Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Genre: Third-person puzzle, adventure

Platform: PC/MAC/Linux, PS4

Developer: Young Horses

Release Date: 30. Jan. 2014

The Good:

-interesting movement and physiques
-relaxing gameplay in the first half of the game

The Bad

-destroys the calm game mood with too many unnnecesarey stealth seqences

Take a simple octopus, turn him into a husband, add physics, and you get a humouros indie game, which makes enjoyable even the simplest mundane tasks. It seems pretty simple, the story is simple, the characters are simple the tasks are simple, and then comes the hard part: controlling the octopus husband. Sequel to the Octodad indie game, this takes us through a day of an aquaanimaldad, who has problems with even the smallest everyday tasks, thanks to his sticky tentacles. Can a simple octopus hide his real identity even from his wife and kids?

4 limbs, 1 mouse

The game mechanics are pretty simple, physique-based movement, solving puzzles while trying to hide your true species. You can select to control him with the mouse, keyboard and gamepad. (I prefer the keyboard, it's like you are really moving them and not just pushing some buttons up and down). Using the middle mouse button the player switches from controlling the arms or the legs and vice-versa. After a couple of minutes you can easily get comfortable with controlling Octodad. Actually the moving of the limbs reminds me of Surgeon Simulator, and I think this kind of movement control has a whole new light on movement in videogames, and it should be more thoroughly explored.
In the second half of the game they add some elements, like boss fights, in my opinion they should hav stayed away from stealth, it just takes away that simple gameplay that was in the first half. Althoug in the second part in the aquarium there a some minigames you can play, and those are a nice plus to the game experience, besides sticking your tentacles on everything take a break playing air hockey!

Octodad's tale

You begin the game on your wedding day (actually Octodad's but we could say he is just our squsihy mannequin). We could say wedding are ceremonial, elegant events, but not this one. Octodad's clumsy, his tentacles get stuck to everything, but that makes him adorable, and this gives the game a unique humour, and comical situations. The we jump in time to an everyday morning, like you see in the movies. The dad wakes up, makes breakfast while the wife keeps nagging to him about how many chores he still has to do, the kids happily eating their delicious breakfast... (I always wanted my mornings to be like this, but I'm just not a morning person) This gives the game a nice, relaxing start.

He has to master these simple tasks, but to him these seem like a real struggle, even making a hamburger. But then comes the conflict. The wife (a journalist) wants to go the the local aquarium, where is full of biologists who can spot that Octodad in fact is an OCTOPUS! (yes, beacuse there is needed special biology studies to notice the difference between a human and an octopus... but this is what gives the game a nice comic, cartoony style and mood). Then the game's special mood is destroyed. The new scene is not that catchy, there are too many stealthy places and it just looses it's previous magic. I wish they had continued that simple adventure of housechores and grocery shopping.

There is a reappearing boss, the Chef (of course who else could be the deadly enemey of an octopus?)
For those who like multiplayer there is co-op mode, max 4 players, everyone gets one limb. Sounds like fun and it gives more challange to the game.

Can a cephalopod talk?

No, not even in this game, but somehow with growling and bubbling he gets through his point. The sounds are not bad, and it has a catchy theme song written by Ian McKinney, which goes nice with the cartoony, stylized art of the game. The comments from the family make this game even more enjoyable, and the wife and even the kids are strongly built characters.

Shopping for Easter Eggs

The game is full of cleverly hidden Easter Eggs, I found most of them in the grocery store (a pie named Pewdie Pie, a Stanley ((the parable)) bowl o' cereal, Minecraft reference, etc...), most of them referring to indie games, gamers, stuff. I love this small things in games, they give you a smile every time you find a reference to something you already know and like. Apart from Easter Eggs, some ties are hidden in the levels and they can be put on dad.

The game itself is so short, when you get to enjoy it it's almost over. You can play it under 2-3 hour. Besides these minor bad aspects, it's an enjoyable game, with a heartwarming story and loveable characters. And since it started out as a student indie game project I think I can safely say that it's worth buying it, support the developers, at least they had an original idea.

Final score:


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