Quantcast
Review: Octodad: Dadliest Catch - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Octodad: Dadliest Catch  




Review: Octodad: Dadliest Catch photo
Review: Octodad: Dadliest Catch

12:00 PM on 01.30.2014

Not octobad


An interesting exercise in game design is to identify assumptions about the genre or medium in general, then question those assumptions. One such assumption that most make is that control should feel natural and unobtrusive as the player's interface with the game. Octodad: Dadliest Catch challenges that idea, making awkward control central to the gameplay.

While the tasks in Octodad would be mundane in almost any other setting with a typical control scheme, they can be challenging or thought-provoking to an octopus dressed up as a human. By requiring a certain amount of care and effort, things like mowing the lawn or visiting the grocery store are made fun, though they can dip into the realm of frustration at times.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4)
Developer: Young Horses, Inc.
Publisher: Young Horses, Inc.
Release: January 30, 2014 (Linux, Mac, PC), March 2014 (PlayStation 4)
MSRP: $14.99 ($11.99 until February 6)
Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit

Octodad is just a typical guy, trying to make his way through life with his wife and two children, except that he is an octopus and he has the additional burden of keeping that a secret. Dressed in his snazzy suit, most people are none the wiser about his true identity, but suspicions rise when he is spotted acting strange.

In addition to mouse and keyboard control, full gamepad support is in place. I ended up preferring playing with a controller, but both work on the same principles. By default, players control three of Octodad's limbs: two legs and one arm. By manipulating their positions in space, Octodad can walk, run, climb, grab objects, and do all of the things a normal human being does. The kicker is that each limb is generally controlled one at a time, and they are all held together with an elasticity that often sends them off in unintended directions.

The result is almost like handing a non-gamer a controller and putting him in the thick of a first-person shooter; there is a lot of flailing around and looking at the ground. It takes a certain amount of brain rewiring to be able to make Octodad move as intended, even when the necessary sequence of actions is cognitively clear.

In any other game, these would be complaints, but Octodad is specifically about being uncomfortable and learning how to function in a body that is almost alien. For some, it may be frustrating, but for those willing to put in the effort, it is ultimately rewarding to learn how to function as an octopus in society. By the end, players should be able to walk competently without knocking things over or punching kids in the face too often.

Being an octopus also affords Octodad some benefits that humans cannot reap, like the ability to squeeze into tight spots or to stretch out over large gaps. Young Horses built this awkward, difficult control scheme, and then crafted environments that take full advantage of its physics.

Where the previous title was more of a proof of concept on the control scheme, Dadliest Catch delves a bit more deeply into Octodad lore. Revealed over the course of the campaign are how Octodad and his wife Scarlett met, when he decided to start masquerading as a human, and why the neighborhood sushi chef wants to kill him so badly. Of course, how he and Scarlett managed to have two human children is jokingly brought up but never seriously addressed.

Truly, Dadliest Catch realizes how silly its concept is, and never takes itself too seriously. The writing fits the mood perfectly. Some of the off-hand remarks and terrible marine biology puns are worthy of a few laughs, but the general absurdity of the situation in its entirety is the biggest source of humor throughout the game.

The silliness is conveyed well through the graphics and sound as well. Octodad lives in a colorful cartoon world that serves as a welcome contrast to the muted palettes of more realistic games. The soundtrack is similarly upbeat and peppy, and it features a main theme that will be stuck in my head for years.

Though it looks great, there are occasionally hiccups throughout in which the graphics lock up for several seconds at a time. It is a minor nuisance for most of the game, but one area in particular features spawning urchins that exist in number too great for the system to handle. Calculating the physics and rendering that many objects is just too processor intensive, and the experience becomes screen-punchingly unplayable with normal settings. Even after dropping the graphic effects and resolution to their lowest levels, the World of Kelp plods along with frequent framerate drops. That it ends with a fairly difficult climb up a jungle gym exacerbates the issue; ascending a fair way up just to fall due to graphics locking up is intensely frustrating.

Another potential sticking point for some might be the relatively short length of the story. Clocking in at about three hours, it ends before the central conceit starts to wear thin. Dadliest Catch does about as much as it can with its octopus limb control scheme, but it (ironically) would not have the legs to last much longer. I personally had no issue with the length, but those who like to calculate hours of entertainment per dollar may take exception that the main story finishes not very long after it begins.

