Octodad: Dadliest Catch Review: An Affirmative Blub
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is finally available for Sony’s PS4 console after releasing months ago on PC. This indie gaming gem is just as good on a console. Then again, it would be an amazing, funny and charming experience regardless of the platform it is on anyway. The game is an exercise in tolerance for new and unique game mechanics, showing us that after years of the industry dishing out repetitive sequels that we can learn new concepts. Thankfully Young Horses packed it with enough humor and zaniness to make even the most frustrating moments a joy.
You may have heard of Octodad, its been making the rounds as a stand out indie title for the past few years. I first laid eyes on it at Fantastic Fest in 2011 and didn’t quite “get” the concept. It looked funny and certainly one of a kind but would it even be fun to play? Years later I have an affirmative blub for it being a fine experience, albeit a bit short.
The game’s controls are entirely unconventional. You move Octodad with the left stick while controlling his main left tentacle with L2 and his right tentacle with R2. You have to be really precise with your movements of the left stick to not make mistakes and accidentally bump into something. It’s a challenging control system but one that makes 100% sense. It takes some getting used to, roughly 30 minutes or so but once you get the hang of it the unconventional controls add to the game’s charm and personality.
Ordinary tasks like flipping burgers, mowing the lawn, getting your child’s favorite frozen pizza from a grocery store or pouring coffee should not be easy tasks for an Octopus posing as a human male. They aren’t easy to pull off in Octodad but not in a bad way. Each section of the game forces you to accomplish relatively simple tasks with the game’s somewhat complex controls. Some of these objectives are a little dull but as soon as things become repetitive or somewhat frustrating, the wackiness of controlling a friggin’ Octopus makes everything fun again.
These controls aren’t just logical, they make the game’s easiness understandable. Young Horses was smart to never really put challenge that was too difficult in the game since the controls are a constant struggle. That’s what is great about Octodad, doing mundane things as an Octopus and trying to keep a low profile.
For whatever reason, Octodad’s wife and kids still think he’s a human. There’s a nasty cook out to expose his true sea creature identity, giving the game an actual villain to despise. The origins of this villain are eventually explored and the reason why Octodad and his wife bonded is revealed. None of this was even necessary in a game this wacky but its a nice touch, adding to the game’s already overwhelming unique personality.
Visually Dadliest Catch won’t blow you away even on PS4. It does feature some terrific art direction with solid character models. Environments are littered with little jokes here and there and the dialogue between characters provide humor throughout the game’s 2.5 hour story mode. The game also features some solid music and well done voice acting too.
That’s where Octodad falls short. The story mode does not overstay its welcome, which is a good thing. Still, you can’t help but be left wanting more. There are certain challenges you can try to accomplish by replaying the main game and there is a free play mode too. Co-op is also offered for those with a friend nearby. Co-op mode is a nice twist on the game but ultimately Octodad is the type of game others will want to watch you play, not help you play.
Throughout my playthrough I encountered a few errors but nothing major. Sometimes Octodad would be caught in a wall or between objects after reloading the game due to failing a task or getting caught. When I finally beat the game’s story it crashed on me on the final loading screen though this crash didn’t seem to interfere with acquiring the game’s trophy for beating the campaign.
Simply put, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a very fun game and well worth your $15. I wouldn’t even say its an acquired taste due to its complex controls, pretty much any video game fan of any age can get behind Octodad’s tentacles and save his reputation. Dadliest Catch is very humorous and doesn’t get crass at all despite their being several opportunities to do so with the whole Octopus marrying a human thing.
The only real faults is that the game is so short. After playing a little bit of local co-op and messing around with free play you’ll likely end up spending 3-4 hours with the game. You can go back and find hidden collectibles too, extending your play time close to 5 hours if you don’t rush through.
Its hard to fault Octodad for its short story mode since this is the type of game you let your friends and family play when they come over. Since it is 2.5 hours long, its very likely you can let friends play through it in one sitting and have a blast watching them fall in love with the game just as you did.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch made a believer out of me. Maybe it was the silliness of it all, something that I believe is missing from modern gaming overall. Its a breath of fresh air for an industry that sees so many numerical sequels every year because it introduces an innovative control scheme with a charming protagonist. Octodad should be on your PS4’s hard drive right now and is a great game to play when you have friends over.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch may be a short experience but it is entirely one of a kind. Review copy provided by Young Horses. Reviewed on PS4.