Octodad: Dadliest Catch Review

Although less convincing than a trenchcoated, bowler-hatted, fake-mustachioed comic strip schoolboy standing on a chum’s shoulders, no one but the most scrutinous marine biologist or a curiously homicidal chef nemesis can see through Octodad’s piss-poor disguise. It's Dadliest Catch's running gag, where living a lie is taken to preposterous extremes and deceiving loved ones is the aim of the game.

While the premise of an octopus masquerading as a family man conjures up oddball 8-bit cassette tape games of my youth, the unconventional control scheme recalls clumsily pawing at the dashboard in ursine driving simulator Enviro-Bear 2000 – Operation: Hibernation, or manipulating an uncooperative flailing limb in flawed late-90s FPS Jurassic Park: Trespasser – albeit here, input impediment is a deliberate choice and core mechanic.

The game is a trial of adaptation. As Octodad struggles to maintain his cover as a husband and father, arms contorted into a besuited, bipedal sham, we are forced to deal with the restrictions such an unnatural scenario entails. Progress is shambolic, with compact, stealth-lite levels masking the dexterity required to synchronise limbs and perform usually straightforward manoeuvres. Octodad’s desperate, blundering efforts to keep his act up against all odds felt reminiscent of my fraught experiences arriving home drunk as a teenager, attempting a show of sobriety while swaying and slurring.

Though movement is tricky to master – even after practice, an elegant pirouette can swiftly slip into a ragdoll impersonation, accidentally roundhouse kicking suspicious NPCs in the face – Octodad’s signature lollop is especially pleasing, and getting timing down pat in the four-legged race of co-op mode can elicit a balletic sense of coordination. I found using a controller more intuitive than thrashing the mouse around.

Octodad is an engaging, unique game which crashes the everyday and the uncanny head-on with aplomb, and one particularly enjoyable to onlookers. Simple tasks inevitably degenerate into Buster Keaton-evoking farces – with soundtrack nods to silent film accompanists to boot – and my only gripes with Dadliest Catch are an occasionally wayward camera and a few cruel difficulty spikes necessitating repetition of short sections ad nauseam. Otherwise, it’s a blast.

Played for 5 hours.

8 / 10

  • A laudably outlandish concept well executed.
  • Genuinely funny, pun-packed script.
  • Wilfully erratic controls can irk occasionally.
  • A handful of tough spots require saintly patience.

5 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

pblive's Avatar

pblive

Tempted by this, but may wait for the PS4 version.
Posted 22:45 on 31 January 2014
GeoH2102's Avatar

GeoH2102

I bought it today, and it's great! Having much more fun playing co-op than single player though... the novelty gets old pretty quick when you're by yourself.
Posted 21:24 on 31 January 2014
RamTheDragon's Avatar

RamTheDragon

I am really glad they polished this game so much and made it more interesting. Good stuff!
Posted 16:10 on 31 January 2014
BombaLuigi's Avatar

BombaLuigi

I have to do some rant now because you didn't gave it a perfect Score. I mean, its Octodad! Someone has to do it.

So yeah... shame on you! And stuff.
Posted 19:48 on 30 January 2014
BritishWolf's Avatar

BritishWolf

an 8 from VG is very good. can't wait for it on PS4
Posted 18:02 on 30 January 2014

Game Stats

Octodad: Dadliest Catch
8
Out of 10
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
  • A laudably outlandish concept well executed.
  • Genuinely funny, pun-packed script.
  • Wilfully erratic controls can irk occasionally.
  • A handful of tough spots require saintly patience.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 30/01/2014
Platforms: PC , PS4
Developer: Young Horses
Genre: Strategy
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 351 7
View Full Site