By Kimari Rennis
It’s been a long time. The geniuses behind Plants Vs. Zombies have finally released Octogeddon for the world to revel in. Octogeddon is a brand new arcade-style strategy game filled with humor and the destruction of cities from an enraged cephalopod.
The motive behind Octogeddon’s destructive behavior lies in his perception of the human race he sees on the Internet. To him, humans are rude, impractical, and have a horrifying taste in food. Deep in an underwater cave, Octogeddon sits browsing the Internet and out of curiosity, he clicks on a video of a chef preparing sushi. In horror, the chef lifts up a slimy tentacle and slices it clean in half with a knife. The mutant octopus’ disbelieving eyes become filled with rage.
What better way to seek revenge than to terrorize New York City? With every Internet post and thing that triggers the octopus, he goes on a rampage wielding mutated tentacles that take the form of venomous King Cobras, chickens that shoot explosive eggs and more. Octogeddon won’t hesitate to destroy everything in its path.
Much is this is due to the unbound creativity of George Fan which yields the intricate gameplay of Octogeddon. He implements simple controls and mechanics that make the game very strategic and challenging. On the current version on Steam, you use the left and right mouse button to rotate Octogeddon to destroy incoming submarines and ships trying to stop his rampage.
After each level, you earn new DNA and have the chance to purchase new limbs to mutate the octopus. Each change has a different functionality; some arms may be close range but instill high damage while other arms are long range with low damage. Some mutations, such as the penguin, do not damage enemies at all; instead, the penguin freezes to slow them down. With the great number of arms Octogeddon can have, and the different mutations you can equip, you constantly have to stay on your toes and focus on how you fight and synergize with each arm to complete the level.
There’s no doubt: You will die a lot. After each game-over you start over back in New York City with two plain tentacles. However, all the DNA and boosts that you’ve purchased with shells will always be available, granted you have enough coins when the time comes. The game gets even more technical when this apex predator gets onto land, determined to demolish well-known landmarks. You need to roll Octogeddon’s body carefully to use the mutation you want without getting hurt by incoming fighter jets and planes. These simple controls lead to quick gameplay and require on-the-fly strategy. The rush you get from reaching far into the game will leave you coming back for more and even allowing you to meta-cognate your new game plan so that you get even further when you lose.
I’ve been stoked for the release of this game ever since it was announced by George Fan. Ever since I received my golden ticket for the game at the New York Game Awards, I looked forward to feeling like a child once more. Aside from feverishly checking for more updates for the game, every now and then I’d take a gander at all the artwork and quality animations on Twitter, freshly baked by Rich Werner. And just like the original Plants Vs. Zombies, Octogeddon fills me with joy – giddy and anxious like a kid in a candy shop. I had a feeling of bubbling excitement that I hid with a content smile to avoid looking like a fool.
Octogeddon is filled with explosions, fighter jets and giant bosses ready to eliminate you and protect cities like New York and Paris – and that enormous octopus that looks like an angry, babbling baby. I sat at my desk for hours with my headset on listening to all the colorful destruction happening on my computer screen. With only two buttons to control the beast, I was granted limitless fun which is the magic only George Fan’s detailed ideas can bring.
Kimari Rennis is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern, part of our ongoing partnership with Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.