To control the titular character is a button delegated to each leg, and an analogue stick for each arm – it’s hilarious.
Seriously, Octodad is one funny game, and not only in your failings, oh no, this is well written and animated, feeling somewhere between an Aardman film and Monkey Island in its humour. I loved all the little touches in the background.
The controls may sound infuriating, but they are not and trust me, when you get something just right, the feeling is unbeatable. The game is almost built around flailing around – everything is there to be thrown around or knocked down; except you are almost encouraged not too.
Throughout the game is the idea that you are fooling everybody, they don’t know you’re an octopus, but you knock too much over and it’s game over – you are found out. While this adds something of a dimension of trying to be careful the feature never seems fully fleshed out. If the developers were savvier, Octodad could have been a tense experience, but as it is, the game is too forgiving, the lack of a hard mode hurts the game.
Indeed, Octodad is kind of in some kind of limbo, it wants you to be reckless, but if you’re too reckless, you fail, so you try to be more careful and end up missing stuff like the hidden ties that populate every stage. It’s strange, if Octodad were a sandbox, you’d probably get bored of it before long, so I think the story was a good idea; I just wish it were longer. At around four hours or so, it doesn’t hold the attention for long enough.
Luckily, the Steam version of the game has user built stages that add endlessly to the experience, and although the quality of these stages is questionable at times they do add considerably to an experience that never felt quite finished.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a strange game that I can’t help but love. The Steam version of the game is the way to go with the user created stages (as far as I know this is not a feature on the PS4 version). I feel they should have either gone for more chaos or more stealth, but as it is, Octodad is a recommendable game for a bit of a laugh.
Octodad is worth the few quid it costs.