4 years ago, I watched a gameplay video for a little game called Octodad: Dadliest Catch. I remember thinking that it looked like silly fun. Well, here I am in 2018 and I finally got to experience it for myself. It’s interesting to note the greater significance of the game in that it was one of the first to be greenlit by Steam after a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. Furthermore, it was created by a group of university students who went on to form developer & publisher Young Horses. Its origins have been described as “The idea was originally a joke”.
In Octodad, the player is in control of an octopus posing as a human man with a normal, human family. The gameplay largely revolves around the balance of keeping this charade alive while completing household chores, and evading his wife Scarlet’s increasing suspicion of her husband’s strange behaviour. The antagonist of the game is the manic chef who obsessively seeks to expose the octopus’ secret or cook him.
Controlling Octodad is the main hurdle you’ll have to get past if you are to have any hope of progressing. All of his limbs are controlled independently and there is a real emphasis on ragdoll physics. This makes even the most mundane of tasks a genuine challenge to accomplish. Initially, the controls can feel complex which can lead to quite a bit of frustration. However, persevere and you’ll soon master them.
Still, the failure to simply walk in a straight line or constantly failing attempts to pick up a specific object is what makes Octodad so enjoyable. It has been quite some time since any game has had me laughing as much as I did playing this. Witnessing Octodad flail around causing all sorts of destruction is hilarious. It’s so simple but it manages to be super effective due to the scenarios it places you win. You’re meant to feel like an Octopus would trying to blend in as a human and that’s exactly how it makes you feel. Climbing a ladder is no easy task and neither is making yourself a morning cup of coffee. However, succeeding in these tasks undetected feels extremely satisfying.
I liked that the game starts you off doing simple tasks and slowly makes things more complicated as you progress. There are a couple of chase scenes that really put what you have learnt to the test. You’ll likely fail again and again but it’s hard to get angry when Octodad is so damn loveable. What’s even more hilarious is how the game manages to tell a rather touching tale. One in which you’ll be fully rooting for an Octopus.
Also, the dialogue in the game is highly amusing. Your family make remarks that clearly point to you being some kind of aquatic lifeform but for whatever reason they just cannot see it. Even when the chef tells them that their father is an Octopus they think he’s the crazy one, it’s brilliant.
The animation in the game looks a bit dated but that’s to be expected. Still, it’s full of vibrant colours that add to the fun factor. Another thing I enjoyed was the soundtrack. The music matches the scenarios you find yourself in perfectly.
Overall, Octodad: Dadliest Catch was a laughter filled experience. It certainly isn’t for everyone, some would likely hate it. However, it has a unique charm that I connected with. The novelty does wear a little thin in the latter stages. Thankfully, the game is a short and sweet. It won’t change the world or make some kind of dramatic statement. Still, it achieves something that video games in their very essence should strive for. That is of course to be memorable & fun.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
The Final Score - 8/10
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