Too much money?
There's a fine line between "short but sweet" and "simply too short," and Octodad leans towards the latter. At $15 it's around the price of a film which, too, would last around the same amount of time, but with games often providing double that length for that amount of money (or less), it feels as though a lower price point might have helped make it feel like a better value. That, or it could have been longer--either way, you won't be happy with how much is there, for how much it costs.
You can't just "walk" in Octodad. Instead, you need to swing your tentacles around one at a time like you're trying to run without feeling in your legs. Moving your arms is just as difficult, and picking things up? Crazy difficult at first. The more you play the more natural it feels, but it never gets to the point where the relatively simple objective of "Chop firewood" is anything less than a Herculean task. Eventually, when stealth sections are mixed in, things do become more complicated than picking things up and putting them down, but the gameplay doesn't really evolve past the humor inherent in the core concept of the game.
But when everything is a struggle, everything is comedic. One of the funniest parts of the game? A section in a grocery store where I needed to climb up on something. That's it. It was one of those supermarket displays where a bunch of things were stacked up, and I needed to climb it, and I was crying laughing. I slowly lifted one tentacle with one analog stick, and then slowly put it onto the first box, and then slowly lifted up the other tentacle with the other analog stick, and then slowly put it on the next box--and then I fell down and needed to start over.
But there's a problem--just as it starts to ramp up, and just as you wrap your head around how to control Octodad through increasingly ludicrous situations, the credits roll. There's nothing wrong with a short game--some of the titles on our best games ever list clock in at between three and four hours in length--but at just under two hours, Octodad feels outright anemic. Another hour and one or two additional locations would have helped it tremendously, but instead, Dadliest Catch's pacing feels off. There's some replay value in co-op (which has players controlling Octodad together), collectibles, and the promise of user-made areas, but what's there just isn't enough.
Dadliest Catch is a slapstick comedy; you're basically playing as a cephalopodan version of Charlie Chaplin, skidding down a banana peel-filled hallway as crazy music plays and an angry chef chases you while screaming about how he wants to turn you into calamari. And at the same time, it's an endearing and--shockingly--relatable story about an octopus just trying to be a loving husband and father. It's engaging throughout, and the basic concept is so stupid and fun that it feels as though almost any situation would have made for a compelling and fun gameplay--making it even more heartbreaking when things come to a close far too soon.