When a game is described as weird and unusual, most people would interpret that as a negative. However, not everything that is described as such look like bad acid trips as there are some that are quite wholesome and earnest in their intention of providing family-friendly fun. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is one of them, and its message is indeed quite nice. If you’re not easily
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is the is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign and the sequel to the original Octodad, which was free-to-play game by the indie outfit Young Horse Inc. More games these days now cater a more family-friendly atmosphere as a lot of developers that have entered the industry are less about the usual shoot-at-enemies trope and more about various gameplay dynamics that don’t involve violent imagery. That’s why we are getting more games like Octodad, which was released back in 2010 by a group of students from DePaul University, most of which are now in Young Horse.
This is a game about family, with the father is doing his very best to take care of his wife and two kids. Players can feel the steadfast dedication that the father is putting into his role as the breadwinner and the man of the house, despite the fact that he’s actually an octopus. This is basically a QWOP style game that has the player control each of the four limbs (the octodad’s two “legs” are composed of two tentacles each) individually in order to perform various tasks.
From picking up groceries to taking the family to the aquarium (perilous for an octodad), it can soon devolve into a struggle to perform finger gymnastics on the controller. What you feel in your hands may not be entirely acceptable, but what you see on screen could egg you on with ridiculousness. Puns may be everywhere, but the slapstick comedy does hit the right buttons and gives the game a lighthearted atmosphere that makes it casual-friendly for the most part.
It’s funny as well with how most people “don’t suspect a thing” while you’re flopping around and knocking everything over. You have to be careful though not to make them too suspicious, as well as not getting close to people who may actually recognize you as an octopus, like marine biologists, sushi chefs, and the like. You may also have to hold on to various items to access further areas, so you will have to be careful not to drop and lose them along the way. The puzzle aspects of this game is divided into two things — finding out and remembering what to do, and making sure not to screw up.
It’s not entirely perfect though as there are a few things that some players may take on. For instance, the last level is disappointing in its size and scope, especially after everything you go through preceding it. But then again, you may not get much out of them anyway since the difficulty of the tasks aren’t exactly hardship; the challenge comes mostly from the controls. If you’re one of those rare individuals with finger dexterity and above-average coordination, you may find this game quite easy.
There are also a few issues when it comes to performance. While the graphics do look good and not glitchy, there are times when framerate drops, especially when there are too many urchins spawning in one area. Most of the time, it’s just a brief skip, but there are times when it seems like there’s too much stuff for the CPU to process, which is a shame since it should feel silky smooth everywhere else. The story is also quite brief, being only three to four hours long on average.
Upon seeing this game for the first time, most would think that it’s inviting and non-threatening, which is something that more games being released in recent years are starting to show. If you get it in Steam, there is Steam Workshop support that should ramp up the replay value a bit. It’s not a bad game at all, but you may want to wait for a sale if you can help it.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7/10
Here’s TotalBiscuit playing this game with his wife to demonstrate its co-op multiplayer mechanic. (He even makes a little “cameo” in the game.)