Octodad: Dadliest Catch starts off as a slightly humorous joke, but it won’t take long for you to realize that the joke’s on you.
I’m all for novelty, innovation and originality, but if you can’t mesh all three concepts into something that is ultimately fun to play from start to finish, I’d rather just play a rehash of something I already love.
This is where my biggest challenge lies with reviewing Octodad objectively. I want to praise it for being original. I want to give it props for being humorous. I want to laud it for creating a frustrating control scheme that leads to some funny in-game moments. Unfortunately, I can only assign these accolades to the first half of the game.
Octodad does have frustrating controls that lead to some tense and even some hilarious moments early in the experience. But, the second half will see all this innovation squandered on supremely frustrating platforming sections that are way more annoying than fun.
As a father and a flawed soul on this earth, I absolutely loved Octodad as an analogy for how inadequate I often feel in the real world. Octodad deserves every bit of praise reviewers have given it for this facet of the game. However, the operative word in all this is “game.” Octodad would have been an excellent animated short, but it just doesn’t work overall in play.
I can’t really figure out why the developers felt they needed to add some of the frustrating platforming sections seen in the second half of the game. Maybe it was pressure from the outside to make Octodad “feel” more like a game and not an interactive animated short. Given some of the flack games like Gone Home took in the community, I can understand why developers might be inclined to do this.
In the end, It’s tough to fully recommend folks to pick up Octodad. As I said, the first half is magic, but I was definitely ready to just get it over with by the time I reached the end. There’s also probably some joy to be salvaged by playing the multiplayer with friends. Up to four friends can control a single leg and arm of the octopus. I could see some potentially hilarious experiences as you and four of your buddies fight to flop your suit-wearing octopus around the screen.