Octodad: Dadliest Catch preview: calamari chaos

By Ozzie Mejia, Jun 14, 2013 9:00am PDT

Who's that giant cephalopod trying to make his way down the chapel aisle? It's Octodad, of course! Octodad: Dadliest Catch is the sequel to the original game from Young Horses. Originally created for PC, the indie developer was courted by Sony to be among the many indie titles to launch with their new console. I got to go hands-on with the PS4 version on the E3 show floor.

The Dadliest Catch demo started out by going into the title character's past. The object was to help Octodad prepare for his wedding and guide him to the altar. It sounds mundane on the surface, but the mere act of movement is a big part of what makes playing as a giant octopus so much fun.

Fans of the original PC game will be happy to hear that Octodad's movements translate perfectly to consoles. Players use the L1 button to switch back-and-forth between arms mode and legs mode. The shoulder buttons are used to move each appendage and the analog sticks determine their position. In any other game, this kind of movement would be aggravating. But there's something delightfully slapsticky about Octodad, especially as I dopily knocked over stacks of objects that happened to be near me.

Dadliest Catch asked me to perform seemingly-mundane tasks like grab a key off a rack and pick up a tuxedo, but the wacky control scheme made it more of a challenge than I expected. It was almost like fishing, as I had to guide the tentacle to the right spot and guide the object to its target. It was surprisingly appealing and I couldn't help but notice that I was gathering a crowd of spectators, as they watched me try to fish a wedding ring out of a box of junk.

The demo's final sequence tasked me with walking down the aisle without arousing suspicion, so I had to walk down the aisle carefully without knocking objects over or slipping on bannana peels. Slipping up would fill the ink meter up slightly. A full ink meter results in Octodad being exposed as the giant mollusk that he is.

The Dadliest Catch demo showed off one chapter of Octodad's past and the rest of the game promises to flesh out the rest of his backstory. With the PC version's control scheme translating perfectly to PS4, Dadliest Catch could be one of the major standout indie titles on Sony's new console. It's set to arrive by the end of 2013.

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