Octodad: Dadliest Catch matches a great premise -- an octopus living among humans -- with a purposefully obtuse set of controls. The idea here is that, you know, it would be difficult to be a floppy, uncoordinated octopus to walk on land and pass for human.
Octodad is literally an octopus stuffed into a suit. He fell in love with a human woman and now has a lovely home and two precocious kids. The game starts out showcasing how ridiculous it is for the poor guy to perform simple tasks like making coffee, but it ends up a story about a father's love.
The greatest feat is a complicated control scheme that asks players to individually control Octodad's legs and arms. The result is a convincing simulation of how a creature with a lot of legs but no skeleton would stroll through a grocery store: hilariously.
Key to Octodad's quest is that average humans never discover he is an octopus. Stumbling into a gift shop's display will cause nearby strangers to notice you and wonder what's going on. While the level will restart if you cause too much damage, the game gives you a lot of leeway. Near the end, you will encounter marine biologists who "know a fish when they see one," but that's when the game asks you to find alternate routes instead of just blundering past skeptical eyes.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is one of the funniest games going, like an "Adult Swim" concept show turned interactive. The ongoing obliviousness of other characters strings the player along, where only the viewer is in on the joke.
PLOT An octopus dad is a fish out of water in the human world.
DETAILS PC/Mac, $14.99
BOTTOM LINE The disarming Octodad provides an ocean of fun.