Walk a mile in my tentacles.
There are games, and then there is Octodad; quite possibly the weirdest thing I have ever manipulated with a controller. People will argue what constitutes a game nowadays. Walking simulators, exploration, and titles without any “game” mechanics whatsoever; it is an interesting time. Octodad kind of takes that idea and turns what is essentially a physics demo, and tosses in some objectives that are nigh impossible to complete without hilarity. That makes it fun. Sure it isn’t going to win any design awards, but I dare any self-proclaimed “gamer” to take Octodad for a stroll without a giant smile on their face the entire time.
Like any good video game, there has to be a reason for the shenanigans at hand. Octodad wants to be normal. The game starts off with him marrying his sweetheart, pretending like heck that he is indeed a human. This is the whole throughline for the entire game. Place Octodad into everyday situations, and see if he can blend in. Mowing the grass, buying groceries, these are all things we take for granted, but try doing them as an octopus dressed in a business suit.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, Vita, PC, Wii U
Price I’d Pay: $14.99
Multiplayer: Co-op locally
Control in Octodad is what really makes it interesting. His legs are controlled with the triggers, while his arms are manipulated with analog sticks. Tapping the A button grabs objects, which can be thrown around the environment. It is awkward, but also the reason behind the chaos. Even simple things such as making coffee, or grabbing the perfect apple become a challenge. The puzzle design is clever at times, while frustrating at others. Sometimes it felt impossible to navigate through areas without alerting people.
This is where the game can fall apart. While it is humorous to destroy locales early on, things become more precise later on. While a normal game would call this challenge, the randomized actions of Octodad lean more towards frustration. These scenarios are just more complicated versions of the same mechanic, with a lower threshold for failure. It can be tedious, but it never stops being hilarious, which is what keeps Octodad going until the end. The fish out of water descriptor has never been more relevant, especially in the aquarium level.
In addition to the standard levels there are also neckties to collect; every game needs a collectible. Probably the most insane addition though is the co-op mode. Up to four players can take control of one of Octodad’s limbs. As one would imagine, hilarity ensues. It certainly isn’t for progressing, but much like the rest of the game, it makes for some hilarious encounters.
Octodad delivers a pretty standard visual style that hasn’t changed much since its inception. Everything looks and feels like a cartoon, and his babbling dialogue is charming at first, but by the last level it began to grate on my nerves. The music is pretty standard fare and doesn’t do much to enhance the overall experience.
Octodad is a clever game that is fun in the same sense something like Goat Simulator is. It is hilarity, physics-based mayhem that is entirely random. The difference here is that the developers tried to streamline it with actual objectives and level progression, which can lead to frustration. Still it is worth checking out, especially for those that did not get a chance on PC or PS4. Xbox One owners can finally live the humorous and somewhat sad tale of Octodad, as he tries to blend in with normal society.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.