I remember the first time I saw Octodad. It was GDC 2011 and the nation was alive with the emphatic and heartfelt beats of Lady Gaga's Born this Way. Ok, I just looked up pop songs from 2011, so I don't actually remember that being true, nor do I recall the song, but whatever. Even though I couldn't play Octodad for myself at the time it still made an impression.
Octodad's general premise is that you are an octopus trying to pretend to be a person. Of course this requires walking on two tentacles while you use two others for arms. The game is filled with a bunch of seemingly easy tasks that are made infinitely more difficult because you're an octopus. Octodad Dadliest Catch is the sequel to that game I saw more than two years ago and the first game in the series to have a console release and it's just as odd, funny, and difficult as the first.
The demo I played was of a wedding. Octodad had to get dressed in his tux, then walk down the aisle and put the ring on his fiancee's finger. Easy enough, right? Well the first thing you'll have to do is get used to controlling a cephalopod's “arms”. When in arm mode the left stick moves in the X and Y planes, so basically to the sides and forward and back. The right analog stick moves the arm up and down in the Z-axis while the R1 or X buttons grab whatever your arm is touching. These controls combined with the momentum attached to the movements make even the simplest things like picking up a key and putting it into a door as difficult as herding cats and just as funny.
Walking around is notably easier. Tapping L1 will switch to walking mode and from there you can use the R2 and L2 triggers to alternate between moving the right and left legs. The animation for this is hilarious but actually making it happen is notably easier than arm mode. While Octodad is funny and challenging when the titular character is by himself, it really comes into its own as a game when humans are watching with suspicion. After finding a tux, and grabbing a bow tie from a stained glass window all while breaking things and making a general mess of the place it was time to walk down the aisle.
Now that there were people around I wasn't able to act as haphazardly as I did before. Unlike previously, where simply walking around was an act of destruction, I was forced to gingerly walk down the aisle. Easily knocked down flower settings were on either side and banana peels randomly strewn around because someone up there hates me. After what felt like an age I managed to get myself to my wife-to-be and all I had to do was rummage through a nearby chest for the ring and gingerly place it on her finger. The demo was complete and Octodad and his fiance shared a kiss that is probably illegal in most states.
Octodad will be releasing on Steam, PC, Mac, and Linux in January while the PS4 version I played will release in the Spring. It's probably not the kind of game you should play if you need your games to have “pixel perfect” controls. That said, if you love a humorous concept and 'challenging for all the wrong reasons' gameplay then this just might be for you.