Ever since it was announced last year, gamers have been intrigued by the quirky and sexy video game “Catherine”. The game garnered a lot of attention from its suggestive and erotic promotional ads. Nobody really knew what the actual game was about but because it had a very hot blonde chick in lingerie on all the posters and in all the videos just about every gamer had it in their radar. Not too long ago some actual gameplay of Catherine was shown and the excitement died a bit. The gameplay seemed to be a mash-up of Japanese dating sim and block puzzles. Now that the demo has been released in North America we can finally find out if this game is worth all the hype or if we should temper our enthusiasm. Check out my thoughts below.
The Catherine demo is what I suspect the final game will be like. And that’s a mixed bag. On one hand the game has an interesting premise about a guy called Vincent who is being pressured by his long time girlfriend Katherine into marrying her. Vincent is reluctant to change the status quo and becomes increasingly more stressed out about the situation. Things become more complicated when Vincent cheats on Katherine with…Catherine. The story, the way that the player interacts with NPCs and the anime style graphics would make me want to buy this game without hesitation. The problem is that the actual gameplay of it all but ruins the entire package.
Every night when Vincent goes to sleep he has nightmares that seem to be themed around whatever is stressing him out that day. In the demo it was Katherine wanting him to marry her. These nightmares manifest themselves as block puzzles. Vincent starts out at the bottom of a tower made of blocks and he must push the blocks and put them in specific places so that he can climb up and out of the nightmare. Block puzzles are fine as mini games but on their own they don’t make a very compelling gameplay mechanic. I think the stress of moving the blocks around as lower blocks fall from under you was supposed to signify the stress that Vincent is going through but in the end it was just not fun at all. Block puzzles were alright 11 years ago but I think we modern gamers desire something more engaging than this.
So in the end what had the potential to be a really interesting original game will be doomed to be forever found in the bargain bin of your local game store. I really don’t see how this could be a full priced game when the main gameplay of it is so monotonous and mundane. The story is intriguing but at the end of the day it all boils down to gameplay and sadly, Catherine’s is severely lacking. There may be some people out there who don’t mind doing a ton of block puzzles but I suspect that most gamers don’t want to deal with that and will skip this game. Sorry Catherine but you weren’t able to seduce me.