Game Reviews

Octodad: Dadliest Catch - Pure slapstick joy

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Octodad: Dadliest Catch - Pure slapstick joy
Why is that octopus wearing a suit?

Why does anyone wear a suit? To look dapper. Sophisticated. A living incarnation of James Bond – it's just in this case 007 is more like 008 legs.

Speaking of spies, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is all about an undercover octopus trying to pass off as a human. The game opens with him getting married to a bride (who should, perhaps, have gone to Specsavers) and tasks you with maintaining his cover.

He looks ridiculous

It's true, but that IS the whole point of the game. I mean, if your game's central conceit is maintaining the facade of an octopus masquerading as an average-Joe human, it's not meant to be serious.

Hmm. So how do I play it?

Each one of Octodad's tentacle legs is controlled independently - "control" is a loose term. Most of this game involves drunkenly lurching around trying to break as few things as possible.

The right side of the screen controls Octodad's right leg, the left his left. Tap the screen with two fingers and you can zoom in to pick up objects by dragging them around with one finger. Tap with two fingers and you can lift his arms in a more controlled way. It's organized chaos.

That sounds hard - like patting your head and rubbing your tummy

It totally is. The fun of Octodad isn't its difficulty or complex control system, but pure slapstick comedy. I'm talking banana skins, wet fish slaps, the works.

Dadliest Catch delights in its own humour, right down to the burbling noises of apology Octodad makes as he smashes yet another vase with this loose limbs. Think Futurama's Dr Zoidberg mashed up with John Cleese’s Ministry of Silly Walks.

The game is also incredibly self-aware. One brilliant level sees you visit an aquarium where a stern-faced scientist announces "Our biologists know a fish when they see one." Cue gulps and nervous adjustments of the tentacle tie.

Hang on a sec, this all sounds a bit familiar

That's because you might have played Octodad: Dadliest Catch on console or PC. It launched way back in 2014, so it's been a long time coming to mobile - and the port for the most part works well.

Most part?

Well, it's hard to criticize the controls of a game that's designed to be deliberately dodgy - but they often take a tumble off the challenge tightrope and land spread-eagled on the difficulty net.

The touch controls just don't feel as precise as their PC counterparts. At one point I was stuck trying to unlock a door for five minutes, and no matter how many times I waved the key in front of the lock it remained resolutely closed.

The only place that problem should exist is on my front doorstep at 3am on a Saturday night - certainly not in a mobile game. There's tricky controls and downright unfairness.

I don’t want to know about your Saturday night, but I do want to know if you'd recommend Octodad?

I would, wholeheartedly. It's chock full of charm, wit, and plain absurdity - everything I love in a game. Any fan of physical comedy owes it to themselves to check out this simply delightful physics challenge game.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch - Pure slapstick joy

In all honesty, this game had me at 'undercover octopus.' Unadulterated slapstick goodness finally comes to mobile.