I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy watching people play video games since I can’t really play them since I panic easily. But that hasn’t stopped me from trying to play. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many games that seems to be geared towards me. And don’t you dare mention those awful Barbie games! God, how I hate them!
Then someone recommended I try a particular puzzle game. The concept of the puzzles are pretty simple and, since it’s a puzzle game, I should be able to play it, right? Well, yes, I’m able to play it and enjoy myself. But it sort of has a weird name and the cover art of the game doesn’t look like a puzzle game so I initially thought it was something like a hentai game.
The name of the game? Catherine. And it’s pretty awesome.
The gameplay has a very simple premise: you need to have your character move blocks around so you can climb up to the very top. Since the bottom is falling out, you can’t take your time so you have to make quick decisions on what blocks to move and where to move them.
The puzzles start out simple. But when you come to the later levels, they can become maddening and crazy. Moving blocks around without a plan can be disastrous since the entire structure can collapse or trap you. And that’s happened to me more often than I wanted! It’s a good thing they never really get frustrating and the game does give you tips on how to move the blocks around effectively. You won’t be able to remember them but it’s nice of them to teach you some of them.
While the gameplay is pretty fun, it wasn’t the main reason I really enjoyed Catherine. Oddly enough, it was the overall story that drew me in. You play as Vincent Brooks, a guy who doesn’t appear to have any ambition. He has a girlfriend named Katherine (note the “K”) that has big plans for the both of them… namely, getting Vincent to tie the knot with her.
One night, Vincent meets a young and free spirited girl named Catherine (with a “C”) and, in a drunken haze, they sleep together. Vincent realizes that he’s now cheating on Katherine with Catherine. His guilt appears to manifest in nightmares where he has to climb upwards to save himself (the aforementioned gameplay).
The storyline is pretty complex and pulls you in quickly. I really wanted to get through the puzzles as fast as I could just to get to the next cutscene! One of the major reasons why the story is so good is because the characters within the game seem really fleshed out. I love the contrast between Katherine and Catherine. Although Katherine is a pretty caring person, she is pretty driven, responsible and goal oriented. This is in direct opposite to Catherine, who’s a perky, flirtatious and happy-go-lucky spirit.
Vincent loves to hang out in a bar called the “Stray Sheep.” The bar is a pretty fun place to poke around since there’s a lot of things to do here. Here, you get to interact with his friends and other people as they come and go. You can also check on your cell phone to reply to messages you receive, check on pictures that Catherine may have sent you. You can even unlock music during your gameplay and listen to them on the jukebox! My favorite thing to do at the Stray Sheep is just getting Vincent to drink a lot and learn some facts about all the drinks he’s had!
During the game, you’ll be asked during a confessional about your likes, dislikes and opinions on some topics, such as if marriage is the beginning or end of life. When you answer it, you’ll see the results of how people answered the question and see where you fall under. It’s a pretty nice touch. If you’re offline, you’ll see the results of a poll that was taken. If you’re online, you get to see how other people answered it. But I think the results are already skewed since a lot of the answers also include people who replayed the game and who want to see the different endings.
The endings are selected by the choices that you make. Whether it be the previously mentioned confessionals, how you reply to people or even how you reply back in your text messages, you’ll see something like a “morality” meter. But it’s not a “morality” meter at all. The guys at Atlus did a pretty good job in explaining this at the end and I was completely satisfied on how they answered it.
It’s very difficult for me to think of anything bad about Catherine… especially since it’s actually something I can play! Honestly, I loved this game from start to finish. I guess the only thing I can say is, maybe, once you finish the game, playing through the first couple of stages feels boring. But that’s it.
Catherine is a fantastic game. It has very brilliant gameplay and a stunning story. It’s definitely something that you need to play… since it’s one of those rare games that I can actually play!
How about you? Have you played Catherine? Are there other puzzle games that intrigue you? Please leave them in the comments section below!