Octodad: Dadliest Catch – As We Play

Format – PlayStation 4

Octodad is a game that needs to not be taken seriously. I know that may seem obvious, but it needs stressing. I’m hesitant to say it, but Octodad: Dadliest catch almost feels like Pewdie Bait. What is Pewdie bait, you may ask; it’s a term coined by YouTuber TotalBiscuit to describe games that appear to have been created with a high hope of it being played by popular YouTube channels due to its wacky antics. Octodad has that air about it.

The game kicks things off with what appears to be my wedding – already having trouble relating to this character. Oh, wait, he’s late for his own wedding – suddenly relating far more.

The controls are, predictably, quite hilarious. It’s near impossible to describe controls like this via the medium of text, but have you ever tried playing an FPS game with your usual control scheme flipped? That’s pretty much the entire game of Octodad. Sure, you may partially adapt to it over time, but there will still be many times when you somehow forget how to legs.

The best recommendation I can give from the start of the game is turn off transparency. By default the game makes it so your body goes transparent when other items, including your own body, get in the way. Turn that option off in the menu straight away. It increases the humour tenfold. It can make the game ten times harder, but if you’re not playing Octodad for the sheer stupidity of the controls they you really have no business playing it at all.

On to the third level of the game and it has become apparent that nobody knows I’m an octopus. Part of me was assuming this was some elaborate ruse that everybody else was in on, but seems I’m playing an aquatic creature with the stealth abilities of James Bond. James Pond, if you will. I’m not knocking that, because I’m happy that this is happening.

007 never had trouble with stairs, however. Seriously. Stairs in this game are the devil. THE DEVIL.

The backdrop of the world does have a lot of wonderful detail. Cthulu making a guest appearance was a little on the nose, but there’s an equal chance that I was one of the only people who recognised it (though I am aware we are on the Internet right now). There does appear to be a lot of gaming/meme/Internet references floating around the game. Even the trophies for the game are referencing something you’re likely to recognise if you’re the game’s target demographic.

Funnily enough, remember when I mentioned Pewdie Bait and its definition earlier? Octodad has a brand of cookies named “Total Biscuits” in the grocery shop level. Think that just earned the game it’s official Pewdie Bait gold star.

Nearly three hours in now and it’s beginning to bother me that Octodad seems to only have six legs. Wouldn’t consider myself an expert on octopodes, but can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that is two fries short of a Happy Meal.

Final level has become unexpectedly challenging. This isn’t why I sat down to play Octodad, Octodad! If challenge was my goal I’d be re-completing Guitar Hero 2 on Expert, not role-playing as a familially-inclined cephalopod. It’s a very unforgiving platforming section, which feels rather out of place given the tone of the game. Seemed like it was almost meant to be taken seriously. I did not expect to be screaming at the television in anger during this game. For comedic effect, yes, but not with genuine, teeth-clenching anger.

For scientific purposes a friend was mine was lured to the house with promises of Starburst to test the co-op mode. This mode is the same single player story mode, but each player controls different parts of Octodad with separate controllers. One can controls the legs while the other does the arms, or you can hit the Randomised Controls if you wish you friendship to end in a colourful array of blood and the yellow Starburst nobody ever wants to eat.

Is Octodad: Dadliest catch a bad game because of all this? No. Absolutely bloody not. For all the flaws, the anger, and Pewdie Baiting it’s a thoroughly enjoyable title. All Octodad ever promised to bring to the table was a wacky, crazy, utterly ridiculous physics based game where you are an octopus – who is also a father. They delivered 100% on that.

OHMYGODTHEREISATHEMESONG! I wish I could elaborate more on that, but that’s what was written in the notes from my playthrough for this section. I did write it five times for emphasis, so that should give some indication of how much happiness was being flung around the room when it kicked in.

You could likely complete the game in a little over four hours, but what is on offer is a high quality, unarguably stupid, product. If you do wind up playing this game, make sure to play it through to the end. The final line of dialogue in the game is gold. Pure gold. Left me smirking like a hyena in a steakhouse.

Areas for Improvement

  • For Thor’s sake add a checkpoint on that final platforming section
  • Maybe add some extra levels? Even if they’re DLC

Final Analysis

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a rare breed of game. It’s horrednously dumb, but highly polished. Unlike other rival games, like Goat Simulator, Octodad is a entertaining game covered in silly string. Rather than a ball of silly string that somebody wrote “GAME” on with a Sharpie.

Technical Competency: 8/10
Graphic/Sound Quality: 7/10

Network Stability: N/A

Overall: 7.5/10