+ Original idea.
+ Strangely entertaining.
– Extremely short.
– Poorly written story.
– Very buggy gameplay.
– Camera system is horrible.
? Minecraft reference.
Late Tuesday night. I’m finally off of work, and heading home quite quickly do to me picking up a few new games. I sit down in front of my tv, open myself a nice adult beverage, and begin the installation process of FFXIV on my PS4. “Might as well see who’s online” I say aloud to myself; figured I might want to speak with someone seeing that I had about 80+ minutes until my games patching was complete.
I decide to join the pre-existing BATGR chat that was going on. “Evening guys!” I greet everyone excitedly. “Hey Josh.” Everyone chimes in. “Josh, we have a job for you?” Dustin begins. “Really? What do you need?” I reply. “Well… In your absence tonight. We’ve nominated you to playthrough, and review Octodad.” A few guys snicker at his statement. I always see the trailer for this game at work, and I usually watch it fairly perplexed. Questioning how exactly the developers came up with such a strange concept. I do admit, I was intrigued on some level. Seemed like a game that I would enjoy, do to it being so wacky. “Ok… I’ll do it.” I say with a little grit in my tone. Being thrown under a moving bus is never a fun thing. Then the thought occurred to me, and before I knew it I already spoke it. “I’m buying it, aren’t I?” I closed my eyes, and let out a long winded sigh while I purchased the title.
Marriage, lovely thing isn’t it. To have, and to hold. Through sickness, and health. For better, or worse. Throughout the course of matrimony; you, and your partners life becomes one. You share the same house, bed, and even bathroom. So, you would think that keeping massive secrets from you wife would be a pretty bad idea right?
I’m not talking about forgetting little Timmy at the grocery store, or forgetting to feed the family pet for over a year. I’m talking about the big ones, like… “Honey, I’m a secret agent.” or in this case. “Honey, I’m a Octopus.” You know; the little things. Enter the life of our hero. A flip flopping dad, who just happens to be an Octopus. He wants nothing but the absolute best for his family, while he protects them from the crazed chef that’s hunting him down. Having very little control over ones limbs does make his battle difficult, but none the less valiant.
This does raise a few questions however. Like; where exactly did the two kids come from, and why don’t they have any genetic mutations. How does the wife touch/kiss this creature and honestly think that it’s human. How does the rest of the world view him as a normal human being when he can’t even walk in a straight line. I know, I know. This games story isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and was written with a tongue in cheek style. Even stating that however does not excuse how little they even explain their own story, let alone the amount of plot holes throughout.
The gameplay over all for Ocotodad is simple. Your L2, and R2 triggers controls his respective left or right leg. While the R1 tigger is to grab at items. Watching as Octodad flops around like a fish out of water, (excuse the pun, couldn’t help myself.) is strangely entertaining. Somewhat like a train wreak, or the American Idol tryouts.
However as much as it is entertaining to smack someone across the face with a tentacle, or spray in in someones face. The overall buggy gameplay begins to draw itself to the surface. During my playthrough of Octodad, my character became stuck on objects to many times to count. Now there is different types of getting stuck in this game. The is the accidentally going through the floor and having you limbs become stuck, type of stuck. There’s the whole having you limbs tie around different objects and become knotted in such a way that you a flailing around like a wacky waving inflatable arm tube man, type of stuck. Then there’s my personal favorite. Become stuck in such a way, that you break the game and have to reload it.
I understand that the developers had a little bit of an uphill battle with this title seeing that it’s gimmick is ragdoll physics. However, releasing your title with this many bugs with it leaves me scratching my head, wondering exactly how thoroughly they even tested their product. Once you think you mastered the controls, you reach your next massive, never-ending battle. The camera. Now, for the most part, you can get it to cooperate fairly decently, then there are time that the camera begins to act like Octodad, and begins to flop around every which of a way, becoming unmanageable. One instance in the grocery store level left me trapped against a wall for the better part of five minutes.
Gratefully though, your torture will not last to terribly long. Yes, this title is extremely short, to a point where I feel like I was nearly ripped off. I finished this game from start to finish, in just one sitting, in little over three hours. Seeing that the only replay ability in this title is to hunt down dress ties that are scattered throughout the world. Which by the way, they don’t even introduce to you, let alone tell you what the purpose of collecting said items are.
*Bunch of unrecognizable blubs that are meant to represent encouraging words* Yes, that is how Octodad speaks throughout the title, and that is how the subtext even reads. However, have no fear. Everyone else in the game world can understand him perfectly fine, so it’s not like your going to be left out of every cutscene, and conversation and forced to make your own personal interpretation of what exactly is going on.
As for the rest of the cast, very few voices seem genuine. Most feel like they grabbed someone off of the street, paid them some money, and gave them a list of words to say. I think the only character that really stood out in this sense, and made me laugh due to good acting is the daughter, quite a few lines of her dialogue legitimately made me break out laughing.
The one thing I do enjoy about the game is it’s very colorful, and interesting art style. Everything seems like it’s from a twisted 1950’s film, met with a darker sub-text. All of the environments are well designed, and extremely interesting to look at. Just take caution when interacting with it. Character design is a interesting mix of updated textures, and very rigid graphic models. Granted it does lend it a interesting looks, and ads to it slapstick feel, but doesn’t look the best on the PS4.
While Ocotodad is a very unique, over the top, slapstick comedic experience that stands out because of it’s unique ragdoll gameplay. It does fall short in quite a few categories. The primary thing that kills it for me is the amount of bugs that are every present. Be it extremely buggy controls, or the glitchy camera. The faults of the game does outweigh it pluses, which does take away greatly from the experience. Don’t get me wrong, I did find this title refreshing. Innovative ideas are something that draws my interest quicker than anything else.
Here’s to hoping that the next time Octodad come above water, that the team is a little bit more well established, and can provide us with an experience that will last longer, and not make me want to make sushi out of the main charcter. As a side note, I would like to say that seeing the team at Young Horses is comprised of only 9 people, all of which worked on this title between their full time jobs. I am impressed at their product on this point, seeing how much heart and soul they put into this game does give me hope in the Indie market. I do hope to see more from them in the future. However, and I do hope they can appreciate this, I will not be cutting them any slack when it comes to final scoring.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch for the PS4 get’s… A 5 out of 10. – Josh.