Just over 10 months ago I decided to play and review an insane game about an Octopus disguised as a man. Despite its lack of story depth and length, it was a joy to play and one of the best games I played last year (which was freeware). It was just a bonkers concept that I fell in love with. With that being said, I am a little bit disappointed with it sequel Octodad: Dadliest Catch.
It isn't like Young Horses (the guys behind Octodad but now in the form of proper independent studio) have done much wrong with the Octodad formula. The controls take the same basic premise from QWOP; where each limb can be controlled independently but (unlike QWOP) this is done in a 3D space. The control scheme doesn’t naturally transfer onto a controller which can make the controls infuriating. Often I found myself fighting with the game to do what I wanted it to do which made things like climbing ladders a chore. However, they have vastly improved how fast you can move. In the first game I couldn't get any sort of momentum while running but with a controller in this sequel I often found myself effortlessly gliding my way round the levels.
Humour in this game is back but it hasn't really been developed beyond the first game. The humour seems to come from the odd line here and there and from the crazy control scheme but it could have been more involved in the story. There is so much potential for this game to be self-aware (and towards the end it kind of does) but it is never constant. The story itself is a step up from the previous instalment which has sadly left it in some weird limbo state. The previous game had an extremely simple concept (you’re an Octopus disguised as a dad and a Chef is after you). Octodad: Dadliest Catch has taken that premise one half step forward. Like I mentioned before there is an element of self-awareness and there is a backstory to the chef and Octodad. The most puzzling part of the story is the relationship with the mother which seems to be the main story mechanic that drives the story forward. There is this weird depressing theme with the mother about how she doesn't know who you really are. This may sound like an odd addition to a wacky game that is more humour that HBO drama but I really feel this could have been really interesting if they had properly developed it. In its current state this story mechanic is underdeveloped and such feels very much out of place.
Though, the length of the game doesn't help as this game is quite short. The impression I get is the developers had other ideas for what Octodad could have done but had to cut it because it was just beyond them. This makes the story suffer as, like I just mentioned, parts are undeveloped and each level doesn’t flow into the next.
The one thing the developers have improved upon is the graphics. The general art style stays the same but the textures have vastly improved. This isn't me saying the game is good looking but it does look alright for a downloadable game. The character models don't feel out of place within the world that has been created and the movement is fairly fluid without going too far away from its cartoonesque roots. The sound design is generally quite good with the music within the levels being euphonic and the environmental sounds fitting in well with the chaotic design of the game. Octodad still makes is adorable gobble which makes him an extremely likeable character.
This game has issues but none of these issues are as big as the camera angle problem and clipping. Clipping sometimes helps but it also becomes a huge problem when you get stuck in something. Thankfully there is an option to restart from the latest checkpoint (something I found myself using often) but this shouldn't be happening. The camera is wacky for all the wrong reasons. It reminds me of my father. Not matter what you tell him to do, he just doesn't listen. The camera seems in its own little world at times and realises too late that you need it to move so you can see.
Overall I am disappointed with this game. It isn't because this game is bad, on the contrary it is a good game, the problem is this game is let down in a few key areas. The wacky concept is still there and the graphics have improved but the controls do not work that well on a controller and the story seems half assed (honestly you either make a proper attempt at it or don't bother). Something I haven't mentioned that makes this game worth having is the social aspects. The game is incredibly fun with four people. You each control a limb which makes for a short yet fun experience. The big question you have to ask yourself is; is this game really worth the price? Currently it is being sold on the PSN store for £11.99 and I feel that is just too much for what you get (especially since the first game is free for the PC)