Octodad: Dadliest Catch Review

Octodad Dadliest Catch cover

What will happen if they find out? Will I be alienated? Will I lose the people I love? Will my life change for the worse?

I can’t let anyone find out.

From a mechanical perspective, Octodad: Dadliest Catch approaches stealth lightly, but the concept behind our surreptitiousness somehow sets the stakes much higher. We’re not worried about sounding alarms or alerting guards because they’ll open fire or compromise our mission, but because our happiness — life as we know it — is at risk of crumbling. Perceived consequences are emotional, and are therefore much more terrifying for the titular Octodad and the player behind the controller.


Octodad is an octopus. Octodad is a dad. He has somehow married a human woman and is living the American Dream with his wife and two children, but apparently nobody has realized that he’s actually a cephalopod. Ensuring that things remain that way is all that matters, and Dadliest Catch revolves around performing everyday family duties like housework and grocery shopping without raising suspicions.

Being an octopus, however, comes with a severe ineptitude at on-land locomotion, so Octodad controls about as precisely as a plate of cooked spaghetti. Arms and legs flail wildly as a result of the multi-input control for each limb, effectively conveying the extreme and unavoidable difficulty and clumsiness with which an octopus would attempt to do normal human things. Aside from being a huge pain — though the physical comedy is quite entertaining throughout the game — this is a huge red flag in the eyes of onlookers who notice all of the player’s little screw-ups. It’s very important to remain in control: cool, calm, and collected.

Despite the intentionally fumbling controls, the game is very forgiving when it comes to its consequences. There are only a few points when being seen is enough to send Octodad back to the previous checkpoint, because this component is governed by a meter at the bottom of the screen that fills up at different rates, depending on the faux pas in question and the particular eyes beholding it. The game is less about the systems in place than it is about walking in Octodad’s shoes with the weight of his situation on one’s shoulders.


While remaining lighthearted and humorous, Dadliest Catch is insightful, and effectively communicates the struggles of anyone who feels like they are hiding in plain sight. It’s easy to draw a parallel with homosexuality and the fears of coming out to friends, family, and society, but the message is also applicable to any aspect of oneself that may seem out of the ordinary, against the grain, or what others might denounce as “weird.” In the past, this could have been something as simple as playing Dungeons & Dragons or cosplaying, activities that have since become far more socially acceptable with the rise of popular “nerd culture.”

The metaphor is wonderful, and the resolution is uplifting. It’s not an incredibly deep exploration of the issues at hand, but it’s an important step toward a place many of us would like to see games heading. There isn’t a vast sea of content in Dadliest Catch, but it still feels just right in the end. The hard work and concentration put into every little action along the way, along with an unshakable concern for Octodad’s ultimate fate, make the experience feel larger and more significant than can be measured in megabytes. Especially for an audience receptive to its message, it’s definitely worth testing the waters with Octodad: Dadliest Catch.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

Comments are closed.