Alleviating that a bit are some optional objectives for those who want to keep playing. Each level hides three custom neckties for Octodad to wear, each requiring thorough exploration, tricky climbing, or some interaction with the environment. Additionally, each level has a par time to beat, opening it up for potential speed running.

Also included are Steam Workshop support, so users can create their own levels, and a hilarious cooperative mode that allows up to four players to control one or more limbs, requiring an unusual form of teamwork and resulting in an even more awkward octopus than usual. Despite the short length of the campaign, there is enough in place for diehard enthusiasts to keep going for as long as they want.

In the end, I would not be surprised to hear that the Octodad community is thriving years down the road. It exudes a certain weirdness and charm that makes it stand out from a lot of other titles out there, and there are tools in place for it to live on past the point when the credits start to roll. Though it has some issues with framerate drops and its approach to control is definitely not for everybody, Dadliest Catch kept a smile on my face for most of its duration.



THE VERDICT - Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Reviewed by Darren Nakamura

8 /10
Great: Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash. Check out more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.





timeline following:
Octodad: Dadliest Catch



10:45 AM on 06.26.2014
Free Octodad: Dadliest Catch DLC 'Shorts' coming late summer

Since its release in January, Octodad: Dadliest Catch has sold over 250,000 copies, according to developer Young Horses. The awkward octopus-in-dad's-clothing simulator is a lot of fun for those who take the time to really l...more



7:45 PM on 04.28.2014
Go behind the scenes with Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is peppered with some of the most ridiculous scenes I've ever seen in my 22-odd years of gaming, and that's why I love it. To celebrate its launch on PS4, PlayStation and Young Horses have released a ...more



1:30 PM on 04.18.2014
Octodad: Dadliest Catch finally coming to PS4 next week

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is coming to PS4 on April 22. Thankfully, it won't cost an arm, an arm, an arm, an arm and a leg. Just $15. And 20% off of that in its first week for PlayStation Plus members. And it's not a straight ...more



4:00 PM on 02.20.2014
Octodad aiming for PlayStation 4 release in April

Young Horses remarked on Twitter that its goal is to release Octodad: Dadliest Catch on PlayStation 4 in April. Some of us were expecting a bit sooner than that, but "There was never a definite date, or delay," according to t...more



1:00 PM on 01.30.2014
All the Octodad: Dadliest Catch ties and their locations

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a pretty great game for those who take the time to re-learn how to walk. One of the neat extra features are hidden neckties throughout the game. In each level (except for "Shark Naked"), three ties ...more



10:45 AM on 01.30.2014
Your doctor might recommend Octodad: Dadliest Catch

The strange octopus-dressed-as-a-human simulator Octodad: Dadliest Catch releases today on Steam, the Humble Store, and GOG.com, but how do you know if Octodad: Dadliest Catch is right for you? The informative medical video ...more



10:30 AM on 01.16.2014
Octodad launches on January 30 for Windows, Mac, & Linux

Octodad: Dadliest Catch, the cephalopod-masquerading-as-human simulator (we've all been there), is set to release on January 30 on Steam, the Humble Store, and GOG.com. The PlayStation 4 launch is expected sometime in March....more



11:00 PM on 11.13.2013
From PC to console: Octodad dev on making the transition

In recent years, large publishers have taken steps towards embracing titles made by independent developers, and in many cases it has paid off incredibly well. With the new next-gen systems on the horizon, a number of indie de...more



1:00 PM on 10.22.2013
Get hitched in Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch had a wonderful showing at PAX Prime 2013. I went in with modest expectations coming off of the admittedly rough-around-the-edges first game and this follow-up ended up being among my favorite games o...more




Indie

6:00 PM on 09.30.2014
Matador is now Brigador, still a cool looking mech shooter

I decided to do some checking on Matador, which won me over early this year. This proved confusing, briefly, as some legal issues have pushed the isometric mech shooter to be renamed Brigador. I kind of miss the name, but al...more



4:00 PM on 09.30.2014
U Craft seeks to fill the Minecraft void on Wii U

There might not be Minecraft for Wii U, but there is U Craft. Close enough? This is in the works at Nexis Games, the studio behind some games I'm also not familiar with -- do BrickBlast U! or The Dance of the Damned ring any ...more



1:00 PM on 09.30.2014
I had a good time watching Monsterum scare people

I talked yesterday about how horror games are difficult to demo at a convention; you need to block out so much noise and activity around you to be really immersed in what you're playing. Team Junkfish had no such problems as...more



View all Indie






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more