Octodad: Dadliest Catch – Reviewed on PS4 | Gamerillaz

Octodad: Dadliest Catch – Reviewed on PS4

Octodad: Dadliest Catch – Reviewed on PS4
 

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Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a strange proposition; a slapstick adventure about an Octopus disguised as a man who is trying to navigate his way through day-to-day life while preserving his cover and dodging a psychotic chef who wants him dead. It's a game that places comedic moments above all else but is this a formula for sustainable gameplay? The answer, sadly, is no.

There's nothing like a coffee first thing in the morning. If you survive…

Let me go back in time a few months before we get down to the nitty gritty. I first got my hands on Octodad as a playable demo back at the PS4 Dublin Launch Event last November. Knowing little about the game I picked up the controller and, for the few minutes I spent with it, found myself thoroughly entertained and laughing out load at this bizarre character as he careened around the screen knocking over obstacles and tripping over his own tentacles. I left the event thinking that this game could indeed be something special and when I was asked to review Octodad: Dadliest Catch I jumped at the chance.

Oh, the regret.

I know love is blind but this is ridiculous!

Throughout Dadliest Catch you'll be placed in a number of situations that can vary from mundane everyday chores like mowing the lawn or buying groceries to a family day out to the Aquarium that culminates in stealth and action set pieces. However, no matter what you're doing the gameplay boils down to one of two things; trying to walk and trying to interact with objects. You see, as an octopus dressed in a man's suit, the everyday mobility and dexterity that we humans take for granted become the game's primary obstacles. In order to achieve this sense of “octopus out of water” the game's controls are deliberately awkward and unresponsive meaning that Octodad will never do things exactly as you'd envisaged. Want to pick up a mug of coffee? You'll likely fall through the kitchen table before clocking your wife across the head with a frying pan twelves time first. This manages to simultaneously be Octodad's trump card and it's ultimate undoing.

It's an interesting technique but Octodad is no Michael Jordan!

Comedy in gaming is almost impossible to pull off. South Park did it recently in The Stick of Truth through clever writing and insightful parody but that had a whole back catalogue of awesome references and in-jokes to fall back on. I have to give credit where credit is due to developer “Young Horses” on actually creating comedic content through gameplay and goofy character design. Its an achievement that shouldn't be overlooked and shows that there are still inventive twists on classic game mechanics that are yet to be explored. And you will find the game funny, unbearably funny! For the first five or ten minutes. After that, it just becomes unbearable.

Someone really should have spoken up at the wedding…

The problem with Octodad: Dadliest Catch is that once you get the joke, there's little left for you to enjoy or discover. Objectives are repetitive, the graphics look dated and out of place on the PS4 and the deliberately unintuitive controls and buggy camera become overwhelmingly frustrating. The game still manages to achieve some funny moments throughout, and even some touching ones, but time and time again you'll find yourself cursing the very character that you're supposed to be cheering on. Its a real shame. I think there's something special here and the premise is unique and insane enough that surely the developers could have found more inventive ways to explore the subject matter other than by just giving the gamer cack-handed controls and a physics engine to contend with.

This particular family is going to need a lot of therapy after this day out!

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is noteworthy because of the strides it makes in exploring comedy while turning gameplay norms on their head. But once you get past the “funny” the gameplay simply isn't fun. When the closing credits started to roll after roughly two hours spent with the game I breathed a long sigh of relief and thanked my lucky stars that my parents hadn't been octopi. If you see the game going cheap and want to get a few laughs then maybe pick it up but at its current price tag of ?13.99 I just can't recommend this as a game.

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