After months of having “You’re a kid now! You’re a squid now!” swirling in my mind, we now discover that another cephalopod mollusc has clung to Wii U with its slimy suckers. Away from Splatoon‘s ink-spraying brilliance, Octodad: Dadliest Catch presents an entirely different experience where we can observe the game’s suited-and-booted octopus as he enjoys his daily life. That he is masquerading as a human is another matter.
It’s already a particularly silly concept in itself, and a secret that he has somehow been able to successfully hide to marry a beautiful bride and have children. Anatomy aside, his deception is beginning to wear thin. With his wife becoming increasingly filled with distrust and a sushi chef intent on exposing the truth, Octodad’s land-based existence is under threat.
Sequel to 2010’s Octodad, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is another project that was spurred by Kickstarter crowdfunding. Seeing a console debut on PlayStation 4 last year, the humorous and somewhat wayward adventure has now shored up on Nintendo’s home console. Hilarious by design, Octodad: Dadliest Catch challenges you to complete seemingly mundane everyday tasks that soon prove all the more baffling by the unwieldy tentacles that you must rely on to accomplish them.
Early on these can range from procuring a wedding ring from a box stuffed with objects, trying to mow the lawn, or clambering through supermarket freezers to claim a frozen pizza. For anyone other than Octodad this would be a simple feat, but that’s part of the game’s overriding charm. Continuing a trend of unpredictable gameplay seen with Surgeon Simulator, Goat Simulator and others, Octodad: Dadliest Catch marvels in the sheer madness of whatever is left to occur.
That certainly means that it won’t be a game for everyone, but it is perfectly suited to the youngsters that Nintendo so readily attracts. That it oozes casual appeal doesn’t mean that it should be so easily dismissed, presenting a unique and welcome distraction amid the other releases that populate the Nintendo eShop week-on-week.
Taking control of Octodad is simple enough with players moving each of his limbs with a combination of the Left and Right Stick, and the ZL and ZR Buttons. When directed toward objects, the L and R Buttons can be used to grab on to anything that you wish. What Octodad lacks in grace, he more than makes up for in the destruction left by his wobbly movement. While players more accustomed to precision are likely to become frustrated, those that wish to team up can turn Co-op mode on to share control over Octodad’s wriggly tentacles – a welcome addition that could see parents work together with their children to experience all that Octodad: Dadliest Catch has to offer.
Worried that his true identity will be discovered, your only concern is that you act as normally as possible to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Calmly complete the tasks that you are given and you will be more suitably rewarded with higher scores. Whereas if you misbehave or start randomly chucking items when in sight of other characters, you will arouse suspicion – an ink meter slowly descending as a result. However, comedy always remains key and you are largely free to wobble around however you like.
That isn’t to say that Octodad: Dadliest Catch is problem-free. Left to concentrate on moving his flailing limbs, the camera can frequently prove a hinderance as you try to guide the octo-protagonist to your next objective. An inconsistent framerate also causes enough slowdown to prove a concern – presumably due to the port needing to be adapted to the Wii U’s more unique architecture – which detracts. As does the relatively short playtime, which will see your adventure come to an end in a matter of hours.
Blubbing in his own world, Octodad: Dadliest Catch revels in its own quirk. Hilarious whether alone or with friends, it is hard to deny the lure of its mischievous charm.