When I purchased my Xbox 360 years and years ago, I remember the lack of original and creative new games. Okay, maybe this hasn’t changed much. The only games I played and enjoyed were CO-OP or Multiplayer games I played with my friends. All the games that had interesting campaigns, I beat when I first got the system. Then one day I found a game from Atlus called Catherine.
Catherine is a puzzle-platformer adventure game. Or is it! Catherine, from the creators of the Persona series, was a game aimed to create something different from the Persona series for an adult audience. The player takes control of our main protagonist, an early 30s tech company employee named Vincent Brooks. During his off time, Vincent spends most of his time at a bar with his friends and see his long time girlfriend Katherine. Katherine pressures Vincent with the idea of marriage subtly on a daily basis. Vincent, unsure what to do, finds himself meeting another Catherine. This new Catherine, with a ‘C’, and Vincent, wake up the next day in bed together. Vincent now works to figure out how to get out of this situation while fighting nightmares that have been plaguing him every night since their first encounter. Each nightmare feeling as it may be his last.
As you read this synopsis, you are probably wondering, where does the puzzle platformer game come in? Don’t worry. I got you covered. The puzzle platformer aspect takes place during the dream sequence. During Vincent’s dreams, the player needs to try to get to the top of the level before the platforms fall into nothingness or an evil boss’ mouth. There are traps, enemies and item drop along the way. Each night brings new hurdles to climb over. You also have the ability to play the arcade game, Rapunzel, while you are awake in the bar. This provides you with more practice to perform better during the dream sequence.
With every game, there will come a challenge bigger than the last. With Catherine, you will be surprised with how challenging it can be even on the easiest difficulty. This may be very frustrating to the player but can also be very rewarding. Each nightmare you face will allow you to further yourself in this tangled web that is Vincent’s love life. Throughout the nightmare and daytime, Vincent is given different scenarios and choices to see what kind of person you are. This gives much replay value to Catherine and provides you with, you guessed it, multiple endings.
Catherine’s most appealing qualities come within the cutscenes. Since you are reading this review on an anime and gaming website, you would very much be into this game. Each cutscene feeling as if you are watching full-length anime movie. The voice actors in English and Japanese were great choices for all their roles. Troy Baker, who has voiced countless, memorable voices in the video game community, makes Vincent even more likable.
Your motivation is to help this lovable idiot make the right decisions, or the wrong ones depend on what you are into. Every time I myself play games like this, I cannot help but give the morally good answers. I can’t stop myself! Even when I completed the game and tried my hand at getting a different ending, I slip up and do something nice! It’s like walking up to a door with someone directly behind you and closing the door on their face. No one would do that. Unless it is the embodiment of Sword Art Online.
Bottom line here is this game is great for many reasons. The story is nothing short of a thrill to watch. No matter how many times you beat the game you are guaranteed to get something new out of it. The replay value is incredibly high. You also have the option to play with other people and check your friends’ stats using leaderboards. Everything I would have added to this game is already implemented. The only issue many players may have is the difficulty. Some people do not like a challenge. They play on easy to enjoy the story, this is not that game. You will be broken after a while. Just remember there’s an awesome cutscene and progress in you- Vincent’s love life! Have you played Catherine before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!