Game Review: Octodad: Dadliest Catch [PS4/Steam/Mac/Linux]
Like every dedicated husband and father, Octodad is always trying to do his best for his children and be the most caring and thoughtful husband for his misguided wife. Whether it’s strutting down the aisle at his wedding, performing chores around the house or taking his family to the aquarium, Octodad has his own unique way of performing everyday tasks. Many in the gaming community have already seen YouTube videos showcasing the hilarious physics and comedic tone which Octodad: Dadliest Catch brings to the forefront in every second of gameplay and now the hit PC title has been released for the PlayStation 4.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch sees you taking on the role of an octopus who has managed to convince everyone, except from one man, that he is human. The tasks you are set seem relatively simple but with the way you control Octodad the results often have you laughing out loud, but also clenching your fist in frustration. There is no campaign story besides the overarching hunt between a Chef, who knows Octodad’s secret, and Octodad himself which occasionally sees you having to fend off the Chef and other threats later in the game.
With O:DC being a low-budget indie title you may not be expecting much in terms of sound quality, but the audio provides additional laughter and is very well constructed. As the main character constantly blurbing and slipping everywhere, the slapstick noises are pleasing whenever you slip on a banana skin or crash into the fruit section in the supermarket. The voice actors do a good enough job, with the Chef performing an almost fake French accent which is surely just for comedy value. In addition to the great sound effects, O: DC does feature a fantastic introduction song which you can hear just after you complete the wedding section. It is something which you’ll be humming for days.
One of the finest parts of O: DC is just how pretty the game looks and, for a change, the game doesn’t prove to be graphically powerful on the PS4. What makes the game so pleasing on the eye is the bright and ‘in your face’ colours which make O: DC feel as though you are bringing a comic book to life, minus the cell shading. Octodad’s bright yellow complexion is always the focal point throughout the entire game, but the environments compliment the overall colour palette very well. There is one section in a latter level where the lighting is very poor and this can harm your experience of this section. This is only one small section of the game however and there is definitely a bigger problem which O: DC constantly suffers from.
Controls in games can often make or break your overall experience. First and third-person shooters mostly have the same control setup, as do racing games and various other game genres. With the unique idea of O: DC and how it controls, it feels like nothing I have ever played before. With the controls which Young Horses have decided to go for, you often find yourself being drawn out of this laughter-filled experience and concentrating on the negatives rather than the positives.
While there is a co-op aspect, I would recommend playing this game in singleplayer as it is far simpler playing on your own. To control Octodad’s movements, you use L2 and R2 to take control of his ‘legs’ and use the thumbsticks to move these ‘legs’ where you want them to go to. As the game progresses you have to manoeuvre over various structures which are frustrating and rage-inducing. The other part of the game’s controls involve using the left thumbstick to control the direction of Octodad’s arm and the right thumbstick controls which height the arm can reach. It’s easy to see what Young Horses have tried to create with the controls in the game, but while the controls may seem to make sense in the designer’s head, it doesn’t result in an easy system for the final game.
These controls ruin what could have potentially been a wonderful and enjoyable experience as everything else about O: DC is light-hearted and humorous. The difficulties, which are brought on by the controls, are evident from the moment you take control of Octodad and continue to be as difficult throughout the entire game. I can imagine many who were anticipating the release of O: DC will play through some of this 4 hour campaign and never return. It is a huge shame as every other aspects of the game are lovable and refreshing, but these positives are often overshadowed by the terrible controls.
As suggested by the manic manner of Octodad’s movement, the humour is brilliant throughout. Although the protagonist doesn’t utter a word of English, the way in which Octodad’s attitude is explained ends up being wonderfully done. If you are easily amused or are a very patient person, O:DC will appeal to you in abundance as it’s hilarious at times, but the controls detract quality from this title which will affect many players. In order to offer some replay value there are 3 ties which you can collect in each level and the trophies are amusing to collect too. With the game only offering bronze trophies for PlayStation owners, they are relatively simple but again the controls make some frustrating to obtain.
In terms of creating a unique gaming experience, Octodad: Deadliest Catch certainly does its utmost to remain long in the memory. With hilarious dialogue, comedic ragdoll physics and a comic-like colour palette it, has everything in its design to be the perfect comedy game. The only thing holding this title back is the controls which can be extremely frustrating for those who are looking for a smooth experience. You can see what the Young Horses were hoping to accomplish with Octodad: Dadliest Catch and to a certain extent it works but, then again, it becomes almost impossible to climb a set of stairs. If you enjoy comedy in games then this is definitely for you, but if you have a short fuse or are easily frustrated you may want to steer clear of Octodad: Dadliest Catch.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is available now on the PS4 via the PlayStation Store or Steam for £11.99.