A game about an Octopus that cons a woman into believing that he’s a man, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is by far the weirdest, craziest, and wackiest thing I have ever played – even beating the rudeness that was South Park: The Stick of Truth with its ridiculous scenarios.

Now how the heck does this kind of game manage to capture my heart and attention when it’s only a few hours long? The gameplay, sound, and awesome animations definitely have something to do with it; but better yet, my experience with Octodad: Dadliest Catch on the Vita felt even better than my experience with the game on the PlayStation 4.

It’s no secret to the player that this dad is actually an octopus, as crazy as it may be for his family to accept that. The brilliant minds at Young Horses have managed to make silly, off-the-wall, and almost down-right terrible controls work towards their game’s advantage, and even make it the sole reason why it was so enjoyable. Take everything you know about good game mechanics and throw it out the window. The challenge and entertainment comes from doing ordinary tasks, but with some of the worst controls you’ll ever use in your life.

The left and right triggers are used to control the movement of Octodad’s limbs (only two are usable, thank god), while the thumbsticks control the directions in which they’re being moved. The catch is that the limbs don’t move where they should (or where you want them to), and you just have to move them in the general direction of your target and hope that they reach or touch it. Luckily, the game is pretty generous by automatically moving you towards the object in question once you’re close enough, but it’s an odd mechanic for sure.

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With these unique controls you’ll be mowing the lawn, making coffee, clambering up a gigantic playground, and grilling burgers – and despite how difficult some of these tasks seem as an octopus, actually doing/attempting them are some of the most fun parts of Octodad! On the other hand however, hiding from scientists is not. Luckily you won’t have to deal with them for long, but the stealth bits of Octodad are a drag, and feel like a complete shift in objective from the crazier parts of the game.

The story of Octodad is surprisingly heartwarming. Although you won’t be sobbing your eyes out or have your heart strings plucked at like they were while playing a game such as The Last of Us, there’s an element found in Cartoon Network-style cartoons that can be found here. Could we possibly see an Octodad animated series at some point in the future? Unlikely, but holy crap that’d be cool.

I think that Octodad‘s soundtrack is one of the game’s stronger points, but it is also one that sleeps on you until you take the time to appreciate it. Everything from the opening theme song (which is seriously awesome, by the way) to the sound effects heard while you’re creeping through a human world disguised as a dad, slipping on bananas and collecting ties – all of it simply rocks! Not to mention some of those sound effects would make me laugh to myself as I subjected the titular character’s unsuspecting wife through torture, mowing down her flower patch just to get to one of thirty collectible ties.

I’m a monster; a monster with eight legs.

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Now, I’ve gone on enough about how much I enjoyed Octodad: Dadliest Catch, but how does it transfer over to the Vita? It was originally released on PC, so it’s safe to assume that changes were bound to be made. The first thing that will stick out are the load screens, as you’ll be forced to endure them in-between every level. They’re something I’ll take being that the game was ported over from PC, but they will certainly be noticeable to those who nitpick such things.

What is annoying however are the in-level load times – where every now and then during a level the game would load for a few seconds before starting you right back where you left off. I would have preferred longer load screens between levels if it meant not having to deal with that unpredictable and repetitive mess, and it definitely took me out of the experience a few times as it breaks continuity somewhat.

Another difference (albeit trivial) found in the Vita version was the removal of objects that are found in the PC and console versions. For example, the entrance of the grocery store is missing some crates and a treadmill where they were originally found. That said, things like the soda can mountain found in the level are still present – to my surprise. These missing objects aren’t too big of a deal, but they were noticeable – even to someone that hadn’t seen that part of Octodad in over a year.

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On the plus side, it was great to see how good Octodad looks and runs on Vita (aside from the aforementioned load issues). It doesn’t look Young Horses had to sacrifice any of the game’s awesome animations, as these and the art style have stayed intact in the transition to the handheld. I never experienced any performance issues either, and while the load times are a pain I accept them as a necessary evil for us to be able to enjoy Octodad as close to as was intended.

As I mentioned, this was the best time I had with the game. It just feels right on the Vita , rather than on my television, where I felt a tiny bit disconnected due to the wonky controls being so essential to the experience. Having the screen right in your face and seeing the result of flicking your finger towards the nearest object to topple with Octodad‘s limbs is like no other.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch feels right at home on Vita, and is (in my opinion) one of the best games available on the device – though it helps of course that it also includes all of the content from its PC and console counterparts, plus the DLC. The game’s crazy scenarios and concepts will leave you highly amused, scared, and confused – but are all worth the wait it took for the title to be ported onto the handheld.

Those with a strict set of rules on how a game should play may not find it as enjoyable as I did, but the hilarity of the mundane tasks you’re forced to do as an octopus should be more than enough to get most of you through this bizarre ride with a smile on your face. Though it’s not a long game (clocking in at around 3-5 hours depending on play-style), it’s certainly one of the more enjoyable ones you’re able to take with you.

  • Patrick Wilson Vetsch

    South ParkStick of Truth, WORD. Ubisoft should have that ported for the vita

  • leingod

    I’m one of those who cringe at unstable or low framerates on these ports, so it’s nice to know it runs stable! Definetely giving it a go soon.

  • Joshua Simpkins

    Hella on point review, Will. I agree with your score as well. I did an unboxing of the Limited Run Games physical release for Vita on my YouTube Channel if anyone is interested in watching.

    https://youtu.be/LUkVMZBiPjw