The human skeleton contains over 200 bones that serve to not only protect the vital organs but also gives shape to the body. The vertebral column (your spine) especially keeps the body upright. The bones also gives a place of attachment for muscles, which move the body. Our cephalopod mollusc Octodad has none of those and the result is surprisingly sheer enjoyment.
Love is a funny thing, it can make you do all manner of strange things. Such as leaving your marine life behind and pose as a human so you can marry your love and start a family! This is the basic premise behind Octodad: Dadliest Catch and our titular character. As amazing as it may sound, no one knows his dark tentacled secret because somehow by wearing clothes, no one is the wiser! Then to further the illusion, Octodad must do the most mundane and ordinary tasks such as finding the frozen pizza from the supermarket or mowing the lawn or even making coffee – all those boring chores we hate so much. But as I mentioned in my biology crash course, hilariously for us, the player but probably frustratingly for Octodad, the everyday tasks are not only amazingly challenging but extremely funny.
Playing as a floppy limbed, over-flexible Octopus can be tricky but luckily developer Young Horses have totally nailed the control scheme. Most importantly, you can only control one set of limbs at a time so Octodad never ends up in a knot! The analogue sticks controls the directions the limbs head in. The trigger buttons pick up your legs and R1 lets you pick up objects and that’s it! That’s all there is to it. What makes the game entertaining though is how imprecise movement is, getting anything done usually ends with a complete mess and while at times the controls can be frustrating bu the easygoing-ness of the game never feels punishing. Often failures in tasks end up being more hilarious than actually accomplishing them. In fact, Octodad is a pretty forgiving game overall, your tentacles will suck up any objects without having to be on top of them, likewise dropping or throwing items to a specific area doesn’t need precise aiming. Simply hurl a box in the general direction will see the task fulfilled.
Puzzles in the game are thoughtful and again pretty funny. They tend to be either be cephalopod-specific or completely un-cephalopod-friendly. Chopping wood or running away from Octodad’s arch nemesis, the chef, can be time-consuming and tricky. But being boneless also has it’s perks by being to able to reach and squeeze in places no other creature can. There is also some squelchy stealth sections where Octodad needs to sneak past marine biologists, who “Know An Octopus When They See One”!
The cartoony style of Octodad further adds to the obscenity of the game. The bright, bold colours are simple but effective and oozes charm like ink. Octodad’s family are also funny and endearing. There is always someone talking in the background, whether it’s the kids asking weird questions (Their offspring not being a weird human/octopus hybrid!) or Scarlet, the wife commenting on how much mess you’re making. Octodad himself hasn’t mastered any comprehensible language, he spews a series of blurbs and gurgles but everyone seems to understand him! The soundtrack is also light-hearted and slightlyoff key at times which suits the game very well.
If you have guests around you can try out the Co-op mode which will test any friendship to the limit. The second player can either just control one arm or an arm and a leg. Constant communication is key to coordinating anything at all! Simple feats such as running becomes even harder when there are 2 players controlling each leg. Luckily, each controller corresponds to the colour coded limbs so you’ll know what you’re controlling but if you’re really feeling confident with your BFF, you can attempt the Roulette mode, where you will never know who’s controlling what or when! I’ve read that Octodad can also be controlled using the PlayStation Move wands and although I haven’t been able to test this out, I can imagine even more chaotic fun.
I have only 2 small criticisms to make – the game is very short with the whole length taking place in just one day. You can probably finish it in 2 hours or much less. But I imagine any longer and the game will start feeling extremely repetitive and frustrating. There are 3 ties to find in every level and some trophies to collect but that’s about it! The controls can also be at times quite testing, I found myself also getting stuck in the graphics but I think this is intentional, just to make you feel the plight of an octopus being on land!
I really enjoyed my time with Octodad, it’s the most refreshingly different game I’ve played on for a long time. Young Horses took the ragdoll mechanic and made a whole game out of it. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is funny and clever, an absolute must for breaks in between serious gaming.
Warning: The song in the opening sequence is highly addictive!Date posted: April 30, 2014