Catherine is a puzzle game.
This may not be obvious at first but I promise you it is. What it actually seems like is a noir-esque anime about a guy who gets drunk with his friends and is afraid of commitment.
The premise of the game is a late night television show about different myths. This one is: “if you fall in a dream and don’t wake up before you hit the bottom, you die”. This relates to the puzzles, but I’ll come back to that.
So, our hero is a 30ish slacker commitment-phobe named Vincent. He has a girlfriend named Katherine who is career driven but thinks they should get married. They don’t live together and she never seems that keen on him but she’s decided it’s time to settle down.
There’s been a series of strange deaths in town, where young men are found dead in their beds with no obvious cause of death. Many of the men were having bad dreams, so the reporters say.
Vincent complains of these nightmares but he can’t quite remember them in the morning and this is where the puzzles come in.
At night you enter the nightmare realm wearing just your pants, clutching a pillow with ram’s horns on your head. You’re told you have to climb the tower of blocks as the lower levels fall or you’ll die. You pull blocks out and have to use techniques to work your way up. Even on easy mode, I’ve struggled with this.
Once you reach the end of a stage, you enter a platform where you can save and talk to the other Sheep. Oh yeah, all the men turn into sheep. Some of them keep their human characteristics and you can meet them during your waking hours, however, when you’ve cleared the level you won’t remember anything from your nightmare.
There are boss stages where Vincent’s fears manifest in giant monsters. I won’t spoil all of them but one of them is “the bride from hell” who is chasing you with a machete covered in flowers… Yeah.
After the first night, Vincent all scared of settling down meets a blonde called Catherine (massive iseewhatyoudidthere from the player) and she’s the opposite of your Katherine. She talks about not wanting to get married and in that grand ‘ol Anime tradition she blushes and giggles and baby talks her way into Vincent’s pants. Yeah, what a dick.
There’s a lot of story and cut scenes so the only playable parts are the nightmare rounds and the bar called “The Stray Sheep”.
In the bar you drink and chat with your bros and can interact with customers, give them advice and manage your love life via your phone. Both (K)Catherines email you and you can choose responses or to ignore them.
You start to realise that all the Sheep are love rats (love rams?) and are there because of some evil wench. After all we’re all marriage obsessed psychos with murderous tendencies.
So I recommend just playing for yourself, the more the story develops the more you switch allegiances to each character.
The puzzles are tricky but fun and the story is very immersive, I actually enjoy choosing Vincent’s drinks and making him chat to the Sheeple.
Grab a copy, choose Vincent’s moral decisions and get him drunk with his friends. You can watch and laugh as he painfully tries to get through his ordeal.
One thing he hasn’t grasped: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Molly – Tweet Me!