Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Too Did Not Suspect a Thing

I don't make a lot of Blind Faith purchases.  That's usually reserved for XSEED titles and the odd Vita game that I -don't- look extensively into by virtue of being a Vita game.  I had no interest in Octodad: Dadliest Catch in the weeks prior to its release, even despite hearing all sorts of praise and excitement for it in that time.  I admit to a little curiosity, but I never really looked into it at all - it was just a thing that existed right beyond my periphery, and I made no real effort to change that.  Then the day came and it released.  There was a Week-One Digital Discount on it for Plus Members, and that, of all things was what made me stop and think about it for a moment.

"Mogs, you -love- weird and quirky shit.  Octodad is literally the weirdest, quirkiest thing you've seen in a while.  And it's on saaaaaaaaaaale."  It didn't take much convincing.

I'll say it now - Octodad: Dadliest Catch is one of my favorite Blind Faith purchases I've made in recent memory.

It doesn't just look like the weirdest, quirkiest thing I've seen in a while, it -is- and it's -glorious- for that fact.  The premise is that you're an Octopus who, one day, just decided that it wanted to be a human being, so it took measures towards that and eventually found a nice woman, settled down, married her and had two kids.  So now he has normal, everyday things to do, except he is an octopus, so doing them is, er, rather difficult.  Therein lies the gameplay element of it.

Now, you would think that basing the gameplay around something awkward is an aggressively bad idea and with a lot of developers, you would be correct.  However, Young Horses (the developer) struck a perfect balance between difficult and hilarious for this.  During my introduction to the game, I meandered through the 'arm' tutorial with a grin on my face - it's awkward, at least a little bit, but it works and the silliness of the intro was still working on me.  However, the walking tutorial is where I lost it.  Few games have ever made me go, "Oh you are fucking kidding me!" in a voice that was full of glee and incredulity and mirth.  Usually it's done so with pure, unadulterated rage.  Not Octodad, however.

Two steps.  It took two steps before I began laughing and felt something akin to love for the game.  It was swift but not fleeting and it was decisive.  It was something that manifested over the course of the (disappointingly short) length of the game, and it's specifically why I would recommend it.

Describing the game is difficult, because it's a difficult game to wrap your mind around.  It's different.  Actually getting where you want to go is about 80% of the gameplay because of the way you maneuver, but saying that calls to mind a vision of frustration that I do not intend to draw, because it's deceptively amusing.  It is, quite simply, fun.

Were I hard-pressed to find fault with it, it would simply be that there's not enough Octodad to satisfy.  I needed another section or two to play to enjoy, as I found myself wanting when it was over.  Were there any game that would benefit from a Level Editor, it would be this game.  Yes, the community would by and large go to the inevitable place it always goes by making 'Super serious' skill challenge levels, but there would be the gems aside from those that introduce new and fun ways of thinking about the already enjoyable game, and it would have just added more.  Would have given you reason to play it longer than the 3-5 hours you'll invest in the game, likely including the time spent collecting all the ties should you desire that.  As it is, you'll want to beat the story, perhaps redo it for trophies if you are so inclined (As I am) and only come back to it everytime you want a little giggle.

It's not a bad thing, and indeed, wishing there were more of a game is more or less an indicator of its quality.  Perhaps some day we'll see more Octodad and on that day I will be there waiting with money in my outstretched hand tentacle hand.

oh, I mean Octodad is a totally normal human being, disregard most of this post

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