Game Review: ‘Octodad: The Dadliest Catch’
This game is…quirky. Genuinely quirky, not the Zooey Deschanel marketing quirky. You play a husband and father who is going about his day to day. Making coffee, doing the groceries, and so on. This man, however, has a secret.
He’s an octopus.
Literally an octopus, wearing a suit and posing as a human. There’s a bit of back story during the game but it doesn’t add much, nor does it explain the biggest questions (like how they have children). Octodad and his suspicious wife Scarlett is enough to provide a reason to press on, but there’s some simple additions that would make them more sympathetic such as giving the main character a name. Most of the entertainment factor comes from the sight of this octopus trying to pass for human.
What is at the centre of the game is the control scheme. Like QWOP and Surgeon Simulator 2013 this is one of those oddities that is fun to play because of how terrible you’ll be at it. Octodad is gangly, clumsy and terrible to control, leading to amusing disasters at his wedding, the shopping centre and the like. On the Mac the default is the trackpad. The left side controls his left ‘leg’ and the right the right, dragging two fingers moves his arm and three raises and lowers it. It’s straight forward enough and is surprisingly effective. As with any trackpad and/or Mac product it isn’t completely reliable, and sometimes you’ll be wondering if the hardware is letting you down or you just suck.
Some of the sequences are quite frustrating, such as sneaking through the boat, and restarting it multiple times can be frustrating. Most of the game takes place in the Aquarium sections fiddling with skill tester machines, which isn’t as much fun as the home and grocery store. The grocery store has the best in-joke in recent gaming history – packets of ‘Total Biscuits’ on the shelf. In hindsight basing the story in a sandbox may have worked better.
There’s plenty of fun to be had with this game, but the short length of the story and family friendly humour will likely prevent it from becoming the cult hit similar games have. As a one off play through there’s whacky fun to be had.