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Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a premise you’ve probably experienced many times in videogames before. You play as someone who has settled down with a wife and children and you must perform regular day to day tasks. Oh, and you’re an octopus. In a suit. And everyone treats you just like a regular guy. OK, so it probably isn’t something you see everyday but it’s from this ridiculous premise that this indie game is born and creates an experience that is very unique on the Playstation 4 right now.
The challenge comes in controlling Octodad with the two sticks and shoulder buttons as things go about as well as you would imagine if an octopus was made to mow the lawn or create a cup of coffee. At times I became a little frustrated with the random element to controlling Octodad that seemed to never go away. However, the entire game and it’s humor relies completely on this mechanic and if things went smoothly it just wouldn’t be the same experience. The carnage and unintended havoc that happens from the most simplest of tasks is part of the fun and it’s in the face of these issues that it does feel rather great when you pull off what you were trying to achieve.
The game is relatively short, it took me under three hours to finish my first time playing. The trophy list is smart as it adds more of a challenge to the game such as throwing the ring onto your soon to be wife’s finger instead of just placing it. Trying for these more difficult approaches to scenarios adds more length if you crave more after the game is finished. While it would have been nice if it were longer, I’m glad the game continues to be funny throughout its duration instead of outstaying its welcome at any time.
There are a bunch of different environments to explore and cause havoc in and the game progresses at a good pace so you never get tired of a section, for the most part. Some sections require a stealth approach, while others focus on creating the least amount of havoc as possible. My favorite sections are when a simple task is hard to achieve. It’s a shame these sections are more towards the start of the game as the experience does fizzle out slightly the further you progress.
Octodad actually has a surprisingly good story and can be somewhat touching at times. The whole thing is tongue in cheek but when we learn of his origins and after he gets split up from his family I definitely felt more for the characters than I ever expected to before playing. It’s nice that from a crazy premise, the developers managed to create a decent story with interesting characters. And a very good villain throughout.
Some sections definitely drag on more than others however. Shopping in the supermarket is a joy and perfectly nails the tone of trying to complete simple tasks with hilarious consequences. But when in an arcade and we have to complete numerous different games before being able to progress, it does feel rather tedious. Some of the games are so luck based that I just really wanted to move on and the joke became very close to becoming annoying before eventually managing to progress to a more fun section.
Comedy in videogames is something that for many years was assumed to be kind of an impossible task. With timing being everything, and the nature of how we experience games in our own time it seemed inevitable that these elements would clash. This year, with first the release of the incredible South Park: The Stick of Truth and now Octodad: Dadliest Catch, it seems this idea of comedy not being possible has been completely thrown away. Even games like Goat Simulator show that games can make you laugh if they are approached in a completely different style to other areas of comedy. It seems in this still new medium that developers are finally starting to realize this more than ever before.
There is a co-op mode where up to four players can control different limbs of Octodad, just in case you thought he wasn’t hard enough to control in the first place (No one will think this). It once again cranks up the difficulty and therefore at times can be funnier but also maybe too hard for some of the more intricate sections of the game.
The Playstation 4’s commitment to indie titles has already become increasingly obvious with titles such as Outlast and Mercenary Kings finding great reception on a console you would assume owners would want to play blockbuster games on. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is another example of a fresh and unique title that doesn’t have next gen graphics or features but is still a very fun but somewhat basic game that should be played by anyone wanting a smaller experience and many, many laughs.