By Billy Tuite:
“Octodad,” a popular independent PC game, made an unlikely hero out of a flappy yellow octopus back in 2010. Four years later, the beloved sea creature/family man has returned for more inelegant goofiness in the sequel, “Octodad: Dadliest Catch.”
Developed by Young Horses, a team of DePaul University graduates, “Octodad” puts players in the role of a suit-and-tie clad cephalopod father who tries to fit in with his 1950s-inspired nuclear human family, often with clumsy results. Luckily for Octodad, the entire household seems to be oblivious to his distinctly inhuman appearance.
Players must control Octodad to perform an unusual selection of tasks, ranging from the mundane such as picking up the groceries or mowing the lawn to the outrageous like stealthily escaping from an aquarium without being detected by scientists, all the while trying not to reveal his octopus nature. Even Octodad’s most typical adventures are made extremely difficult by the fact that he handles with the grace of a deer on ice.
To properly simulate the awkwardness of an octopus attempting to carry out human tasks, the controls are deliberately designed to be clunky. This silly gameplay hook along with the already absurd premise will have most gamers in stitches as Octodad flops about like a slippery ragdoll. Others, however, may be endlessly frustrated by the unwieldy, trial-and-error nature of the game’s physics-based puzzles.
Fortunately, “Octodad”’s witty and charming writing redeems most of its frustrating qualities. The story also conveniently wraps up in a succinct three to four hours before the novelty of the gameplay wears off.
The game is also not very resource-intensive, so students should be able to play it smoothly on their UW–Stout laptops. From my experience, Mac users may need to tinker with the in-game “graphics” settings.
“Octodad: Dadliest Catch” has its fair share of interface flaws, but there’s simply no other game like it on the market. Watching a suit-wearing octopus stumble through a grocery store is worth the $15 price of admission alone.
“Octodad: Dadliest Catch” is available on Steam for all computer operating systems and is set to release for Playstation 4 in March.
My rating: 4/5 stars