Ordinarily how a game controls can be a big decider on whether or not we might find enjoyment in a game, if a game controls badly we fail to find a proper level of enjoyment because we struggle with how we play our game. Having a good control system is key to our enjoyment as we find ourselves being able to properly associate ourselves with a character or play the game that works for us. But what about when a game is a combination of both an excellent control system and an awful one, this is exactly the case that we find with Octodad Dadliest Catch a clever yet frustrating game.
As the name suggests or at least you could at least possibly suggest you are an Octopus who has been living on land posing as a human (which in itself proves just how stupid some of these people are). What is your biggest fear, well it is none other then being discovered and your life being torn apart and as such when your wife tells you that your family is taking a trip to the aquarium obviously you’re less then thrilled and concerned about being discovered. With this being the main premise other early parts of the story see you having to get married and deal with daily life as a family man or shall I say Octopus.
Obviously since you’re an octopus getting around is not easy particularly when you are trying to seem human, so clearly you are not going to have an easy time getting around in fact it is highly challenging. Because of this what would ordinarily be a simple task in real life becomes a struggle and due to this we find a good amount of patience is required. So people lacking patience will probably want to steer clear.
In one of the first levels you are tasked with doing a series of house chores and activities and these quickly prove to be harder than we would have originally thought. There are countless obstacles to maneuver around and the clumsy control system just makes things even more difficult, though that is not to say it is bad, on the contrary in these points the control system is brilliant in showing us exactly how this character would move around if it was real. We struggle to grab milk out of the fridge and then pour it into a bowl, we have a hard time mowing the lawn as the system controls and moving Octodad around is a struggle and getting him to go the way you want is not always an easy task constantly requiring heavy thought and concentration in order to succeed.
Most of the levels in Octodad are simple chores of life and activities that can take place in our own life, where the game starts you out getting married and struggling around the chapel to find your clothes, you are then facing down family chores as I previously mentioned. Then as well as this visiting an aquarium and not being noticed as a aquatic creatures and of course doing your families shopping is quite a chore requiring the use of your abilities as it can be called to get some of the items. Through each level it was hard not to have fun even if I was frustrated by my attempts to get to higher places and take my time to get to the right point.
Of course as fun as the game is and enjoyable as the control system was it does struggle to be enjoyable in small parts, namely throughout boss sections. These come down as small sections revolving a chef who is trying to cook Octodad and as such he is always trying to stop him in a wide variety of ways. These boss sections while interesting in theory often require you to run away from the chef and because of how awkward it already is to control Octodad it is a struggle when trying to beat these sections and at no point was I ever having fun during these points I was frustrated by how hard the system was in trying to avoid obstacles while moving quickly.
To put it simply Octodad is a challenging game but this character’s own style is what leads to some really fun gameplay on top of relying on solving your own body control issues there are also a series of puzzles to solve and complete. There aren’t many but there are points where you have to use Octodad’s contortion type abilities to get into small gaps to get to your objective. Of course in these moments where you must try to grab something or get through small spaces are where some of the games biggest struggles are. There are many points where I have found myself all tangled up and struggling to even move anywhere at all but finding my way out of these accidentally self caused situations was always satisfying because of the control struggles.
The best version of this game is definitely the Playstation 4 version. The controller matches the required skills perfectly and balancing each of Octodad’s limbs works incredibly well with each button having a specific use. The R2 and L2 buttons each control a leg and tied to how you choose to move the joystick is exactly how you get around. Now you can choose to take the gentle approach and just do small steps at a time but this gets annoying fast and full enjoyment is truly given when you are struggling to get to where you are heading to. Likewise it is also a struggle to grab things as maneuvering the joysticks in sequence with your arm to get to what you want, simple enough to say the control scheme presented on the Playstation 4 and the joysticks do at least deal with some of the games potential issues and frustrations and dealing with trying to achieve whatever objectives come your way is challenging with ensuring correct positioning but that is part of the fun.
Octodad is that game that hits the perfect spot between hating and loving the controls as essentially we are not meant to love or hate them, it is part of the game and what makes the game to be played. Octodad Dadliest Catch is a cheap download and a great game that I highly recommend giving a go to if you ever get a chance. Sure the controls are going to annoy you but a great game is a great game and it is hard to deny just how much fun Octodad is. It is possible to beat Octodad in a couple of hours but there are plenty of options for replaying levels and they are well worth it and really fun. If possible I would be very interested in seeing a follow up and seeing more challenges and obstacles to face