Game Review- Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Posted: February 2, 2014 in Game Reviews
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1607Well it’s been a while since I posted here, so hopefully this review shall suffice for that.  Developed by Young Horse Studios, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is definitely one of the most interesting games I have had the pleasure of coming across.    It is absolutely one of the silliest titles to reach the gaming community, yet underneath its ridiculously funny surface lies a rather deep and compelling message.  However, it is far from perfect.

In this game you play as every bodies favorite cephalopod/father, Octodad.  Octodad is simply your average joe, living in modern suburbia with his wife and kids, however there is one thing that separates him from your everyday-man.  He is an octopus, and as a result he holds the burden of disguising himself and hiding his identity from those around him, even his own family.  

This comedic premise is actually the very center of this game’s storyline, and a rather good one at that.  You go throughout the majority game performing the everyday mundane chores and other miscellaneous activities that an typical adult male would go through, except with ragdoll-like physics that come with being an octopus imitating a human being.  As a result, hilarity ensues.  Now this is a game where you can make the most of it.  It can either be tedious and frustrating or hysterical and silly depending on how you approach the gameplay.  If you go with the latter, you are left with a plethora of visual gags that will leave you chuckling.  On contrary, if you take it too seriously and try to wrestle with the controls too much, you’ll probably end up rather disappointed with the gameplay.  Also as a “normal human being” you must act one, and as a result if you do anything strange, like for example breaking the cart of bananas at the grocery store, in anybodies line of sight, their suspicion will go up.

The first half or so of the game revolves around doing said mundane tasks, and this is where the game thrives.  The simple act of making a cup of coffee becomes hilariously more difficult, and in the process you may end up inadvertently hitting one of your own kids.  However towards the end of the game, problems begin to occur.  The gameplay starts becoming more conventional rather than unique, where stealth missions and boss battles pop up, and both of which really detached me from the charm it had prior.  The problem with the conventional gameplay style is that it conflicts with Octodad’s rubber-like physics and as a result it creates a massive difficulty spike, leading to A LOT of deaths.  However, gameplay-wise these are honestly the only areas where it really screws itself over.

On a different note, the humor in this game is top-knotch.  Each character, minor or major, has something stupidly clever or charming to say, especially your wife and kids.  The visual gags and the humorous premise blend smoothly together, making it a humorous and charming experience from beginning to end.  The game manages to outdo many AAA titles in it’s reference-based humor in parts of the game, where it is refreshingly subtle rather than “in your face” like you will typically find in other games.  All I can really say to do the game justice, is that when it tries to be funny, it does an excellent job.

Unlike it’s predecessor, this game dives a bit into the backstory of Octodad, revealing how he met his lovely wife Scarlett, how he gained the suit that solidified his fool-proof disguise, and even how he earned the enemy that has been out for his life throughout the game.  Though it never really addresses how he got his kids, but instead just jokes about the surreality of it.  I guess it’s up to the fanfics to create the headcanon for that, but rest assured I won’t be there to see it.

In contrast, deep behind its blanket of cartoony humor, Octodad: Dadliest Catch actually displays a rather compelling message through its gameplay and storyline.  Octodad is simply trying to fit into the society around him, and goes to the extent of hiding his identity from everybody around him to pass as a human man.  This results in him gaining impostor syndrome, where he fears for the very day when those around him finds out who and what he truly is.  He does everything he does for his family, because he loves them more than anything else in this world, so everyday he puts on the masquerade of a human, in hopes that he may never lose them one day.  This is a rather compelling inner conflict, only directly addressed through Octodad’s body language and the subtext lying further beneath.  It’s a strange, yet fascinating phenomena that a game can have such a silly tone yet be so serious in its subtext.  In the end the theme of undying love, loyalty, and acceptance is brought forth to fix the problembrought by the inner conflict, making this subtext complete and compelling.  It is an absolute spectacle to behold.

Anyways, in short, I absolutely love this game.  It manages to do so much right by intentionally doing everything wrong, and it relishes in its own uniqueness.  That is why it’s ending levels were such disappointments, because they stepped away from what made this game so fun and hilarious in the beginning, and instead became frustratingly difficult in its mixed mess of conventional and unconventional gameplay.  However they are highly negligible in the end, because its accomplishments stand out far more than it’s short-comings.

Final Verdict: th

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a great game, and can be found on Steam for $15 and is available on PC and Mac , and later it will be available on console.  If you love silly, cartoony games, then this is a must-buy.



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