Catherine – impressions

This has to be one of the weirdest but most addictive games I have played in a long while.  Japanese developer Atlus have built a reputation out of releasing unusual but clever video games, and this is one of the first to gain a mainstream release (at least in the US … not currently available in Europe).  At its heart it’s a puzzle platformer, but it could also be taken as a dating sim as you play the role of Vincent, in a relationship with fashion designer Katherine, a hot business woman with dreams of settling down, getting married and having children.  Vincent isn’t quite as eager to settle down, and begins to experience nightmares revolving around his insecurities.  In these nightmares, he must climb a tower and reach the door at the top.  This is the meat of the game, with each tower full of traps and enemies.  Each tower is a box pulling / pushing puzzle and with a strict time limit, where in as you climb, the lower levels begin to fall away, and if you don’t hurry – you’ll fall to your death.

This is a very unique game, part RPG where in you can send and reply to texts on your phone, talk to people in a bar that you frequent, and follow the story through beautiful anime-style cut scenes.  The production values here are high, and the imagination is exceptional … it may not be to everyone’s taste, and compared to picking out the latest World War II shooter, some casual gamers may not even acknowledge it’s existence.  Yet I urge you to give it a chance, as unlike many games these days, it takes risks, is actually quite mature in its themes of commitment, adultery and sex, and is actually really fun, in a brain teasing, addictive way … meaning one more go is never enough.

I’m only a little way into it (Day 2 of 8 apparently) but so far am enjoying it.  It’s not easy, but this isn’t a game you just plough through … you need to learn it’s gameplay and master it to get anywhere, which is what I aim to do.

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