Price: £11.99 Developer: Young Horses Publisher: Young Horses Platform: PC
Octodad shouldn't work for quite a lot of reasons. It deliberately makes the simplest of tasks a struggle for the player to achieve, which in almost any other game would be considered unacceptable. In addition, it can quite convincingly be interpreted as a game which encourages you to laugh at a disabled person's misfortunes, which in any other game would be considered even more unacceptable. Yet somehow Octodad's executes its truly bizarre premise with surprising aplomb. In fact, Octodad only stops working when it starts trying to be something else.
The game casts you as the fatherly cephalopod, who despite his terrible attempt at disguising himself as a human, manages to fool almost everyone he encounters into believing he is Homo Sapiens rather than Squishius Fishius (this may or may not be the real Latin name for Octopipususes or whatever the bloody plural of Octopus is). He falls in love, marries, and inexplicably fathers two normal human children.
Dadliest Catch sees Octodad trying to get through a standard day; performing daily chores, going to the supermarket, and being chased through an aquarium by a psychotic sushi chef. Like we said, standard day.
Unfortunately for Octodad, his attempts to integrate himself into normal human society are constantly threatened by his distinct lack of skeleton, meaning that accomplishing the most straightforward jobs; making a cup of coffee, mowing the lawn, cooking burgers for his family, is at the mercy of his floppy limbs and haphazard gestures. Octodad's continual goal throughout the day is to get by without revealing his secret by wrecking the place with his clumsy body.
Dadliest Catch shares commonalities with the likes of Surgeon Simulator and QWOP, in that it has a deliberately unwieldy control system which, combined with the heavy use of physics, is used for the purposes of physical comedy. Moving the left and right sticks (we strongly recommend a joypad for playing Dadliest Catch unless you fancy a game of finger-twister on your keyboard) controls one of Octodads arms, while holding down the triggers at the same time will switch analogue control to his legs. Octodad can also pick up and throw objects, with a grunt that beautifully encapsulates his frustration at being so hindered by his own flimsy anatomy.
Watching Octodad stumble around, crashing through his house like a floppy bulldozer, accidentally grabbing all the items on a supermarket shelf except for the one object he actually wanted is invariably amusing, especially in the early stages, focussed on the everyday. But it isn't the case that the controls are simply bad. Rather, they're delicately balanced to ensure Octodad is difficult but not impossible to control, and while it would be wrong to say that Octodad can be mastered, you can improve enough to achieve things that initially seem impossible. It's basically Dark Souls: Suburbia Edition.