Catherine (Available on PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: M
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Parent Talk: The ESRB rates Catherine M for Mature for a variety of reasons. There’s a lot of cursing, alcohol use, sexual innuendo, partial nudity and violence. Needless to say this is a game for adults only.
Plays like: Umm…nothing really. It’s part Q-Bert and part dating sim.
Review basis: Completed the PS3 version with the ‘good’ ending on Normal difficulty. Currently replaying to unlock the remaining trophies.
Catherine is one of the most unusual, but creative videogames released in the last decade. That’s also why it’s one of the few released this summer you shouldn’t be without. Don’t allow the bizarre screenshots or funky trailers to scare you away, Catherine is also extremely fun and challenging.
Catherine is different…really different. How many times have you played a game that can’t be compared with anything else on the market? Truly? Catherine is a puzzle game at heart, wrapped around a social/dating sim. This strange mix is so excellent you may end up losing sleep over it, like I did.
+ A fantasic story. Vincent Brooks has dated Katherine for the past few years and she wants to marry. Vincent’s unsure, and spends evenings with his buddies at their local bar getting smashed. One night he meets a woman named Catherine and finds himself in bed with her the next morning. You can’t begin to imagine where the story proceeds from there.
+ Your choices are crucial to the outcome. Do you ditch Katherine for Catherine or try to salvage your long-term relationship? Your choices don’t just affect the plot, but directly impact gameplay. Drink too much the night before and you’ll regret it come bed time.
+ Fun, challenging and addictive. Every evening Vincent lives out a nightmare in which he must climb a series of blocks to reach a doorway high above. As he ascends, lower blocks fall into oblivion. Vincent also needs to figure out how to connect the blocks in order to climb them. Throw in a few helpful items, and hopefully Vincent survives the nightmare.
+ Rewarding. Expect to die…a lot. There are many ways to move the blocks around, but Vincent’s movements are limited. The game can occasionally stump you, and if Vincent procrastinates too long, he falls to his doom. Upon reaching the destination, you’re treated to another excellent sim chapter that dives deeper into the intricate storyline.
+ The Stray Sheep is an amazing place. This bar acts as the game’s hub. Here you can talk to the various patrons, play an arcade game or mess with your cell phone. Everything you do at the Stray Sheep links to the nightmare world, so you constantly have to be on your toes and make careful choices.
+ Extras galore. When you initially complete the game, a co-op and competitive two-player mode unlocks that’s a blast to play. Every nightmare can also be replayed to better your skills and improve your standing. Pre-ordering the game netted you an art book and soundtrack from Atlus, both of which are awesome.
+/- The voice acting isn’t amazing, but fits anime style. Some actors simply overacted their portions, but for the most part it’s not bad.
Sheep with horns, and red eyes. Creepy!
Catherine is a wonderful game that should be experienced by anyone old enough to understand its charm. I loved all the choices, multiple endings and Vincent’s moral dilemma. Did he really cheat on his long-time girlfriend or is something else going on here? There’s only one way to find out; you must play!
Average Score Scale: 8.0 (+/- 1) out of 10
Personal Final Score: 9/10 (Inflated)
Reason for +1 Inflation: Highly creative
Reason for -1 Deflation: A little too unique for some