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Octodad: Dadliest Catch review

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Price when reviewed : £12
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Short but sweet, this hilarious tale of an octopus posing as a human will have you grinning from ear to ear in no time

Comedy is a rare thing in games. Some developers manage it with a witty script, others with outrageous characters that help lighten the mood, but few hit that holy grail of slapstick laugh out loud guffawing like Young Horses do in Octodad: Dadliest Catch.

Octodad Dadliest Catch

Life is hard when you only have tentacles for limbs, as even the most mundane tasks like mowing the lawn or getting dressed quickly become clumsy dances of destruction as you try and keep control of all your wayward appendages. Fortunately, you only have four legs to control at any one time (the others are neatly sandwiched together inside Octodad’s suit), but when each one has its own control input, even getting our hero to co-ordinate his left and right foot becomes a monumental challenge in fine motor control.

This would be a recipe for guaranteed comedy gold in any situation, but throwing yourself from one room to another is the least of Octodad’s worries as he’s also on the run from a murderous chef who’s hell-bent on revealing Octodad’s true identity to his human family and the world at large. To help keep a low profile, he must also go about his daily tasks by drawing as little attention to himself as possible, whether it’s trying to navigate a winding queue for tickets at the local aquarium or going grocery shopping.

Octodad Dadliest Catch

It’s this combination of unwieldy controls and intense scrutiny that makes Dadliest Catch so ripe for humour, as each scenario is packed to the brim with potential chaos. An early example comes at your own wedding where, having just broken a stained glass window and knocked down an entire wall to find your suit and bow tie, you must walk down the rather narrow aisle that’s not only littered with inexplicable banana peels, but also lined with precariously balanced flower vases on thin china stands. All the while, your friends are staring at you intently, muttering under their breath about your tardy arrival, and then, to top it all off, your absent best man has left the ring in a nearby box of toys, forcing you to fish it out before placing it on the hand of your dainty bride-to-be.

Octodad Dadliest Catch

It’s utterly absurd, but that’s where the genius lies. As you desperately try to act normally in abnormal circumstances, the urge to go blundering in and make a scene is almost too good to resist, but upset too many onlookers and your attention bar will quickly fill with a deadly ink, forcing you to restart your current task if it reaches 100 per cent. You are meant to be maintaining a degree of semi-secrecy, after all, and some stealth sections later on take this to heart, resulting in an instant kill if you get caught.

Luckily, checkpoints are fairly frequent, which is a blessing when every move requires so much effort. There are some sections, though, such as the chase scenes with the chef and the lengthy stealth course round the aquarium, where we felt there could have been a few more checkpoints, as one wrong move would send us all the way back to the start, creating a lot of needless repetition with each failed attempt.

Octodad Dadliest Catch

Overall, it’s a small price to pay, though, as each situation always manages to be more hilarious than the last. There’s a wonderful sense of progression as you move from one task to another, and Young Horses should be applauded for giving players so many options to complete each goal. It’s just a shame the whole game lasts little more than two and a half hours from start to finish, as we would easily have spent entire days in the shoes (or sucker pads) of our tentacled hero given the chance.

Fortunately, our prayers were partially answered by Octodad’s Free Play mode, where you can revisit individual areas if you want to go back and try new ideas or collect all of Octodad’s special suit ties. There’s also a fantastic four player local co-op mode where players share control of Octodad’s respective limbs using the keyboard and an Xbox 360 controller, and it’s the perfect tool for inducing fits of laughter among your friends.

Octodad Dadliest Catch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch may be unduly brief, but it’s worth each and every second. We’ve rarely laughed this hard while playing a game and it’s a constant joy from beginning to end. Also coming to the PS4 later this year, it’s unlike any game you’ve ever played or will play in the future, earning it a deserved Best Buy award.



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