Undoubtedly, the best part of PAX is the opportunity to recharge your games blogger batteries, so to speak. After a certain amount of time observing the constant ebb and flow of anticipation and disappointment during the rest of the year, you no longer let yourself look forward to anything. But come PAX time, a stroll through the Indie Megabooth has the power not just to restore faith in the creative direction of the industry but also to find the gems that allow us to become fanboys again. This year, that game for me was Octodad: Dadliest Catch, a PC/Mac/Linux game expected sometime in 2013.
Sitting down to Octodad: Dadliest Catch, I was immediately struck by the pleasant calm brought by the game's aesthetic. The typeface and music's gentle lilt remind me of the retro-inspired look of the original The Sims. It works well with the theme of domesticity, as the protagonist and titular character Octodad seeks not just to live a normal every day life but also to hide his status as a sea crustacean from his friends and family. And therein lies the premise. The challenge in Octodad is entirely in the physics -- players control his wild and unwieldy arms in a myriad of everyday tasks while avoiding accidents (knocking over vases, accidentally hitting one of his children) that will give away his cephalopod secret. The effect is not unlike trying to play out your own life while completely drunk.
It's a good thing they had only two levels to show at PAX, because I'm pretty sure my delighted shrieks were starting to draw a crowd. If you're at PAX and get a chance, stop by booth #674 and show developer Young Horses some love. You can support the game by voting up their Greenlight page to Octodad: Dadliest Catch on Steam, or play the original by downloading it for free from their website.