Octodad: Dadliest Catch PS4 Review
Publisher: Young Horses Developer: Young Horses Genre: Adventure Players: 1-4 Age Rating: 7+
Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One, Wii U, Vita
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a very humorous and cartoonish game, one that oozes with charm. The game focuses on the dapper Octodad, a quirky and rather wriggly character who is hiding a very unusual, yet obvious, secret…
The charm and humour of the game comes from its storyline, and how all the other characters in the world in which Octodad inhabits, cannot see him for what he really is, even though it is obvious to anyone playing the game. The story follows Octodad and his human family – his wife, Scarlet, and two children, Stacey and Tommy – as they go about doing mundane, normal family things, from the moment you have to drag Octodad out of bed in the morning. The mundane is made hilarious as the family have a barbecue, visit the shops, and then head off to the aquarium, all while Octodad goes to great lengths to hide his secret, causing destruction and mayhem in his wake. The start of the game begins by introducing Octodad and his wife through flashback on their wedding day, setting up the tone of the game and using the opening as a simple tutorial segment to help players adjust to using some very interesting controls.
Players do not move Octodad in the same manner that you would do with characters from other games, which would usually consist of the player using the left control stick to move those characters forward, backwards, left and right, with other buttons used for other types of movements, such as jump. The swaying motion of Octodad greatly resembles the movement of air-dancer balloons that car dealers use in America, only players get to control the limbs, moving Octodad’s arms and legs freely on his body and making him walk using the left control stick and right control stick for each arm and leg respectively. It takes quite a while to adapt to the movements, and it may be that the controls cannot be fully learned at all, being quite finicky, though they can be learnt enough for players to get through the game.
Thankfully the levels are merciful, with the game designers having been lenient on the difficulty, keeping in mind how frustrating the control scheme could be to some players. Some parts of the game can be tricky to get through though, such as sections where Octodad will need to walk over narrow platforms, or when he needs to escape an enemy, though the majority of the game is simple enough, with Octodad mostly having to pick things up and use it in some way or another. The game is very forgiving with its straightforwardness, allowing the player to fully immerse themselves in the experience and giving them space to focus on controlling the main character.
The game is very linear, with Octodad being given set tasks to complete, though this is welcome considering how Octodad is controlled. Players would not want to be wandering around aimlessly, given the wriggly control system. The game does offer much variety in its gameplay; at the aquarium, Octodad can play mini-games and give the prizes to his wife, as gifts in order to make up for his shady behaviour, and there is also a section where you can use Octodad as the species he really is – an octopus, if that wasn’t obvious! – and he can swim around a fish tank, avoiding obstacles and enemies along the way. In a couple of extras, you can control Octodad during his first date with Scarlet, or at the hospital, where humorous antics ensue. All the environments are interactive, with Octodad being able to pick up almost everything and stumbling to and fro as he tries to act casual and fit in.
Some sections have you sneaking past biologists and fishermen, and donning disguises in order not to be discovered. The aim of the game is to keep Octodad’s secret hidden, and whilst completing his tasks, he must try to act as human as possible, in order to avoid suspicion and capture. There are also boss fights in the game, with the main boss being a snarly chef known as Chef Fujimoto, who holds a grudge against Octodad ever since he stowed away on his boat; a piece of the story revealed in a flashback. Keeping in mind how Octodad controls, the boss fights are also easy to accomplish, and the last fight in the game makes for a very satisfying ending.
The animation is very cartoonish, as mentioned earlier, though it is not the best quality. The movement of other characters is very stiff, and the game design is basic, though this is a minor nitpick and certainly doesn’t detract from any fun the game offers. The characters themselves are also quite shallow and show only few signature traits, though it is amusing watching how they are able to interact with Octodad, seeing as he only speaks blurbish! It is yet another witty moment to note about the game.
Another great thing to mention are the references found in the game, with mentions of game developer Thatgamecompany (That Milk Company, in the game); a nod towards Minecraft; and a reference to famous YouTuber Pewdiepie (Or Pewdie Pie, as is in the game). It is extra details like this that makes a game all the more appealing, taking note of what is popular and creating Easter Eggs for players to find and enjoy.
However, with its short play time, the game is probably a little bit too overpriced at £11.49, though with the amount of content, including the main game, a secret level to find and then two extra short games, it takes the play time up to around 3-4 hours. With what is presented, perhaps it will be enough to convince people to pay for the game at that price range.
Overall the game is highly delightful to play and once the controls have been somewhat mastered, it will be difficult to stop playing once you know what you are doing. With its humorous storyline and endearing characters, bright and cartoonish design, lots of variety on offer, a rewarding ending to the adventure and with the emphasis being on gameplay, this is one game that should certainly be given a play through, and perhaps even should be considered for a cartoon TV series, as it certainly makes for an interesting plot idea.