Dad Beat Dads is an indie, couch multiplayer brawler in which you play as various dads doing what dads do best… like beating each other up, throwing diaper bricks and climbing the corporate ladder. The usual stuff then!
There are three different game modes for Dad Beat Dads. All of which have a few customization options available, like being able to amend the length of game or the rounds which are included. You can even decide to switch friendly fire on for teams if you so wish!
In ‘Corporate Ladder’, the game moves vertically and you must jump to higher platforms to avoid being cut off at the bottom and dying. Along the way, scattered about, are treasure chests full of gold, power-ups and buttons, but it is the gold which is the real goal in this mode. Whoever has the most coins by the end wins. Killing other players makes them lose gold whilst punching them in the face sees them drop coins that you can then steal. The gameplay itself is very fun and perfect for party play. The power-ups add to the strategy, allowing you to throw bombs, fly with a jetpack, magnetise yourself so all the coins come to you etc. There are three different maps included in Corporate Ladder which may not seem like much, but they all have unique elements to them and there’s only so much you can do with a vertical scrolling map. My favourite was “The Floor is Lava” – you can guess what happens!
‘Diaper Sniper’ puts you in an arena with the other dads, and a brick wrapped in a diaper is dropped onto the screen. In order to kill another dad, you have to grab the brick and throw it at them. After several rounds, the dad with the most kills wins. This is the more typical brawler mode, but it still manages to make things feel unique with the awesome brick mechanic. It does an amazing job of keeping players from button mashing and jumping around in a frantic, thoughtless manor. You have to focus and be precise to avoid flying bricks and pick up ones before anyone else. Sniper has far more maps than Corporate Ladder and they’re all pretty good additions with most of them doing a great job of feeling unique, bringing about a different style of play from the others.
Lastly, ‘Smash N’ Grab’ is the funniest of the game modes. Each dad carries a baby on their back and the goal of the game is to punch other dads so that they drop their baby. You then get to pick up the baby and take it back to your coloured door. The concept itself made me laugh, but seeing it in action is hilarious. The babies look so happy while their dads viciously rip each other apart. Smash N Grab is by far my favourite of the three modes, but not just for the humour. Corporate Ladder runs like the fun party mode, whilst Diaper Sniper feels like the high skill, fast paced mode that people would be playing at an eSports event. Smash N Grab however is the perfect mix of both. It’s not as tense or precise as Diaper Sniper, but still feels like it requires skill. It allows players to really compete, but isn’t so tense that it ruins friendships.
The music and art in Dad Beat Dads are both great, never feeling out of place or awkward. The animations had me laughing, especially the death sequences and the Space dad’s punch animation, which involves an alien bursting from his chest. The game has a great variety of characters that all feel about the same, but have their own little quirks, with the audio coming from the narrator one of my favourite parts of the entire game. He is well voiced and many of his lines are funny and unique when the developers could have perhaps gotten away with a more generic approach.
A big issue that I have with the game however is with the bots. They are very overpowered. Playing on easy mode, the bots won 80% of the time. Playing the game with a friend, it’s quite possible that I’m just terrible, but that means my friend also sucks and it’s a lot less fun to play Diaper Sniper when death occurs within the first two seconds and the rest of the match involves watching two bots duke it out. I definitely hope they decide to add an extra difficulty option for terrible people like me.
The tutorial mechanics are an interesting approach though. After selecting your character, the game tells you how to play in the character selection box. You have to follow the instructions with your character in order to proceed. This can also be turned off for people who already know what they’re doing. Unfortunately, there are many aspects of the game that could have used further elaboration. For instance, I’m still not entirely sure how skills work. It seems like each character has a passive skill, but I’m not sure when they trigger or why they do so. A good addition to the game would be character descriptions somewhere on the screen when you’re selecting your character.
Overall, I’m more than happy with Dad Beat Dads and think that it is a blast, especially with friends. It’s great for parties, but it’s still fun to play alone as the game relies almost entirely on skill without luck having any noticeable effect; something which makes it a fantastic game to play competitively.
Unfortunately, there’s no online multiplayer, but I can’t say it loses much not having it.