It’s not easy being an octopus. It’s even harder trying to control an octopus. In Octodad: Dadliest Catch, the focus is on survival, forcing the player to navigate a world of grocery stores, aquariums and weddings while avoiding suspicion at all costs. Luckily, this octopus can always rely on his family when the going gets tough.
Learning to control Octodad is the core component of the game, with each flailing limb operating independently. You’ll be forced to crawl, clamber and often collapse through precarious environments in as subtle a manner as possible, in order to complete tasks and avoid detection. At first, this is endearing — much of the game’s humour comes from its slapstick comedy and the opening stages are forgiving, allowing room for experimentation and error. Unfortunately, that quirky charm soon wears off and all too quickly the endless hazards and pitfalls you find yourself facing become nothing more than annoyance, rather than a challenge.
That’s not to say the controls are unfair — in fact, the limb-manipulation system feels surprisingly intuitive — however, the same cannot be said for the level design. While simple at first, the latter stages of the game can become frustrating, especially when using a keyboard and mouse and the later levels cannot match the beginning of the game for sheer absurdity, which is a negative for a game that relies so heavily on its humour.
Despite these flaws, the game is enjoyable in patches due to its colourful and cheery graphics, appropriate sound design and zany puzzles. Octodad is a loveable character and his story is fun while it lasts, even if the gameplay is rather one-dimensional.
The main problem with the game comes from it’s lack of depth. Octodad can be completed in only a couple of hours and while there are hidden secrets to find and time challenges to beat, there is little reason to go back after the credits have finished rolling. Steam Workshop integration offers at least some potential for the future, but once the charm of flopping through the environment has worn off, there’s little left to experience.