It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any games, since I haven’t played much lately, but here’s an interesting one.
Catherine got my attention because I’ve seen quite a lot of cosplays and fanart from it on DeviantArt, and a lot of people have been mentioning how great the game is. I just assumed it was a dating sim, and wasn’t interested until I watched a short review on YouTube. Turns out it’s some sort of mix of the puzzle, horror and dating sim genres. Seemed interesting enough, and it was cheap on Amazon, so I bought it.
I guess the focus of the game is the story, and a huge part of your time will be spent watching cutscenes or listening to dialogue. Basically, the main character is cheating on his girlfriend, and he’s having nightmares due to guilt. And then a bunch of paranormal stuff starts happening, and people start dying in their sleep and all that. I found the plot quite entertaining.
Despite appearances, Catherine is actually a sort of block-puzzle game where you have to climb a tower of blocks by building stairs out of them, and doing all sorts of complicated climbing tricks. I actually found it very challenging towards the end, even on the easiest difficulty setting (I suck). The mechanics allow for a lot of different strategies, and the game gives you plenty of optional tutorials to teach you some of these. On top of that, there’s also boss levels, where you’ve gotta solve the puzzles while being chased and bombarded with projectiles. The levels actually happen inside of the main character’s dreams, so the bosses are things that scare him, like his girlfriend in a wedding dress, or his future baby. I think seeing the various bosses was one of the highlights of the game.
A lot of the plot seems to change based on the player’s choices, including the ending, and which secondary characters die. I don’t care enough to play the game more than once, but I did watch the other endings on YouTube, and it seems that I got the worst ending possible (no girls, no money). :P
My only major complaint is that there’s a bit too much gameplay between story sessions. Puzzle games are exhausting on the brain, and I’d like more frequent breaks. But maybe that’s just me.
Another minor issue is that the game wasn’t actually as mature as I was expecting. There’s nothing close to nudity or anything like that; just a lot of swearing and bloody violence. The box cover is probably more explicit than anything in the game!
Anyway, if you’re looking for something unusual to play, you should check it out. Took me around 10 hours to beat, so it’s not a huge time investment, but there’s plenty of extra stuff to do if you want to play longer. It wasn’t super-amazing, but it was a unique and memorable experience.