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Game Review #154: Octodad: Dadliest Catch (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Young Horses, Inc.

Publisher: Young Horses, Inc.

Category: Action, Adventure

Release Date: 11.09.2017

Price (at time of review): $14.99

Buy Octodad: Dadliest Catch from the Nintendo eShop here.

Getting Slimey On Switch

There are quite a few simulation games in the eShop depending on what fits your preference, from farming to fighting fires. But the developers over at Young Horses have made quite a unique experience, to say the least. I’d go as far as saying I’ve never played a game like this before—though this is the sequel to the 2010’s Octodad, which was released as freeware by a group of university students, many of whom went on to form the company Young Horses, Inc., who made the sequel we are looking at today, Octodad: Dadliest Catch. First released back in 2014, it has been ported to all major consoles, including hitting Nintendo Wii U in 2015. It has now made its way to Nintendo Switch.

Who Knew Walking Could Be So Hard

The story or idea behind the game alone not only brings a smile to my face, but I just would love to have been a fly on the wall during its conception. As the story is as basic as it gets: being a dad in the suburbs, living life and doing daily activities like making coffee and doing yard work. But the spin is in the title, as you are an Octopus disguised as a normal human man, and you have to work hard to not arouse the suspicion of other humans, including your family. You have to be most careful around evil Chef Fujimoto, who knows Octodad's secret and seeks to expose and cook him. As I played through, I was able to see how Octodad took on his identity, met his wife, and so on, which allowed me to become more invested in the characters, including Octodad.

Making It Work Can Be Fishy

Young Horses launched a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter to finance a sequel, originally titled Octodad 2. Their campaign was successful and they raised $24,320 in August 2011. Six of the team members lived and worked together in a shared apartment, which made collaboration more effective than in a virtual team, but frustrations over space constraints led to the team moving into two neighboring apartments instead. Though the original Kickstarter campaign aimed to have the game released in 2012, the game did not release until January 2014, under the name Octodad: Dadliest Catch. The development time for the game was 2 years and 7 months. Additional free downloadable content, titled "Octodad Shorts", were released on October 14, 2014, which is all bundled together here in the Switch release.

Taking The Tentacles Out For A Spin

So I have to admit, when I first started playing and was getting the controls down, I immediately thought how I’m going to hate this game and wondered how it had gotten such high praise, but by the time I was getting married, I became more used to controlling Octodad and was already sold on it. I was surprised how often I was biting my lip focusing as hard as possible to not knock things over and expose myself. Some aspects were still tough though when it came to controlling Octodad, even with the learning curve.

The controls come with a learning curve, as I just stated. Each trigger is designated for each one of his legs, as you push forward with the left stick. You control his tentacles using both analog sticks, and grab things using the right top button. Of course, as you go on you learn more, and use these controls in many different ways. Depending on how hard you push the triggers is how big the steps he will take. This becomes increasingly difficult in the stealth parts of the game.

Fun Factor - Audio & Visuals

Some of the most mundane tasks were my favorite. As I played on, the more in-depth things like the stealth missions and boss battles weren’t as much fun, but that didn’t take away from my overall experience. There were a few times the camera was atrocious and would cut off so much that I felt like it was working against me on purpose, but no matter which part I was playing, the one thing I found was this game is just as much fun for the onlooker as it is for the person playing the game.

The silent-film-sounding music throughout the soundtrack is whimsical and fits well. The voice work is done well and I giggled every time Octodad would talk his gibberish fish talk. The visuals are dated—as I said, it came out in 2014. Though not groundbreaking, the cartoony and funny visuals are still pleasing, and the design is great from the main character to the level designs.

It’s A Wrap!!!

When I first started playing Octodad: Dadliest Catch I didn’t know what to expect, as I’d heard things—and the person I’d heard the most from about it was my 7-year-old son, as there is a YouTuber he likes who plays it, and he laughs as the guy plays the game. I wasn’t sure what his reaction to me playing would be or how I’d like it, but I can say now after finishing the campaign that, though I had times I wanted to rage-quit, I hung in, partly because my son was laughing his head off the whole time. So, in short, it’s a silly simulation and adventure game that’s family-friendly, and was a pleasure to play.

Score: 8/10

Buy Octodad: Dadliest Catch from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Young Horses

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