Octodad, nobody suspects a thing. This statement is the crux that Octodad: Dadliest Catch lives and dies on. The entire experience revolves around a singular joke, what if an octopus was to wear a suit and everybody fell for it? Should you be unable to suspend disbelief to such an extreme extent, or should the concept simply not amuse you at all, Octodad has very little to offer you. However, for anybody who finds the concept of a suited cephalopod raising a family whilst hiding his oceanic origins appealing, this game delivers in spades.
The gameplay in Octodad can only be related to games like QWOP or Surgeon Simulator, where an otherwise seemingly simple task, such as walking or picking up a small object, becomes a challenge in its own right. The player controls Octodad’s arms and legs individually, and is tasked with a variety of daunting scenarios such as weeding the garden, filling a glass of milk, or even playing a game of air hockey. Though these may sound somewhat mundane in contrast to the intense and otherworldly set pieces we see in so many other games on a regular basis, performing these simple actions with Octodad’s excessively limber limbs is a recipe for disaster and laughter, and causes Octodad to be one of the greatest spectator games ever conceived.
The 11 chapters offer a surprising amount of variety when it comes to the tasks you are charged with, though this variety is largely cosmetic as opposed to making drastic alterations to core gameplay. As an experience focused almost entirely on situational comedy however, this kind of variety is more than enough to sustain your enjoyment for at very least the first playthrough. Outside of the main campaign, there is very little content on offer. Each chapter has a number of collectables in the form of a tie that you can dress Octodad in, and the trophies offer a few interesting and at times tricky alterations to a small number of objectives throughout the game. Upon completing all of these tasks, or for those that aren’t as interested in collectibles or trophies, it can be disappointing to see no additional game modes adding replay value to this relatively short game.
The nature of the controls and objectives would lend the experience to a challenge mode very well; bizarrely the game even keeps a record of your best time in each level, but it never puts this information to any use. Challenges to beat levels in the shortest time possible, breaking the least objects or avoiding unwanted attention could have added an entertaining competitive layer to the game that would certainly make it a more enticing product, and would undoubtedly be appreciated by those wanting to spend more time in the charming world the developers have put together.
The silly scenarios and surprisingly bountiful dialogue are enough to build a genuine attachment and empathy towards Octodad as a character, and despite the visuals being technically unimpressive, the vibrant design and large number of hidden jokes within the environment make the surroundings every bit as enjoyable to behold. Although the story the game tells is very simple, this reliance on light heartedness makes the few departures from these seemingly mundane events surprisingly effective.
Octodad is certainly not a game that will appeal to everybody, and its success as an entertainment experience is hard to judge due to a strong reliance on personal taste. If nothing else, the game is certainly worth trying out, because for those who can find the humour in such a bizarre and preposterous concept, the game delivers a thoroughly entertaining and, at times, even heart-warming delve into a world quite unlike those we typically see in this medium.
- Replay Value