?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

A Game Completed!

....took my time with writing this, lol. It's been months...


36:27 and I have solved the mystery behind Catherine. Twice.

Suspicious weakening deaths are appearing all around the city, targeting men only. And rumor is, that it's targeting the CHEATING men only. Well, though luck, you are one of them! Nightmares hount you and you are starting to feel the toll, tortured by choices and choices, how will you end up?



Vincent is quite the regular guy, until he sees a very vivid and haunting dream with sheep and paniced climbing away from a nightmare monster. That'd get on nerves of anyone, right? Not to mention that he has just started -quite accidentally- a relationship with his dream girl Catherine, while still on a relationship with a long term girlfriend Katherine. Now what was that rumor about again? Yup, no good. And it's not just you, but the people around you as well. Saving yourself while saving everyone else too is quite a task when you are haunted by screaming- - things.
Ok, so the plot is most intriguing. Like a detective story, you know the culprit is there somewhere, but who... The game goes on day by day: at day time the story proceeds by video parts where you mostly hang around with Katherine or Catherine, at the evenings you hang out at the local bar with your gang and the locals, and during nights you escape nightmares by climbing block towers accompanied by classical music pieces. 
The great thing about the story is that it's rather natural in a way, and many might find themselves living a similar life as the characters of this game. While seeing Vincent (SUFFER, BWAHHAHAHA) you might quite accidentally empathize with him and be up on your own nerves with all the twists of the plot. Nice addition is the changing story. Or at least the changing ending. The change during the game is quite minimal, but the endings are drastically different. Not everything is most pleasing with the plot, for some big revelations come quite out of the blue, and some things just won't be revealed at all.

All the characters are quite natural and different, interesting personalities. You get to know them by how they talk and how they act, which makes their introduction and stories feel very natural. Their styling is fitting and easily recognizable. 
The world at the day time consist mostly of the flat of Vincent, a pink cafe and the bar. A small world? Maybe, but with such a short and intensively proceeding game, that doesn't become a problem. At nights you climb through a block tower with small landings in between where to talk with other men (who all appear as sheep, btw) stuck in the dream. The looks of the dream world changes every night, scarily taking effect of what happens in the real world. Very symbolic.
The game all over has an unique look, rather cartoonish. Some of the video parts are in fact presented as anime. The overall looks might remind you of Shin Megami Tensei -team's games, as some of the makers are the same (and if you pay attention, you might spot some direct reference to SMT's Persona series). Also the way how you are given answers to choose from when Vincent speaks with the NPC reminds of the Persona games (like building social links). The places and areas are nicely detailed and the eye can spot new things all around even after the first playthrough.
 

On left the picture shows how long way ahead and how close is the end, in middle is the block tower and Vincent, on top right corner the "lives", coins and rating of your current climb row.
To climb the block towers as fast as possible is the main idea of Catherine (game). And this idea has been polished to the utmost from all perspectives. The movements of the climbing Vincent is smooth (so much so, that it's easy to run over the edge -and drop to your death), the block movements (as you are pulling and pushing them around to make you way up) effortless and clitchless. It takes nerve though as the bottom part of the tower keeps falling off and therefore the proceeding is all the time tied to time. And if you get too nervous, you'll easily make mistakes and get yourself cornered, or you might let go of the edge accidentally or step on a trap block or... There are numerous ways to die as there are plenty of different blocks from ice blocks to exploding ones. It's one big puzzle game really. But it works like a dream, if your brains are up to the challenge. 
As there are different difficulty levels, you might choose the Easy in hopes of just seeing what the game is about, but be prepared that even then some of the fields are challenging (especially so when there is this psychological pressure as someone is just about to stab you with a huge fork and turn you into something squishy...)



For such a short game (in a play-through-way short that is) there is surprisingly many things to do while playing. While in bar you may get to know different NPCs, send text messages to your girlfriend(s), gather drink trivia by trying to get Vincent some alcohol poisoning or you might try and play an old style archade game Rapunzel (a game in which you have the game character climb blocks to Rapuzel's tower; idea is pretty much the same as in nightmare stages, but time limit is replaced by movement limit). And if you really want you may spend HOURS with this Rapunzel game. In case you are a puzzle master. In any other case, you propably just don't want to.
As you play through the nightmare stages, you will get rates for your succes (bronze, silver, gold), so the maniacs (and the trophy collectors) might be intrigued in going after the better ones. Gathering these will open stages to outside the main story stages where you can play alone, or with your friend and try to get to an online leaderboard by doing some serious climbing. Not the easiest thing to achieve, I tried. But it's quite interesting to climb with a friend after you get the knack of it.
There is also a small VS corner where you and your friend can play as sheep and compete against each other while the blocks keep falling from under you, but there is only few stages and they don't change, so it will get boring quite fast.
One of the best things in giving this game a longer lifespan is the multiple endings and the changing questions that are thrown at the player during the game. These questions will determinate the ending and some of the inner thoughts of Vincent during the story. These answers also determinate what kind of person he ends up to be.



Catherine is a flirty game that takes fast brainwork, puzzle solving and nerves all together, for the things might get quite hellish even on the easy level. The game handles the adultous themes in a humourous way. You just can't take it too seriously when the main character is running around in pink dotted boxers and sheep horns, eh? And the gameplay is quite unique and works really well, so it's something different and definitely worth a try. Or many trys.


Tags: