Review by Jerrynsteph4eva
"Catch Octodad fever and pick this silly, hilarious game up for a few clams."
Let me warn you right off the bat. If you don't like silly games that will make you laugh, Octodad isn't for you. If you're someone who finds flaws in video game logic, this game isn't for you. If the premise of playing as an Octopus blending into human life is too silly for you, you may want to avoid this game. For the rest of you all, Octodad will be a refreshing, unique concept that will make you laugh through the entirely too short trip.
Octodad is also a bit of a rarity. It's hilarious without being forced or vulgar. It's unique and fresh without borrowing concepts from another developer. It's simple and takes place in the modern world without being boring. Screenshots and videos won't do this game justice: you'll have to try it to see what makes it fun.
The premise is simple: you play as Octodad, an octopus who has to blend into human society so not to give his cover away. Due to the lack of bones in his body, this transforms mundane tasks such as mowing the lawn, buying groceries and even simply moving around into difficult chores that must be overcome so you don't arouse suspicion from his wife and two kids. Grabbing objects takes time (as your arm flops around helplessly) and walking to and from can be difficult as you stretch your long tentacles to move about.
This concept only helps the game's humorous focus as your character struggles to walk around, knocking over furniture and objects along the way and causing chaos as you simply try to move around. You'll laugh as you run yourself over with the lawnmower, laugh as you miss the basketball hoop and hit the guy next to you instead and that's just with the concept. The story itself is hilarious as well and is reminiscent of older sitcoms. Octodad's wife, Scarlet, questions Octodad's weird abilities, like refilling the printer ink by himself, his kids are oblivious and make funny comments about life and his next door neighbor is a Sushi Chef who the family regards as crazy for constantly trying to chop up Octodad. I honestly was laughing until the end and very few games have been able to do this.
As far as controls go, they're naturally kind of slippery due to the nature of the game. However, for being intentionally bad, it works and you don't find yourself mad at the controls (rather, you'll likely laugh at the ensuing chaos that comes from over shooting your arm or walking ten feet in one step and the onlookers not really questioning it). While I found it much easier to use the supported Xbox 360 gamepad, the keyboard controls work as well with your mouse controlling Octodad's hands (or feet). The game also doesn't overwhelm you with buttons either as your only controls are for moving, lifting each leg or grabbing objects.
The story itself is pretty funny and, though predictable, is funny and doesn't take itself seriously. For example, the game starts with Octodad's wedding. As one of the ushers looks for Octodad, he gasps in shock, making you think Octodad's secret has been found out already. Then he proclaims "You're not even dressed yet? She's waiting for you at the altar!". While it was much too short for my liking, it kept me laughing and I seriously didn't want it to end.
The game also has numerous extras that will keep you coming back long after you've finished the story. The game has thirty three hidden ties for you to find and collect, a co-op mode to play with buddies and even a level editor that allows you to make custom challenges that can be shared and downloaded (which is facilitated even more with the Steam version). The level editor is pretty robust and one of the first levels I played was an accurate recreation of Mario 64's Bob-Omb Battlefield. This adds a realm of possibilities that increase your total play time. Recreate your house, test Octodad's capabilities in new scenarios or even re-experience Octodad's current levels in new forms. It's up to you.
The levels themselves also have numerous extras that you'll only find through numerous playthroughs. Sure, the first time you might want to mow the lawn perfectly but the second time, run over the garden and see what happens. Play with the alarm clock as you wake up and see what happens when you leave it on. See if you can find the Bit.Trip reference hidden in the game. Try different ways to accomplish the same goals. The game has a lot of little things in it that aren't noticeable and it rewards players who go out of their way to try different things, so it's great to replay it a few more times and see how you can do things differently.
Another plus is if you purchase the Steam version, as it contains both achievements as well as trading card support. The achievements themselves range from the normal ones (such as find all ties and beat the game) to funny, oddball ones like "Help the shoppers out by placing an item into each of their baskets" to cutting in line to get into the aquarium which are fun and offer replayability as well. While it's nothing to buy the game over, it's a nice perk that will keep you playing the game as well as enhance your Steam experience.
Octodad unfortunately has a few flaws that dullen the experience for me. The first major flaw is the length. I beat the game in less than two hours which isn't TOO bad for an indie game but is still pretty bad for the price. While I didn't get the ties (which add a few hours), that's still not that great for $15. It might have felt shorter due to how much fun I was having with it, but I still wish they had fleshed out a few more levels for play (though with a level editor that's not a huge concern).
The game can also be pretty difficult at times. While easy mode allows you to walk by anyone without penalty (making the game way too easy), due to Octodad's hard-to-control nature, you'll oftentimes have to restart a level because you knocked over too many objects or you accidentally stepped in front of an Aquarium scientist who knew who you were, even on Normal difficulty. While it's not too harsh, it still happens a bit too much.
All in all, if you're looking for a wacky new game that will keep you laughing while you play it, Octodad is well worth the money. Sure, it's extremely short and a bit difficult at times but there's plenty of replayability as you search for the hidden ties or play with the numerous objects laying around Octodad's world. With a level editor, you'll also be able to experience new scenarios with Octodad and make your own to share with friends (and play together in co-op). If you're looking for a family friendly humorous game that's unlike anything you've played before, this is it. Even though it has a few flaws and doesn't last that long, I still recommend a purchase. Buy it and see life through an Octopus's eyes.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/07/14, Updated 02/12/14
Game Release: Octodad: Dadliest Catch (US, 01/30/14)
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