Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a physics based adventure where you control an octopus masquerading as a human father. Originally released in 2014 by Young Horses, the game is actually a sequel to “Octodad”, which was developed in 2011 before the official forming of Young Horses. Octodad, as I’ll refer to it, is very hard to explain properly, however, I shall do my best to do so for this review. I’ll be taking a look at the Nintendo Switch version, provided to me by Young Horses.
Let’s start with addressing the concept and controls. You’re pretending to be a human father while running from a chef who’s a war veteran. It’s not your typical story in a game, but it works in so many different ways. In Octodad, going about your life as an octopus is not very easy. You control each limb separately, which makes simple actions like walking around or mowing the lawn a bit of a chore, but not in a way that makes them uninteresting or not fun. The way controls feel are very subjective in games, but the way Octodad is designed means if you don’t enjoy them, you won’t enjoy the game. I, personally, have mixed feelings about the control style, it isn’t accessible to newcomers at all. However when you get used to it, it is fluid and fun as you get into all sorts of shenanigans. Because of the style, no two play-throughs feel the same, but your enjoyment of said play-through is rooted in whether or not you enjoy mastering games.
Octodad has a variety of different levels that feel interesting to explore such as Octodad’s back-yard, an aquarium, and a fishing boat. On a second play-through, such as mine, they can feel a bit “empty”. The joy of the levels come from figuring out solutions to your issue. Once you’ve beaten the game, the lock never changes but you always have the key. For those who enjoy a good easter egg hunt, there are many collectible ties for you to grab in each level, but they don’t really change a second play-through much. This leaves me wishing there was more variety, such as a New Game + mode. Octodad features a 2 player co-op mode, but I wasn’t able to test it for the review.
Octodad’s basic level design is alright. Each level and every section in them are designed to have multiple miniature puzzles and issues within them. Like I brought up before, this hurts replayability for me, but I know some will love playing and mastering it. Octodad’s sound design is brilliant from the blubs and blurbs Octodad produces himself to the sound effects of moving and hitting things. It’s all very satisfying, and it rarely gets annoying unless it’s deliberately designed to be. The music is oddly relaxing, and I would definitely listen to this to sleep or de-stress. The graphics do show their age, but I don’t believe this hurts the game too much. For a 2014 indie, it still looks relatively good today.
The humor is something I have a hard time explaining. The game prides itself by taking most of its characters entirely serious while Octodad and The Chef are played for laughs. This works well and jokes are usually played pretty well. Octodad loves its visual humor and laughable concepts. While I can’t necessarily call it bad, it can feel immature at times. That being said, it also genuinely puts a smile on your face. I can’t help but love how the game handles itself.
Alright to those who read my reviews, say it with me now, “The game’s length can be an issue for some”. This phrase feels like a pattern in these reviews now. My play-through was forty-one minutes long, less than a full hour isn’t great even for a second play-through. According to howlongtobeat.com the average play time is just under two and a half hours for a first play-through. The game is short and you definitely feel how short it is, and the collectable’s don’t do much to extend this either. I do enjoy smaller games, but this feels too small for me, a definite downside.
Overall, I enjoyed almost all the time I spent with Octodad. From concept, to gameplay, to music, it all just felt great to me. A fun, quirky little title for those looking for physics based challenges or a nice laugh on an afternoon. If you are a fan of shorter stuff or are looking for a good game for you to play with your kids, you can’t go wrong with Octodad: Dadliest Catch.
A Switch review copy was provided by the developer
supiroguy has awarded Octodad: Dadliest Catch The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval