Catherine was a game I knew virtually nothing about but the web seemed to be buzzing with news about the upcoming puzzle title. When I had the opportunity, I decided to grab it to see what all the fuss was about.
Catherine is an M-rated horror/romance/puzzle/adventure video game from Atlus USA, released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and was developed by the same team that created Persona 3 and Persona 4(Neither of which have I played). The game follows Vincent, a young professional who is in a long term and committed relationship with a very pretty girl named Katherine. One night while sitting at the bar feeling confused and conflicted about life, he meets a pretty young girl named Catherine whom Vincent cheats on his girlfriend with. His infidelity ultimately results in feelings of guilt, and questions of commitment, relationships, infidelity, maturity and love, while intertwining the horror unexplained deaths of young men who are suspected to have been unfaithful.
The real meat and potatoes of the game in when Vincent goes to sleep where he’s thrust into a strange world inhabited by sheep while he himself is sporting a particularly dapper set of Sheep horns himself. During his nightmares, Vincent must climb to the top of a tower composed of blocks where he pushes and pulls blocks in an effort to escape the nightmare within a certain time limit as the tower is collapsing from below.
When Vincent completes a nightmare stage, he’s finds himself in a strange foyer with other sheep who are all talking and discussing techniques or just feeling like all hope is lost. As Vincent, you can interact with these sheep and even have some conversations and then a poll question with them all of which are logged and will ultimately help to decide which of the 8 endings the gamer will get. Each level has multiple stages with each level culminating in a boss battle where the boss is a huge Monster that’s climbs the tower trying to kill Vincent – Most of the time, I found the bosses to be far too quick on the draw and difficult to outpace.
The game doesn’t just confine Vincent to his dreams though. Each day the gamer will take Vincent through certain aspects of his day where we interacts with his girlfriend Katherine, his friends, Patrons at the bar and the strange new Katherine whom he cheated on his girlfriend with through conversations and text messages. His interaction with his surroundings/friends also have a bearing on the final outcome of the game.
I have to admit that despite the frustratingly annoyances I felt a times with this game(I hate feeling rushed), it was pretty enjoyable experience. The story is odd which is exactly what you’d expect to see from an Anime movie but the gameplay is pretty fluid even if it seemed impossible at times. If you like puzzle games, this is a good pick for you.
Feed Your Console gives Catherine a surprising 7.5 out of 10
- Quirky story
- Anime Art Style
- Entertaining interactions with other sheep
- The boss battles can be more than a little frustrating – They move too quick