Video games usually fall into specific categories. There are first person shooters, action adventure, role playing, puzzle, fighting, etc. Then you have a game like Octodad: Dadliest Catch, which doesn’t exactly fit into any known genre that I can think of. This game is so out there that it may need its own genre, although I don’t exactly know what you would call it.
Octodad is about an octopus who pretends to be a human. He has a human family and does routine “dad stuff” like barbecuing, mowing the lawn, food shopping and going on trips. The octopus’ family seems blissfully unaware that he isn’t a human being. With the exception of the main antagonist, no one else seems to notice this either even though it’s pretty obvious that this a cephalopod in a suit and tie.
The challenge of the game comes from just trying to do normal tasks. Yeah, making a pot of coffee seems simple enough, but when you’re an octopus it’s a bit more complicated.This is also where a lot of the game’s humor comes from as well since you’ll frequently make a giant mess of things as you try to complete errands or chores. The octopus’ almost drunken movements also provide a good chunk of the hilarity.
The silliness is what this game really has going for it. All sense of logic is thrown out of the window for the purpose of making this game as fun as possible. I mean, the main character is clearly not human yet everyone treats him like one. I say this in the most respectful way possible but I want whatever the guys at Young Horses were ingesting while conceptualizing this game. As far as the premise goes — playing as an octopus who is pretending to be a human — this is insanely genius stuff.
With that said, this game isn’t without its flaws. Moving around the world can be a nuisance since you have to individually move the octopus’ two legs. Walking a straight line is a bit of a challenge and climbing up stairs or trying to stay on a platform can become exercises in patience. This game is also physics based which means that there is a certain luck factor tossed in which also makes things annoying. You have to concentrate kind of hard at times just to move from place to place.
There were a few other problems as well, such as there is no real way to control the camera. You can pan it up or down but other than that you’re left at the mercy of it. This lead to some parts where it was hard to tell what I was doing since an object would be blocking my view. The game can also be a bit buggy at times and I had to restart some missions because either a character that was supposed to follow me got stuck in the environment or an object I had to use would literally fly off the world.
Design wise, this game keeps things simple. I played this game on the PlayStation 4 but graphically speaking it wasn’t exactly a powerhouse. This is fine since that’s not what this game is about. The art style is appropriately cartoony and the soundtrack also has a whimsical feel to it. The sound design is really good too and I enjoyed the squishy sounds that Octodad makes when he walks around the world.
At around two hours, this game is just as long as it needed to be. Though I had problems with the control scheme at times, I still enjoyed my time with the game. Even in the age of super powerful consoles that pump out graphically intense titles it makes me happy to see imaginative and quirky titles like this. Octodad isn’t a game that’s for everyone but it is unique and for that I applaud it.