Skip to main content

Octodad Dadliest Catch review

Octodad: Dadliest Catch screenshot 1
Octodad Dadliest Catch
MSRP $1,499.00
“Young Horses' Octodad: Dadliest Catch makes up for clunky controls and a rough final act with undeniable humor and charm.”
  • Awkward controls only add to the humor
  • Deft combination of humor and charm
  • Lots of possibilities for player-created madness in Workshop
  • Unexpected difficulty spike in the final act kills the momentum
  • Extremely short

If charm alone could carry a game, Octodad: Dadliest Catch would already be a lock for Game of the Year contention. Developer Young Horses dives deep into the awkward hilarity of telling this bizarre story of an octopus pretending to be a loving human husband and father. The cumbersome controls at the heart of this adventure are needfully frustrating – you’re flopping around on octopus tentacles, after all – while still being manageable. It’s just too bad that an ungainly gameplay leap in the too-brief story’s final act sucks some of the fun out of an otherwise silly good time.

Everything in Dadliest Catch depends on the odd, intentionally unintuitive control scheme. The game’s levels are (for the most part) built around simulating mundane, everyday activities like pouring a glass of milk for your daughter or grilling up a stack of burgers. The challenge and the humor are derived from the odd spectacle of prodding an impossibly land-walking octopus into taking care of an air-breathing human family.

Everything in Dadliest Catch depends on the odd, intentionally unintuitive control scheme.

On a standard gamepad, you press the left and right triggers to lift each of Octodad’s tentacular legs and then use either analog stick to move the raised appendage. This turns even the act of walking into a laborious process of manually raising a leg, pushing it forward, letting it drop, then repeating that with the other leg– which sometimes get wrapped around or otherwise caught on something. The sticks also move Octodad’s grasping “arm” when neither trigger is held down, and the A button (Xbox 360 gamepad) allows you to pick up and drop items with your suction cups. Fine motor control is rendered nearly impossible by the fact that Octodad’s limbs return to their natural center when you release the analog stick.

It sounds horrible because it is horrible. But in a genuinely funny way that instantly mitigates any control frustrations. Riotous calamity follows your every tentacle twitch. Logically, this shouldn’t be fun. Of course, logic flew out the window the moment you sat down to play a game about an octopus posing as a human. A task as simple as mowing the lawn turns into a Herculean test of patience and willpower as you whip around trying to avoid flower beds and family members. The solemn joyfulness of the game’s opening wedding march is really a disastrous comedy of shattered flower vases and crushed banana peels. Why are there banana peels on the floor of a church?!

All of this fumbling physical comedy is offset by the straight-faced family that surrounds our hero. Octodad makes Gumby look graceful and he sounds like a drowning Wookiee when he speaks, but his wife and kids don’t seem to notice any of that. They adore the lovable lug, and it’s strangely touching. Beneath all the slapstick silliness, there’s a goofy, clumsy family man taking care of his genuinely happy family. You can almost imagine Octodad beckoning his family to join him on a road trip to Wally World.

The early game’s everyday scenarios are occasionally interrupted by run-ins with a mad chef who sees through the charade. These escape sequences, coupled with the zany family time, sustain Dadliest Catch‘s short running time quite well until the final section of the game. A surprise visit to the local aquarium goes horribly awry, giving way to a handful of poorly realized stealth sequences and a punishingly challenging dash through a burning room. The difficulty spike is as unwelcome as it is unexpected, and it’s here that control frustration finally overwhelms the formerly-consistent hilarity of Octodad’s awkward octoposity.

The roughly two-hour story is joined by a freeplay mode that allows you to return to any section of the story. You can work to improve your completion times, search for any of the three collectible ties hidden throughout each level, or you can just go create a mess because there’s simple pleasure to be had in watching Octodad fumble his way around. A co-op mode allows two players to split the controls to whichever limbs they’d like – which is as loud and uncoordinated as it sounds – and a Workshop mode allows you to play created levels, either your own (using the supplementary editor app) or those created by others.

The story’s a bit too short and the third act’s jarring gameplay shift may leave some unhappy, but there’s a delightfully awkward game at the heart of Young Horse’s efforts. The basic concept of an octopus posing as a family man is almost too deranged for this world, but it works (surprisingly well, too) far more often than it doesn’t. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is a wonderful mess in all the right ways.

This game was reviewed on PC using a code provided by the publisher.


  • Awkward controls only add to the humor
  • Deft combination of humor and charm
  • Lots of possibilities for player-created madness in Workshop


  • Unexpected difficulty spike in the final act kills the momentum
  • Extremely short

Editors' Recommendations

The best weapons in Fortnite during Chapter 3, Season 4
New characters from Fortnite Chapter 4, Season 2.

Surviving in Fortnite and securing a Victory Royale takes skill and luck. Getting better at Fortnite requires a knowledge of the playing field and a drive to outlast your opponents, but none of that matters if you aren't picking up the right weapons. Building a loadout that suits your playstyle and managing your inventory as the match progresses is key to snagging a win. You don't want to be caught in a long-range battle against someone on a mountaintop without a solid rifle on hand, and you certainly don't want to find yourself inside a close-quarters building without an SMG or shotgun.

Our guide to the best weapons in Fortnite breaks down rarity types and what they mean, the most effective arms in each weapon category, and tips for how to use them. Chapter 4, Season 2 brought a lengthy list of changes to the Fortnite arsenal -- including new weapons and the return of some fan favorites.

Read more
How to find the Giant Squid in Hogwarts Legacy
A giant squid in a lake.

Open-world games are notorious for hiding little Easter eggs around the map for adventurous players to discover. Hogwarts Legacy hides plenty of these, but one of them is by no means small. Of all the magical creatures you can find and interact with in the game, there's one that you'd be lucky to even catch a glimpse of if you don't know where to look. The Giant Squid is nearly as elusive in the game as it is in real life, but it's quite a sight to behold. While there's no real requirement or benefit to spotting the legendary creature, it is still a fun secret to experience for yourself. If you fancy yourself a monster hunter, here's how to find the Giant Squid in Hogwarts Legacy.
How to find the Giant Squid

There are three ways you can spot the Giant Squid in Hogwarts Legacy. The first is almost impossible to miss, and takes place during the main quest called "Flying Class" as you learn to fly the broomstick. As you're soaring over the Black Lake, keep your eye on the water's surface to see the tentacles rising up for a few moments.

Read more
The best N64 games of all time
ocarina of time hall fame the legend zelda

When the N64 was introduced to the gaming world, people were taken aback by how the graphics came to life compared to NES games and SNES. The concept of "3-D gaming" was entirely new, bringing us closer to the characters and stories we already loved. New Mario games and Pokemon titles became some of the highlights for the system, bringing characters to life in a way we had not seen before. Although not all the games from the N64 could survive the tests of time, there are quite a few that have place in our hearts. In honor of these games we grew up and loved so much, we have compiled a list of all of the best N64 games based on their genre.

If you think you can name all the best N64 games, read on and see how well you do.

Read more