Catherine is a very strange game, if you’re the kind of gamer who spends all of his day prestiging with your bros you should close this review right now.
I started playing Catherine with a few doubts in my mind, a strange puzzle horror game where you turn into a sheep in your nightmare? I thought that Catherine would be a rental at best, boy was I wrong.
Catherine is like watching a movie with a really interesting story and great set of characters while once in while playing a set of deep and great puzzles, it’s the most original and unique game you will play this year.
The story of Catherine takes place in a town in Japan were you follow the character of Vincent brooks, a 32 year old office worker who likes to hang out in a bar with his friends and with no ambitions in his love life with his girl friend Katherine, in the town where Vincent lives a series of incidents in which young men die in their sleep have been occurring.
One day after contemplating marriage with his 5 year girlfriend Katherine he is approached late at night in a bar by a blond bomb shell named Catherine (with a “C”) who makes his decision easier, after sleeping with her his life begins to be a living nightmare in which he is trying to hide the fact that he has cheated on his long term girlfriend.
In addition to all that a series of nightmares filled with sheep and upscaling walls fill his dreams (don’t worry it gets weirder), in addition to that if he dies in the dream he dies in real life.
The story is the heart and soul of Catherin, its interesting, funny, scary and sexy.
I found myself wanting to skip the gameplay parts just to see what will happen next in Vincent’s horrible situation.
The characters in the story are also very well written and portray their personality very well.
During the game you will have to choose between being loyal to your girlfriend Katherine or your lover Catherine, this aspect of the game will make you want to play it over and over again only to see what is the outcome of your decisions.
The game also features 9 different endings which are decided by the decisions you make.
The artstyle in Catherine in my opinion is phenomenal, the story is presented in really preaty in game graphics and in between anime style cutscenes, I found myself blown away by the art style of the in game graphics while loving the anime scenes.
The in game graphics do not try to be detailed but try to be pretty and original.
The gameplay in Catherine splits into two sections, one section is when Vincent is asleep and you have to guide him and get him out of his nightmare by climbing his way up for his life, and one hen Vincent hangs out with his friends in their favorite bar.
The puzzles are really interesting and deep, you will have a sense of huge accomplishment once you finish a though level but feel a little bit cheated after finishing an easy level.
in the nightmare world you travel between puzzles which are series of walls which are made of blocks, Vincent will have to move, push and pull the blocks to get to the top of the wall and ring a bell (told you it got weirder), in addition to that as time goes on more and more blocks will fall and will make Vincent hurry to the top, after a series of puzzles you will encounter a boss battle which reflects Vincent’s problems in real life.
There is also a co op mode that consists of puzzles (the same puzzle style as in the story mode) that you and your friend can play together and test your intelligence in.
The puzzles can be hard but the game is split to three different difficulties that make the game easier and offer challenges to veteran players.
in addition, if you find the game too hard, on easy difficulty you can cancel your recent move if you made a mistake.
The second section of the game is also at night when you control Vincent hanging out with his friends in a bar; there you can have conversations with the townspeople and unraveling their story while discussing their trials and tribulations.
In the bar you can also text message the two Catherine’s, drink, watch very revealing photos of Catherine your sexy lover and play an arcade game which has the same gameplay as in your nightmare, this arcade game will train you for the hard puzzles which you will face in Vincent’s nightmares.
The bar section of the game is a blast, I found myself enjoying the bar more than the puzzles in the nightmares, there is so much to do and learn about the situation of the story and about alcohol (every time you finish a drink a narrator pops up and tells you interesting facts about different types of alcohol).
The sound in the game is good, I loved the twist of classical music and catchy elevator music in the bar although I thought the voice acting was a bit too overacted.
So, the reason you came to this review, should I buy it?
Well, if you’re the kind of gamer who loves an interesting story and likes puzzle gameplay it’s a definite buy, you will find yourself involved and interested in the story and liking the puzzles, you will finish the game again and again picking different decisions for the outcome of the story and changing the difficulty setting to challenge yourself more and more.
If you’re the kind of hardcore gamer who is waiting for the next triple A game and bored in the summer it’s a definite rent, a 15 hour game which will make an empty game summer bearable.
Final score: 9.0/10