[Review] Many Hands Make Light Work In Octodad

TL,DR;

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is an absurd game with absurd gameplay. If you’re the type of person that enjoys silly things, then I think you’ll have a great time playing it. Even though you’ll spend most of your time flailing around, there’s a lot of polish that has been added to the game so you can actually play the game right if you try.

Introduction

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a game that’s been on the PC for a while but is now making it’s way to Android TV. It is made by the group Young Horses, Inc. which formed after the success of the original Octodad.

The game was just published on Google Play recently for phones, tablets, and TVs. Since it’s initial release about a week ago, the team does appear to be hard at work fixing some edge cases. Based on the Play Store description, there are problems for low RAM devices and problems for devices on Marshmallow.

I will preface this review by stating that I used the ADT-1, which is running Android 5.0.2. With all Android TV devices, users must have a gamepad. For most games this would be an unnecessary requirement. However, when you learn how the game works you’ll agree nothing short of a full gamepad will be sufficient.

Octodad uses Google Play Games for achievements and cloud saves.

Gameplay

The first level is your wedding ceremony. The game opens up to your wife waiting at the front of the altar. The best man looks for you and realizes you aren’t even dressed yet. You need to find your suit and bowtie and get to the altar. The only problem is that you’re an octopus.

I look so dapper
I look so dapper

You must control the tentacles of the octopus in order to advance through the game. The right joystick moves your arm up and down. The left trigger moves your left leg. The right trigger moves your right leg. The left joystick moves the currently selected tentacle in the given direction. With three different limbs you need to control, you can see it quickly becomes complicated.

You can pick up and drop things with the A button, or fling it if you’re skilled enough to move several controls at the same time. There is a series of tasks in game that help get you acclimated to these controls one at a time so you are not immediately overwhelmed.

Now try to do things like place the ring gently on your fiance’s finger. It took me several minutes of manipulating limbs so that I could get it right. Before that I had to walk down the altar button mashing my legs as I waddled around. I ended up knocking down a bunch of stuff in the process.

That’s both the fun or frustration of the game. Everything that happens is so absurd. An anthropomorphic octopus is trying to go through the mundane events of an ordinary suburban family. However, it’s incredibly difficult to do the simplest of tasks. There’s definitely some people who will find this funny. At the same time, I’m sure some people won’t get the joke.

Story

Following the wedding, you wake up what appears to be several years later. Your wife and you have two children, both of which are strangely not octopus like at all. That’s really the crux of the story. The game is fairly linear, giving you ordinary tasks to complete that advance the story long enough for more tasks.

That honeymoon was too short
That honeymoon was too short

There are small bits of humor that come from some of the dialog, which are very much in the same comedic realm as everything else in the game. Although it doesn’t appear key to the plot, I paid attention to the soundbites anyway because of how entertaining they were.

Performance

Aside from a few loading screens in-between levels, everything played very well. I could not find any instances of lag during my time. The audio was snappy and the high resolution graphics did not appear to be a problem either.

Watch out for banana peels
Watch out for banana peels

Music

Although it isn’t very loud while playing, I really enjoyed the soundtrack, which is composed by Seth Parker. It uses the instruments of a concert band to create a calming vibe. It really fits the ambiance of a peaceful suburban house. You might consider purchasing the soundtrack as well on their Bandcamp page if you are a fan of video game music.

Android TV Integration

The game works great on Android TV. It natively supports gamepads, has a leanback banner, and even the menus appear to be optimized for TVs.

There's a side menu for options
There’s a side menu for options

If you have an Nvidia Shield, you’ll enjoy additional functionality through the game’s integration with Nvidia PhysX.

Conclusion

What kind of game is Octodad? For one, it’s a comedic game. As a second, it’s a simulator; it gives you the chance to see what it would be like if you were an octopus instead of a person. To some people this concept would turn them away immediately. For those that stay, it’s very clear to see why the original was an Independent Games Festival Student Finalist in 2011. The developers have done a great job of fleshing out this concept into a playable game with a great deal of polish.

If you’re interested in playing, it is $5 on Google Play. If you are having problems, the development team appears to be pretty active and are fixing issues are quickly as they can.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker)Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop.Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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