Catherine originally released way back in 2011 on PS3 and Xbox 360. The game received critical acclaim at the time thanks to its very adult themes and puzzle platforming gameplay. Catherine has since made its way to PC and with the upcoming Catherine Full Body edition currently set for release later in the West this year, now’s probably one of the best times to pick up the title.
Catherine follows the tale of Vincent Brookes, a 32 year old systems engineer that’s in a stable relationship with Katherine McBride, an office manager at a clothing company. The story revolves around Vincent having a series of nightmares and a mysterious woman named Catherine with whom he has a steamy affair with.
The game features adult themes such as relationships, infidelity, marriage, betrayal, deceit and vulnerability in its story. As such, the story in Catherine is extremely in-depth and requires one to pay attention to their choices and their actions throughout the game. As Vincent, players can reply to messages and make choices which will influence the game’s outcome based on his morality. There are multiple endings in Catherine so replayability is quite high should you wish to obtain all of them.
Gameplay in Catherine is quite complex. Puzzle platforming makes up the main meat and bones of this title and in Catherine, players will take on the role of a boxer’s clad Vincent in a nightmare world. In this nightmare world, Vincent must climb a tower of blocks to reach safety. This is easier said than done since the block tower features a number of perils. Vincent will be able to push and pull blocks and ascend the tower through a series of very easy to understand gameplay controls. Catherine’s gameplay in excellent in this regard but should you play it on anything harder than the normal difficulty, you will have significant problems as it can be brutally difficult to climb the towers within the time limit. There are also boss battle encounters and overall, the puzzle platforming is extremely solid. Catherine surprisingly also features a multiplayer mode where two players can compete to reach the top of a level and while we never tried this out, this will surely be quite a lot of fun.
Vincent is able to augment his abilities in the dream world with alcohol consumption and energy drinks which assist him in climbing the tower. Retrieving pillows grants you an extra life. These definitely come in handy in the later levels where the nightmarish monsters of the dreamworld can get the best of you. The intensity of each level goes up exponentially and while you’re trying to figure out the best way to climb the block towers, the sense of impending doom is quite daunting. This dread is effective in urging you on to victory, for should you die in the nightmarish dream world, you’ll die in the game’s real world, like many others in its story.
Graphically, Catherine on PC looks great. The anime visuals are crisp and the game runs buttery smooth. The only gripe to be had is that the anime cutscenes themselves don’t look as gorgeous as they should and you can clearly see that they haven’t been updated to 2019’s standards. This is slightly jarring when you transition from downright gorgeous in-game cutscenes to slightly lower quality anime cutscenes from 2011. This is a problem many games have when making the transition from the previous gen of video games to the current, but alas, it doesn’t affect the gameplay or story being told so it can be forgiven.
Catherine’s soundtrack is exceptionally good with both the music and voice acting being superb. The English voice cast delivered stellar performances and each character has a unique personality that shines through thanks to the great voice acting by seasoned veterans such as Troy Baker, Laura Bailey and Michelle Ruff.
Overall, Catherine is a puzzle platformer with heart. The very serious themes in an unbelievable fictional story involving nightmares, murders, death and deceit make for one entertaining ride right up until the very end. The story mode will keep you busy for hours and hours and the fact that you can replay the title to obtain the other endings means that you’ll spend quite a bit of time with Catherine. If you haven’t played the game before, we highly recommend you do but be warned, its content is certainly adult in theme and may hit a bit too close to home for some people.