The Average Gamer

Octodad: Dadliest Catch Review (PC)

Octodad Turnstile
He is a bright yellow octopus. He is a dad. How does nobody suspect a thing? Because Octodad is a master of disguise, as all octopuses are.

Being a totally normal human you’ll have to blunder about the house making yourself coffee, feeding the kids and doing normal dad things like mowing the lawn. Try not to get your tentacles caught up in those blades.

It’s Octodad’s ridiculous controls make the whole experience magical. An octopus can’t easily hold itself upright like bony humans so lifting one leg is likely to destabilise you completely. The opening sequence will have you laughing out loud as you flail about wildly, trying to propel yourself out a door without upending an entire ballroom banquet.

Octopus tentacles don’t have the power to push, either, so climbing steps is a very strange exercise. You’ll waver one suckered leg-tentacle above some steps, send it crashing down and hope one of the suckers catches, do the same with the other and slowly drag yourself to a standing position on a higher level. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and catch a clipping error that you can use to drag Octodad up. Sometimes you’ll get unlucky and wrap yourself around a rubbish bin instead.

What you’ll want to do is wrap a tentacle on something and then drag yourself around. That isn’t possible, as Octodad has to maintain his passing resemblance to humanity at all costs. However, the game’s special version of physics means that even when you’re doing everything right, a sucker will detach itself and send you plummeting back to the start.

Thanks, camera.

Thanks, camera.

The whole game is a mix of hilarious ineptitude and rage-inducing frustration, only some of which is down to the controls. The camera repositions itself as you move around, but feels like it was designed for a character that can walk rather than one who clumsily wobbles about each room. You’ll find yourself hidden behind scenery in the middle of particularly finicky manoeuvres and probably fall over, undoing all your hard work.

In some rooms, banana peels are left about the place for no reason at all. It feels rather like there was supposed to be a puzzle there but no one could think of anything interesting to include. Add bananas for challenge.

Octodad is a short game that doesn’t outstay its welcome and there are a few extra bits and bobs to keep you busy. Each room has ties hidden about the place for collectors to discover (but not wear) and the menu has a stats screen to peruse, should you wish to know a dozen pointless numbers like how long you’ve played while using your legs or how many steps you’ve taken.

You can entertain yourself in most places by finding and putting on glasses and hats, but these are few and far between. You’ll lose them in the next cutscene anyway, which makes it rather pointless.

Octodad Kelp HatThe zero-gravity room mode floats you in a cube with a bunch of household furniture and lets you fling them about for no real reason. Sadly, bouncing doesn’t seem to be a thing in this world. Things tend to just hit the wall and stop abruptly before drifting off in another direction, so the entertainment opportunities here seem limited.

Local co-op is much more fun. You can share the game with up to three other players, each controlling one of Octodad’s limbs. It’s hard enough to keep track of which limb is where as a single player, so throwing other people in the mix should provide plenty of laughs. If you’re exceptionally good at teamwork, check out Roulette mode, where the limb each person is controlling will randomly switch after some time.

Octodad’s limited controls do make all the solutions quite superficial (walk here, flail there) but, much like QWOP, its the hilarity of how badly you do that provides the entertainment. Octodad’s family are adorable and the story keeps things ticking over without getting in the way.

It is a little buggy. I’ve seen at least one report of save games breaking after updates. I experienced another annoyance in a late level, I needed a character to throw me objects but this would take up to 30 seconds to trigger, leaving me to slide around the floor, dodging missiles with no recourse.

I do wish there had been more silly things to play with: I did manage to wibble about a supermarket on a Segway and hide inside a box but but for the most part, you just wander around knocking things over. Hilarious at first, but tired after 90 minutes. However, the game is paced well for an enjoyable couple of hours and if you get a console or have a living room PC, playing it with friends will be brilliant.

Curious about the verdict? Read our review policy.