05th Dec2017

Digital Shorts: ‘Octodad: Dadliest Catch’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Matthew Smail

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Octodad: Dadliest Catch , a Nintendo Switch port of one of the weirdest indie games in recent memory.

octodad-screen

For anyone who watched Blue Planet II last week; read on. For everyone else considering purchasing Octodad: Dadliest Catch on the Nintendo Switch, I suggest you check out David Attenborough’s latest documentary before going any further. Why, you ask?

Well simply put, I’ve known for years that octopuses were smart animals, but I never knew how smart. I could probably have guessed that they would use their tentacles to suffocate a predatory shark into releasing them, but the idea that an octopus might roll up into a disguise made from lots and lots of little shells is one that never occurred to me.

As soon as I booted up the Switch port of Octodad (which includes the base game plus a few refinements and two additional sequences not in the original PC release) I was reminded of the shell-disguise octopus I had seen last week on TV. You see, Octodad is an octopus disguised as a human, and the game begins with the player haphazardly dressing him at his wedding, just as his human wife exclaims “He’s always late.”

He’s always late because each of his limbs is controlled independently by a different button or combination of buttons, and the chais that ensues is the main thrust of the game. Whether you are dressing Octodad in a tuxedo, walking him down the aisle or just mowing his lawn, his ridiculous movement and propensity to scatter the hundreds of physics based items in each scene all combine to create laugh out loud moments.

Unfortunately, with the exception of just one or two challenging sequences, this makes Octodad more of a curiosity than a game. You certainly will need to complete objectives that maintain Octodad’s ruse, but few of them make demands other than reaching the end point. I’m unsure whether or not I would actually want it to be different though, because punitive measures like “not smashing the grocery store to pieces” would spoil the fun and feel pretty arbitrary.

All in, Octodad’s charm does win through, and the three-ish hours of gameplay do just about warrant the price of entry. I can’t say that the Switch version offers anything particularly unique, except that as a fairly basic game, Octodad: Dadliest Catch does feel at home here graphically on both the TV or when played in handheld mode. A solid entry that is still as innovative and fun as ever, but not a world changing experience by any means.

*** 3/5

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