Thursday, August 4, 2011

Catherine Game Review

CatherineScore: 9/10
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Length: 15 Hours for first playthrough

In a video game market so oversaturated with sequels and remakes, it's so hard to find retail releases that dare to try something new. Catherine is one of those few games that you don't know what to expect since the gameplay mechanics are so unlike anything else. Having something go outside the mold of what games are supposed to be is so refreshing.

The game is primarily a combination of 2 games: a dating/relationship simulation and a block puzzle game. The general formula is cutscene(s) mixed with dating sim then going to sleep and doing 2-3 block puzzles in the nightmare mode.

The block puzzles involve moving blocks to get to the top of a long platform. The bottom of the tower is constantly falling or something else happens at the bottom that limits the time you have to complete the puzzle. The blocks vary from ordinary blocks to blocks that will shoot spikes at you if you step on them for too long. Occasionally you can find or buy power up items that can create a new block, allow you to climb two blocks at one, and other useful things. The mechanics of the puzzles and powerups allow for many different techniques to create pathways to get up the tower. You are scored based off of how fast you get up the tower and how many moves you make.
The dating sim part of the game involves around the main character who is traversing these block puzzles in his sleep. Inbetween nightmares the main character will make choices about his relationship such as if he wants to cheat, does he want to have a serious relationship, and other important decisions a man must decide fo himself. These choices are made through conversations with other characters, your choices in responses in your cell phone, and how you choose to respond to certain events in the game. All of your decisions affect the morality meter that affects both the story and the endings of the game.

STORY (Spoiler Free) The story centers on Vincent (the player character) and his relationship with his girlfriend Katherine. The relationship between the two is starting to move toward the point of having to make serious decisions about what the future of their relationship will be. Vincent has to decide for himself whether to take the relationship to the next level or not and most of the conflict in the game revolves around this core question. Whenever vincent and other men fall asleep at night they have nightmares of climbing a huge tower in a hellish world. One man has apparently died in his sleep but is it coincidence or related to the nightmares?

The story of this game pulled me in and had me hooked from the start and will keep you glued to your TV throughout the game. The story is very mature, intense and extremely entertaining. The voice acting on all the characters is top notch even for the minor characters and they do an excellent job at making the characters believable.

WHO WILL ENJOY THIS GAME? The gameplay is very different from most games out there so while i personally love this game, I can see this not being for everyone. If you are the type of person who loves puzzles, loves anime, or loves games that are unique this game is an instant buy for you. For all other gamers I recommend looking at gameply videos, trying the demo, and deciding for yourself if this is something you could take a risk on an try to enjoy. If you're willing to take a chance on a game that is outside your comfort zone, you may end up being highly rewarded.

I give this game a big thumbs up!

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