I’ve been reading about the upcoming game Catherine for a while. It’s received a lot of buzz thanks to the mature rating and tantalizing box art, but beyond that I didn’t know what type of game it was. My hope is always that it’s some sort of bullet hell shooter, but in this case, it’s a puzzle game, at least part of the time.
Slow and steady…are kind of boring
I discovered the demo for Catherine the other night and gave it a try to find a game that is 25% game and 75% movie. Cinematic exposition doesn’t usually interest me but I actually sat through the scenes that were in the demo. The cut scenes are done nicely but they’re slow and drag on just a bit too long. I’m all for progressing a plot but there is a point where you just tune out and want to get to the actual game. And in this case, the actual game is really good.
If I had to pick a comparison for Catherine it would be Q*Bert. That’s probably a poor match but in Catherine your job is to climb up a wall of cubes while your nightmare chases you from below. You can push and pull cubes to create steps for you to climb. It sounds simple but it is the exact opposite. The demo only lets you play on easy mode and I must say it is incredibly tough, I couldn’t even pass the second level, but I love a challenge. I especially like the challenges that I feel I can overcome with practice. Catherine doesn’t feel impossible, it just doesn’t feel easy. Of course, one reason it’s not easy is that using a standard controller and analog stick is murder. I haven’t tried yet but I see Catherine as a game will absolutely benefit from my arcade joystick.
Anime fans rejoice while others scratch their heads
The visuals of Catherine are wonderful as are the in-game anime cut scenes. It’s a style I really enjoy, not the cutesy, rounded kitty eared kids or anything. One aspect of the game that sounds mildly interesting beyond the cube climbing is your interaction with other characters. In the demo you can text message your girlfriend and your choices then effect the story…not a new concept, I know, but in this game I dug it, maybe because you read short texts instead of having to listen to long, drawn out conversation. It just felt like a good balance to me, a first for any game that has a conversation tree.
Catherine as a puzzle game, I feel, is right up my alley. Quick play with a challenge. However, I don’t see myself dropping full retail for this game. If this was an XBLA game for $10 or even $15 it would be an easy buy, but I’ll just have to wait until this goes into the discount bin after this summer. I guess if I want by slightly weird Japanese game fix I’ll just have to stick with Trouble Witches Neo for a bit longer.