Comedy is often said to be the most difficult form of fiction to do properly. Being able to tell a story, craft characters and build a world — all the while holding down a sharp comedic beat — is a skill that few people have. Consider wrapping all those elements around the additional challenges of making a #videogame (entertaining pace, engaging mechanics, proper difficulty) and it’s not shocking to notice that games don’t tackle comedic subjects very often.
However, in the past month, two independent games have hit digital marketplaces with the goal of scratching a funny bone. Even more interesting, they go about this task in two very different ways.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch (PC/Linux, coming soon to PS3/PS4; $14.99 USD): Octodad starts off with one of the most brilliantly stupid premises in recent gaming history. You play a loving father who would go to the end of the earth to please his two kids and lovely wife. But you have a deep secret, that nobody can know about and you are actually a large orange octopus that has shoved itself into a three-piece suit. Doing everyday human tasks as an octopus is difficult — with the controls accurately simulating boneless appendages. Combine that with a series of physics-based challenges designed to go awry and it’s hard not to at least crack a smile at Octodad’s antics.
Part of what makes the game so charming is its commitment to style. The whole thing feels like a lost 70s cartoon, a slapstick farce about an octopus who wants nothing more than to be human and has seemingly fooled everyone in the process. Clever writing and fun characters also pop up the narrative, but what really sells the joke is the game play. Usually, inaccurate control is considered a devastating flaw. But everything is structured to go wrong in just the right ways. Like a classic Three Stooges routine, there’s a method to the madness.
Jazzpunk: (PC/Mac/Linux, $14.99 USD): If Octodad is like an old-school slapstick cartoon, then Jazzpunk is late-night humor in the vein of Tim and Eric and Robot Chicken. Published by Adult Swim Games, this first-person adventure takes place in a hyper-stylized world of 60s spy antics, nonsensical medication and pigeon pheromones. While each mission has a set objective to complete, the real fun is found in exploring the environment, discovering different hidden gags and non-sequitur mini games. It’s all delightfully insane, beautifully crafted and hysterically funny.
There’s not much actual game play to speak of: You’ll get a few simple puzzles to complete, but most of the challenge is in scouring the environment and looking for jokes hidden in the most remote of places. Every level is absolutely dense with humor rather than just being “random for the sake of random.” There’s an underlying logic to every stupid little gag.
Both of these titles are fairly short. The end credits come after about 3-4 hours of game play. The length actually works in their favor as “brevity is the soul of wit.”
So if you’re looking for something new to play until the big March releases, consider these comedic gems.
Reblogged from: dailyemerald.com