Octodad: Dadliest Catch – PC
Developer: Young Horses
Publisher: Young Horses
Release Date: January 14th, 2014
Nerd Rating: 7 or 9 out of 10 (Read for more info)
Reviewed by Some Jerk From Boston
When I buy a game, I make damn sure I want it. Bills, groceries, random occurrences called ‘life’, it’s all so expensive. Shelling out around $60 for the latest software is the equivalent to asking me to pay for the eventual argument I’m going to have with my girlfriend. I’m sure Game Stop would be willing to trade games using the tears of children as currency, but that seems like one of those things that gets you put on a list somewhere. The only way to loosen myself enough to break through my frugal nature is a therapeutic procedure wherein alcohol is applied directly to the liver.
What I’m saying is that I got drunk and bought Octodad: Dadliest Catch.
I wasn’t of sound mind when I started playing it, so that’s how I’m going to review it. Luckily for all of us, I took notes while I played it, so hopefully I can make out a coherent opinion. I’d post a picture to show everyone the hieroglyphics I have to decipher, but at some point I drew penises all over the paper. I’m a jerk to everyone, even myself.
Going into Octodad: Dadliest Catch, you need to know one crucial piece of information: the game was designed around the erratic, physics based controls. The trigger buttons (I used an Xbox 360 controller) control the left and right ‘legs’, while the right stick and right bumper control the ‘arm’ you use to interact with the environment. Lacking bones, getting around requires rethinking how one moves on a fundamental level. Because of this, the most routine situation becomes an entertaining challenge. One of your first tasks is to make a simple cup of coffee; I destroyed half the kitchen trying to do this. “Ha! I’m going to throw my empty cup at my children! Apparently Bunny (significant other) doesn’t want me to beat children. Acing like (unable to decipher, maybe something about being my parents), I’ll (indecipherable, incomplete sentence).” – From my notes.
A lot of the fun is derived from the chaos you cause controlling Octodad, but I feared that repetition would eventually suck away the joy I was feeling. “Mowing the lawn was fun! If I have to do it again though, I’m going to punch a motherfucker.” – From my notes. With no power ups to collect, or new moves to learn, it’s up to the level design to keep things fresh. The team at Young Horses did an exceptional job in this department. This excerpt from my notes says it all: “This would be the best day ever if I was still a kid. Climb a (lots of cross outs, I think ‘play place’ is squeezed above the redacted sentence) at the (several attempts to spell ‘Aquarium’), do a dance on a boat, and buy pizza! Something Bunny won’t let me do anymore. Says I’m addicted to it. Some people have crack or heroine, I have fucking pizza.” The variety of challenges are naturally implemented, creating puzzle-like elements from common scenery. Figuring out new ways to accomplish these familiar tasks is both entertaining and rewarding.
There are a few drawbacks that my sober mind couldn’t ignore. Getting stuck is a common, frustrating experience. At first, I blamed this on the stupid fingers of a belligerent drunk, but as my BAL fell, the problems remained. Octodad’s limbs become easily entangled in any ropes or cords you may have to interact with. NPCs will block you, preventing you from maneuvering your legs. Lack of camera control means that this will happen in places where you can’t see your limbs because the angle didn’t change yet. And you WILL try to fight the camera by using the right stick (something we’ve all learned as more games standardize their control schemes), but you must resist this urge. All you’ll end up doing is waving Octodad’s arm around, his waving limb a final insult before you’re forced to restart at the last checkpoint.
The next day, despite trading the fuzzy bliss of nirvana for a debilitating hangover, I still found myself playing through Octodad: Dadliest Catch. The silliness of an Octopus passing for human, and the zany slapstick of maneuvering obstacles remained appealing, however the technical drawbacks became more and more noticeable, causing numerous pointless restarts. With less than three hours of game play, and a $14.99 price tag, this is definitely an impulse buy. Making the common uncommon is a fun twist on how we play games, as long as you’re not the one paying the price for it. While I would have never bought Octodad: Dadliest Catch outside of a reckless, booze filled evening, I’m glad for the experience.
Sober Rating: 7/10
Drunk Rating: 9/10
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