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Octodad: Deadliest Catch review: Octopi and suits don't mix, and that's the point

Hayden Dingman | Feb. 11, 2014
Octodad is a great gimmick that takes itself too seriously. But at least the theme song is amazing!

Here I am: A man in a three-piece suit, attempting to use a children's slide. It's a lot harder than I remember. Impossible, really. But my daughter is goading me on from the patio, "Come on, Daddy! Try out the slide!" How could I possibly break her adorable little heart?

I lift one gelatinous leg up over my head and gingerly place it on the third step. Only three more to go! Halfway there. I lift my other leg, placing this one at the top of the ladder. I've done it! Now I just have to lift the first leg up to the top...

My first leg gets hooked on one of the ladder rungs as it ascends, pulling me off balance. I lose control, desperately flailing my arms. It's no good — I slip awkwardly over the side in a puddled mass, collapsing to the ground, a shapeless yellow blob in a striking Italian suit.

I begin to wonder how nobody realizes I'm an octopus.

Suspect behavior
Yes, you are a father who is also an octopus — thus the "Octodad" name. And, as the game's excellent theme song helpfully informs you, "nobody suspects a thing." Well, except for your archenemy, a crazed chef who is somehow the only person who sees through your incredibly poor disguise to your true nature.

Octodad: Deadliest Catch joins a legion of other recent games where movement is the hardest mechanic to master. Think QWOP, Surgeon Simulator, or Probably Archery. In that spirit, I do not recommend playing this game with a mouse and keyboard — plug in a gamepad if you've got one handy. I assume the developers agree, seeing as you unlock a Steam achievement for plugging in a controller.

You'll control three appendages in the game. By default, the left analog stick moves one of your arms toward and away from your body, while the right stick raises and lowers the arm. By pulling the left or right trigger, the sticks instead take control of Octodad's legs.

It's a lot harder than it sounds. And a lot sillier.

The writing is just as ludicrous. Octodad must navigate the perils of modern family life, working with his human wife to raise his two all-human kids to be model American citizens or whatever. Of course, talking to your kids about sex is quite a struggle when you can only communicate in flustered blub blub noises.

Early levels are — as absurd as it sounds — a heartwarming peek into life as an octopus disguised as a human. It's family values soul-food, with a dash of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Pour your daughter a glass of milk. Mow the lawn. Throw some balls around the backyard. Cook some burgers. Weed the garden.

 

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