Developer / Publisher: Young Horses, Inc.
Platform: PC / Mac / Linux via Steam; PS4 via PSN (Reviewed)
Price: US: $14.99; EU: €13.99; UK: £11.99
The idea of an Octopus dressing up in a wedding tuxedo, with bow tie and top hat, then walking up the isle, to marry the woman me loves may be a difficult concept to get your head around. Well you’ll need to, as this is the opening chapter to the bizarrely oddball, Saturday morning kids TV, cartoon style story that is Octodad: Dadliest Catch. The wedding is just the start when you continue after the opening credits featuring an incredibly catchy theme tune, living your life as a loving husband and father. Dealing with all the trappings that it involves from keeping your unsuspecting wife and children happy and your secret safe, which is far harder than you can imagine given the following…
The first thing you may be asking yourself are the logistics of an cephalopod dressing in a suit with a panchant for collecting neck ties (hidden throughout the levels). His limbs are each made up of two tentacles, which allow for a surprising amount of flexibility in movement and dexterity. This game actively uses the PlayStation 4 Camera and is one of only two PlayStation4 games that allows you to dust off your under used PlayStation Move Controllers. It can be played with a single or dual PlayStation Move Wand[s] but works better when a single Wand is used in tandem with a PlayStation Move Navigation Controller. This was the means I used first play through and anyone who joined me for my live streams can testified I found it a struggle at to begin with. The bottom triggers for each controller are assigned separately to the leg tentacles, holding a Trigger actives the limb and using the Navigation Controller’s Analogue Stick to move it in to position. To start off with learning to walk is fairly simple by alternating each trigger and pointing the Analogue Stick in the direction you want to go. The control of an arm is a done via the PlayStation Move wand and is aimed around the screen, objects that can be suckered are given a coloured highlighting, pressing the Move Button attaches the object. From this point they can be manipulated for use like using keys to open locks or by swinging the wand around you can throw things. This last action is vial in certain parts of the game and takes a fair bit of practice to do. As did trying to climb ladders via aiming the legs, which frustrated me no end but also made me laugh at my own incompetence.
The controls are exceptionally frustrating but equally amusing, original and rewarding, the game does play easier with a Dual Shock 4 and there’s no denying it. The Dual Shock 4 controls have also improved from the original demo I played previously, which was much needed to minimise annoyance.
Story wise this game is silly to say the least but through out it becomes really heart warming, and is genuinely funny right to the final credits. For an indie developer I’m really impressed by how well written script is and the excellent voice acting, the noise of Octodad’s suckers, and his Dr Zoiberg sounding (subtitled) responses are as lovely, as they are amusing. Each level has specific theme and captures the life of a parent trying to be the best dad he can, even if he has tentacles and “No one suspects a thing”. Except the games surprise bad guy, who is out to get Octodad and reveal his hidden identity. Trying to do the shopping, take the kids around the aquarium or doing household chores all feel real and are deliberately challenging.
There are plenty of hidden trophies for completing specific tasks which add to replay value. It took me about 3 hours to complete using the PlayStation Move controls, but does have plenty of reason to return, to tackle all the activities required for 100% Trophy completion. Due to it’s length and low cost it doesn’t feature a Platinum Trophy but it’s very funny watch other peoples reactions trying to play it. With this in mind there’s an utterly bizarre co-op mode, which should be a mandatory part of team building exercise, as it requires 2-4 players to work together controls Octodad. A massive plus for Octodad: Dadliest Catch is that it’s a family friendly title, well worth picking up.
I should give a warning as I know that it’s not for everyone because of the cartoony visual style and frustrating controls. For me due to it’s original concept, use of PlayStation Move and the fact it made me grin from ear to ear and genuinely belly laugh (something videogames rarely do) I’d recommend it.
I so hope this isn’t the last we see of Octodad as I truly feel Young Horses Inc could serialise this as a collection of downloadable episodes. Given the fact the PC version allows levels to be created and shared with the community I hope to see more on PlayStation Network.
Review code and screen shots for PS4 supplied by Developers.