By Gabe Carey
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is the sequel to the 2011 independent game, Octodad, available on all three major PC platforms. Unlike its predecessor, Dadliest Catch is not freeware and, instead, features a variety of level environments, each emphasizing different ways to make players struggle as they progress through countless puzzles featured in the game.
For those of you unfamiliar with the breadth of lore in the Octodad series, the game is about an octopus father whose family thinks he is entirely human. The ridiculous concept sets itself up for many humorous punch lines throughout the game including, but not limited to priceless puns and cartoonish gags, as well as comical scenarios which highlight most of the game.
The game opens up by introducing the player to the game’s intentionally tedious controls in the midst of Octodad’s wedding to his human wife, starting players off with simple tasks such as finding and wearing a bowtie then walking down the aisle without anyone noticing him. That’s right, throughout the game’s entirety, players are faced with the task of stealthily avoiding character contact in addition to simply walking being a task in itself.
The game is certainly not easy. At one point in the game, I became so frustrated after two hours of replaying the same part that I had to contact Young Horses, the game’s developer, for support. Forgive my hyperbole, but luckily, Philip Tibitoski is pretty much the nicest guy ever.
Integrated in the game’s story, however, there’s yet another twist that becomes a constant struggle throughout its entirety. The next door neighbor just happens to be a chef who wants to expose Octodad’s identity, and presumably expose his identity to his wife and children. Inconveniently, the chef also happens to work at the same aquarium that Octodad’s wife needs to attend to for her career, which becomes another conflict for Octodad in a series of seemingly never-ending issues for the disguised octopus-man.
The gameplay, while humorous, can grow stale after several hours, but certainly makes for a celebrative event, particularly when having company over to play. There’s even an option for co-op play, which allows two-to-four players each maintain control over one of Octodad’s “limbs”, making the game even more difficult than it already is solo.
While I didn’t try this feature out for myself, I can’t imagine it being a welcome alternative to single-player controls, although it is likely worth trying for a few laughs. I can guarantee you that I’ll inevitably have someone over to test this feature with me once the PS4 version releases, as I currently only have one controller for PC and I feel that the standard keyboard/mouse input is quite cumbersome in this game.
All in all, this is a game I knew I would enjoy, notably after playing the demo for a good hour or so in my local GameStop. I can only imagine how much fun this would be to a young seven or eight-year-old Gabe Carey, which goes without saying I recommend this particularly for young kids who are without much to play that’s age-appropriate these days.
Between the stellar voice-acting performances, beautifully stylized graphics, ludicrous comedic appeal, I endlessly find it difficult to believe that this game, which was Kickstarted for little over $20,000 could out-innovate many games I’ve played which cost millions of dollars to produce. There’s something remarkable about a game that can do so much with so little finances backing it. Nonetheless, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a game I’ll remember for years to come, and I can’t help but think that, in a few years, I’ll revisit the title for a nostalgic getaway.
If you’re in the mood to interact with an illogical Saturday morning cartoon, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is the game for you. However, if you’re seeking something with a more serious tone, offering controls that don’t make you remorsefully curse aloud to yourself, you may want to hold off on Octodad because, while it’s a good game, it’s not for everyone.
Game : Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Developer : Young Horses
Platforms : PC / MAC / Linux / PS4(soon)
Price : $14.99