As mentioned earlier, I’ll be participating in the Global Game Jam 2012 next weekend, so I’ll be late on my updates next week. Soooooooo…since we won’t have a video next week, lets talk about Catherine, a tastefully sexy game. It’s a mature (as in, thoughtful) game about relationships, and cheating. Here’s Stray Sheep, by Shoji Meguro, Kenichi Tsuchiya, Atsushi Kitajoh, and Pablo de Sarasate.
Catherine starts with our “hero,” Vincent, converses with his girlfriend, Katherine. Despite being in relationship for five years, Vincent is in loss for words when Katherine pressures him to marry her. He drinks himself away in The Stray Sheep bar, until he meets a young and beautiful girl named Catherine in the middle of the night. Vincent then blacks out…and wakes up the following morning in his apartment, in bed, with Catherine sleeping naked against him.
Meanwhile, in the local news, there are rumors that people are having a seemingly common nightmare. Within that dream, if the said person fails to escape from the hazard presented in that nightmare, they die. It was incidentally that fateful night, when Vincent realized he made a horrible relationship sin that his life-destroying nightmare literally begins.
Catherine is a story-driven puzzle game. During the nightmare phases, Vincent — in his pants, no less — is forced to climb a tower made entirely out of blocks. Below him, the tower is falling apart, sometimes due to some unspeakable monster; and above, are the unknowns. Regardless, Vincent must pull and rearrange the blocks to create steps to climb higher and higher up the tower, until he escapes from the entire chasm and into the safety zone. At the very end of the safety zone, you’re given a difficult question in how you would deal with a certain relationship problem.
Outside of these nightmares are the story, which unfortunately isn’t related to the the choices that you make earlier, and consists of nearly half the game. The cutscenes attempt to fill in on what kind of person Vincent is, and how he attempts to resolve these issues. Once at the bar, you can control him to converse with other people, text Catherine or Katherine, and even play the arcade to practice the next puzzle.
The puzzles in Catherine requires quick-thinking, and are quite difficult. It isn’t for anyone, as it covers controversial issues in a gothic art style. This game doesn’t hide it: sexual, bloody, and religious themes are readily available in this game. Regardless, the puzzles are the highlight of the game, so that’ll probably be the determining factor in whether a person will enjoy the game or not.
Catherine was released on Xbox 360 and PS3.