Being a dad isn’t easy. With a loving wife and two rowdy children to care for, there’s little time for relaxing. “Mow the lawn” they say, “I want chocolate milk!” they scream. A normal dad might have issues juggling so many responsibilities at once. Fortunately, this is no ordinary dad. This is Octodad.
Masquerading as a doting father, you assume the role of an octopus deep undercover amongst human kind for reasons unknown. It is your first and foremost duty to remain covertly placed amongst the clever guise of your suburban family, which is harder said than done when you’re moustache is formed from two of your 8 tentacles.
Dadliest Catch picks up with our super sleuth of a hero preparing for his big day. He’s getting married to the woman of his dreams, and the game uses this special occasion to introduce you to one of the biggest features in the game. You’re given full control of Octodad’s arms and legs, toggling between controlling each set to move around or interact with the environment. If you’ve ever played the old Flash game QWOP you’ll understand instantly what kind of mayhem is waiting to ensue here, but for those who haven’t the only way I could draw a comparison would to describe it as like watching a drunk trying to wait tables. Expect everything to be broken and everyone involved to look confused or covered in questionable substances.
And that’s the magic of Octodad. You’re put into the mundane world of suburban life and asked to complete menial daily tasks most wouldn’t even think twice about, all the while having such a huge handicap that comes from having tentacles instead of opposable thumbs. Take the morning routine for example, where your fatherly responsibilities include fixing yourself and your family their morning beverages. Sounds simple enough, right? Well that soon escalates when you accidentally slap your daughter with the milk carton, and any attempts made to apologise see you wipe out every table and bookstand in tentacles reach. Breakfast is ruined, but your loving family are none the wiser to your espionage.
The game progresses, placing you in familiarly sterile environments that are just waiting to feel the squishy embrace of your flailing limbs and for the first half of Octodad things feel great. It’s entertaining beyond all reason to watch someone be so destructive whilst attempting to mow the lawn or navigate a grocery store’s narrow aisles.
However, an hour or two into the later sequences and things seem to start slipping. The levels start to become more bizarre, and considering you’re playing a game about an octopus pretending to be a man, that’s saying something. And it’s at this point where the game loses some of its momentum. Whereas before you were laughably failing to pour coffee before, later goals have you sneaking past fishermen and marine biologists in a number of stealth-based sections. It feels like an unnecessary attempt to shake things up and give the player extra content, when I’d wager having more ‘familiar’ environments and generic locales would have been enough to keep me more that satisfied with my cephalopodan antics.
Octodad isn’t a huge game by any means, and your average player will likely clear the story in two or three hours. This might be enough to put some off getting it, but with the addition of the Steam workshop, there’s plenty of scope for user-made levels to increase the longevity of the game. Already, we’re seeing faithful remakes of classic levels to wiggle through with your gelatinous limbs in tow, and with the community usually being the creative buggers that they are, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a whole host of content to keep you occupied.
There’s a great deal of humour to be found in Octodad, whether it’s a chuckle because you just climbed into the trolley of an unsuspecting grocery shopper, or from the casual complaints from your wife as you accidentally mow down her precious flower bed. Its appeal rests solely in its absurdity, and despite its decline near the end of the game, Octodad’s humour and gameplay are spot on making this a solid entry to the ‘Octopus Simulation Game’ market.
This game was reviewed using the PC version.
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