One of the largest and latest complaints levied about video games is how seriously the genre takes itself. Nearly every review begs the medium be considered an art form, simply because it stirs emotions and is reasonably functional. As games command you to take them seriously, it seems the “fun” aspects seem to be slipping away.
At least, that is what I thought until playing Octodad: Dadliest Catch.
Young Horses, Inc.’s upcoming Steam/PS4 release reminds me of the fun and ridiculousness behind video games. Never ever attempting to be serious, Octodad focuses on an undercover octopus. You read that right—an undercover octopus. With little explained about his past (so far), Octodad has been mistaken for a human. Further, someone managed to fall in love with the mute and awkward Octo-protagonist!
The game consists of you doing ordinary human tasks (getting married, flipping burgers, getting dressed) with the awkward controls that come naturally with being an octopus. Obviously, chaos ensues. Though walking in any other game is as easy as moving a trigger, in it is a process similar to QWOPing. You knock things over, bump into people, and throw things about wildly trying to do the simplest tasks. While in any other game this would be a point of frustration and anger, you can’t help but laugh as Octodad flails around and struggles with basic human functions.
And truly, that is what it comes down to. From the demo, Octodad isn’t the easiest to control, nor does it use amazing gameplay mechanics. However, the true mileage comes from the smiles and laughs the game generates. Every new situation and problem (like breaking a stain glass Chtulhu to get your bowtie) had me smiling from ear to ear. And it’s not just me! My girlfriend, who is often too intimidated to touch shooters, watched the trailer and doubled over in laughter–she can’t wait to play the game. Neither can my 12-year old brother who only play’s Mario and Donkey Kong games. Fact of the matter is, humor seems to have a universal draw and Octodad brings humor in spades.
Among a library of dark and dreary shooters, Octodad: Dadliest Catch shines as an example of what it takes to make a game fun. Though a release date has yet to be announced, it is easily on my radar for 2014.