8 Random Thoughts About Octodad: Dadliest Catch

by Gabriel Turcotte-Dubé

Octodad is a game where you play as a father who’s secretly an octopus. As the theme song says, “nobody suspect a thing”. Through some imprecise and strange controls, you move Octodad’s tentacles and make him perform everyday activities without looking too suspicious. The game, originally a student project that evolved into something bigger, has been out on PC since January, but I just played the PS4 version that was released just last week.

Octodad is a hard game to review in the “normal” way, so I didn’t even try. Instead, here are 8 (get it?) random thoughts about the game that crossed my mind!

1. Octodad is not a “good” game in the traditional sense. The controls are (intentionally) awkward, the graphics are pretty basic, the gameplay isn’t varied or deep, there’s not a lot of replay value, and the camera can be problematic. Yet, I’d heartily recommend it to anyone vaguely interested in the concept. Octodad is the proof that games don’t have to follow a checklist to be worth playing. Playing Octodad is like watching a good 80s comedy movie; you won’t feel like you’ve experienced a masterpiece, but you’ll still have a great time.

2. Octodad is the perfect game to play with friends while having a beer or three. You can just pass the controller after each level, but if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also a co-op mode where up to 4 players at once control Octodad, each one in charge of a limb. Good luck beating the game that way!

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3. Clocking at around 2 hours, Octodad is a short game. However, the duration felt just right to me; any longer and the joke might have fell flat. It would have been nice to have some sort of “sandbox” mode to extend the longevity a bit on PS4, but if you have the PC version, you can potentially play forever with the level editor and level sharing on Steam Workshop.

4. The writing in Octodad is really entertaining. The plot is obviously completely crazy, and almost every sentence spoken in the game, including the ones by secondary characters and passers-by, is goofy. I was continually laughing while playing, which is a rare thing as I often find humor in games to be cringe-worthy. By the end, the story even gets weirdly touching…

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5. I’m usually not a fan of hidden collectible in games, as they often only exist to inflate the game’s duration without being any fun to track down. The ties hidden through Octodad are an exception, as they’re placed in locations that require you to experiment with the levels in completely different ways than the main objectives. As an added bonus, you can wear any tie you find, and a lot of them have great designs!

6. While Young Horses, Octodad’s developer, is based in Chicago, the game reminds me of these weird Japanese games we used to see in the PS1-N64 and PS2-Dreamcast-Gamecube eras. I’m talking about games like Katamari Damacy, Incredible Crisis, Mr Mosquito, Cubivore, Seaman, Chibi-Robo or, more recently, Noby Noby Boy. While this type of offbeat Japanese creation is a lot more rare these days, it’s good to see some indies going in that direction.

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7. The game’s theme song is a real earworm. It’s been stuck in my head for days, and I love it. The alternate version playing during the credits is also great.

8. Octodad might be my favorite PS4 game so far. If I had to give it a score, it would probably be an 8.

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