Catherine is a really strange game. Catherine is the story of Vincent, a 30 something with a girlfriend, and no sense of commiting to marriage with her. Vincent’s, girlfriend, aptly named Kathrine, pressures him to marry at the beginning of the game. Vincent is unsure if marriage is what he wants, and talks about it to his friends at the bar. At this point, Vincent meets Catherine. (I know confusing right?) Catherine is a blonde bombshell who eventually gets Vincent to sleep with her, therefore cheating on his girlfriend, Kathrine.
The main gameplay of Catherine is the “Nightmare sections” and is full on puzzle gameplay. Its extremely well done, and addicting to play. Basically the nightmare involves Vincent having to climb a staircase of block puzzles or be killed. Its extremely well done, simple enough to get the hang of but difficult to master. The first half of the game is pretty tame but then the difficulty curve rockets into the sky once you get to area 5. I do like the progression of the puzzles, at first simple, then special blocks are added for each area, later throwing some truely mean special blocks in there. This allows for a nice variety in puzzle. When I say this game is difficult to master, it is very difficult. From area 6 on it took me a long time to beat each puzzle cause it became eaiser and eaiser to bone yourself from being able to go forward as you progressed. However, the game is pretty helpful in telling you a number of very helpful techniques to tackle some of the harder parts of the levels as you go. Pray that you remember them, cause using these techniques that the game hands you can lead to victory a lot faster.
The story is kind of bland sometimes outside of the nightmare, you go through tons of cutscene right after each nightmare section which is a nice break, but it throws attention away from what it does right the best, the puzzles.
Then you reach the bar, which you can go around talking to everyone that’s present in the bar, get drunk (which actually helps you go faster in the nightmares, so drink up), answer text messages and play an arcade game that’s pretty similar to the nightmares, but is much more slow paced then the frantic climbing action of the nightmares.
There are 3 pet peeves I have with Catherine.
1. Controls when hanging off the far side of blocks: I don’t understand why Atlas ever thought reversing your controls when your hanging on the far side of blocks would be a smart decision but it is annoying, and I found myself getting stuck, and even dying at parts because of the control of this. when i press right, I want Vincent to go right
2. The retry system: I find this pretty much useless. The game practically hands out continues (in the form of pillows in the nightmare levels) everywhere, and I find there be no weight at all to dying. When you die they should just give you the option to start over or start from a checkpoint if you reached one.
3. Vincent himself: Vincent is one of those characters who I cannot just help but hate. Instead of trying to fix what is going wrong in the game, he would rather just mope about it to his friends at the bar and let him dig himself deeper and deeper until he finally gets his shit together at the end. Its just infurating to see Vincent over and over again lamenting about how he cheated on Katherine and she will never forgive me for this and blah blah blah blah. Do something about it dude, I dont want to hear you mope about it for 5 levels straight.
Also, escort puzzles arent fun Atlas. Just saying.
Final Verdict: 9/10
An overall very well done puzzle adventure with a great story, that suffers from clunky controls, but is saved by a unique premise and theme.