If you have a heart and a playful sense of humor, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is going to bring a big smile to your face. At its core, it is a video game physics experiment full of mini games that perfectly compliment the lighthearted story.
To be honest, learning the mechanics of the game were frustrating. Moving Octodad’s legs independently with R2 and L2 were definitely the best design approach. The pressure applied to the shoulder buttons dictates how far each leg stretches. Earlier levels – such as Octodad’s home and the grocery store – were not too difficult to maneuver around, but later levels within the aquarium definitely tested my patience. In addition to that, if Octodad ever got stuck and the graphics began to clip, then things would get dicey.
When you play Octodad: Dadliest Catch and start feeling this frustration, there is one very important thing to remember: the challenge of mastering the motions of Octodad adds to the overall lasting appeal of the game. Your first run through of the game can be completed in 2 to 3 hours. Octodad is a short game, but this is not the type of game that is supposed to be played for 20 or 30 hours. This is the kind of game that you take in bite sized pieces so you can enjoy the silliness of an Octopus pretending to be a man (something he’s been able to accomplish for over a span of ten years).
Friends and family who don’t play games at all will be hooked as they watch Octodad destroy his own kitchen by grabbing a jug of milk and spilling it all over the place. There is such a campy, cartoon feeling to Octodad: Dadliest Catch, which gives the game a resounding quality that makes you care about the character.
In the bits of frustration I would have with getting stuck in the environment, or unsuccessfully completing certain tasks, Octodad, as a character, still resonated with me. He is like one of your favorite Saturday morning cartoon characters that you watch and root for. You feel bad when his wife misunderstands him. You laugh when he speaks in blurbs to his kids as they ask him questions that every parent must answer. To go along with the Saturday morning cartoon comparison, the theme song for the game is one of the best you will ever hear.
To enhance the single player campaign, developer Young Horses added a nice amount of depth to the game. There are three different difficulties, a collection of hidden ties you can find, and a co-op mode that is completely bonkers. Co-op can be played in a straightforward manner where one player controls the arms and the other controls the legs. Turning on the roulette mode makes the roles change randomly after a task is completed and causes a ton of pleasant chaos. There is also a “time attack” mode where you can play a level and try to beat the best times of the developers. I will warn you now, their completion times are insane. All of these bonuses give the game a great amount of replay value for the $15 price tag.
Indie games are alive and well on the PlayStation 4. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is another example of a small game that can make a big impact on Sony’s latest console.