Sunday, August 14, 2011

Catherine Review

Beautiful women, booze, adultery, sheep, and blocks. Catherine is an amazingly unique (and most would say niche) and interesting game. The basic story is that of Vincent, a 32-year old software programmer in a long-term (and slow going) relationship with Katherine. All is well until Katherine decides she wants to get married, and Vincent "accidentally" sleeps with another woman, Catherine. Now Vincent must fight for his life every night by climbing an endless tower of blocks and booby traps along with all the other low-life sheeple. If this crazy premise has you drooling for more detail (and why shouldn't it?) read on after the break.

Catherine is probably one of the best games I've played this year. The in-game graphics are very stylized (and gorgeous) and intertwined with very crisp anime sequences. The game also has a very immersive instrumental soundtrack (aside from the rather annoying intro music) which seems to both capture and enhance the mood of the game. Controls are fairly tight, though I have plunged to my doom on more than one occasion due to control sensitivity (I pushed a block when I did not mean to type of deal).

The story is as engaging as it is bizarre and quirky. It's also quite funny. Watching Vincent attempt to weasel his way out of terrible situations with the girls and dig his hole deeper and deeper will make you cringe or burst into laughter (depending on your level of sadism). His internal battle over what he wants in life is very relatable. You do not directly control Vincent's actions, but influence them via text messages with the other characters. All actions influence Vincent's karma meter, affecting his decisions, as well as the ending received (and there are a lot of endings).

This is one of two minor short-comings I found in the game. While you DO influence Vincent's actions via your choices, the overall story doesn't play out too terribly different (minus the endings). This hurts replay-ability, but is not a damning issue.

In between puzzle stages Vincent will interact with friends, girlfriends, and patrons at a pizza joint/bar called the Stray Sheep. There are some humourous conversations, some insight into the world around Vincent, as well as insights into Vincent himself (along with some interesting alcohol factoids). However interesting some of these segments are however, and however much they progress the story, they seem to move incredibly slowly. You have to wait for different patrons to come and go to speak to all of them, and killing time in the bar can easily take 20 to 30 minutes. This is the other issue I have, but again it's small.

Now for the puzzles themselves. I love everything about this game, but this is where it really shines. Get ready for some old school controller throwing frustration. Even the basic puzzles can be be tricky. Throw in some trap blocks, ice blocks, and all other manner of devious devices to ensure you meet a grizzly end and you're looking at one wicked wall climb. I've heard many people complain about the game simply because they feel the puzzles are TOO hard. But if you're man enough for the challenge you'll find Catherine an incredibly rewarding experience.

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1 comment:

  1. i really enjoyed playing this game i thought the demo was really interesting haha