When embarking upon my first ever Gamescom this summer I had no plans to write about Octodad: Dadliest catch, yet the random hilarity of events witnessed in the PS4 zone that day simply cannot go ignored.
As a sequel to the original title Octodad, Dadliest Catch follows the story of an octopus masquerading as a normal human dad. In order to keep the fact that he is an octopus a secret from his family, Octodad must perform every day tasks without drawing attention to himself. This may seem simple enough, but with his unruly tentacles and tricky suction grip things as simple as opening a door or putting on a hat soon become a challenge.
During the demo we had the privilege of helping our tentacled friend through one of the most important days of this life, his wedding day. After dressing Octodad for his big day by finding and putting on his hat, bow tie and suit we had to guide him down the isle gracefully without arousing suspicion from the watching wedding guests. Normally these would be simple enough tasks, but as you would expect the controls are deliberately a little bit fishy. For a start, players must control two sets of Octodads limbs, acting as his arms and legs independently. To move around the environment you must use the triggers to lift and place each leg whilst steering Octodad with the analogue sticks. Then once you have reached your desired destination (or not) you can take control of his ‘arms’ and use suction to interact with objects. This is all more difficult than it looks, and in our case lead to much flailing around wildly and more than a few classic slapstick moments.
Though the crazy tentacle action is amusing, the real gameplay comes in during scenarios where other game characters are watching. When Octodad is alone players are free to knock things over and smash things up to their hearts content, however when in public Octodad must remain composed enough not to attract attention to himself and blow his human disguise. The unusual controls coupled with closely placed objects makes navigating these sections quite challenging, meaning that you really have to keep your cool when all eyes are on you. The colourful graphics give Octodad a retro cartoon look all of its own, and Octodad himself, well who doesn’t love an Octopus in a top hat and suit with a spiffy tentacle moustache?
Octodad is a game with a simple concept and bucketful’s of charm and originality. The crazy controls coupled with the contrasting normality of the situations make for a unique wacky combination which definitely stands out next to the more serious titles of the next generation. I would suspect that after a few hours of gameplay control of Octodads many limbs may become easier to manipulate through practice. That would however probably add to the fun of bringing this one out at parties to watch friends flail about for your amusement.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is due for release in 2014 for PS4, PC, Mac and Linux
Until next time,