An average man living an average life, Vincent Brooks is a character who is easy to relate to. He even has average relationship struggles with his long-time girlfriend Katherine — a mature, career-driven adult with her eyes to the future. He also meets a seductive and mysterious woman named Catherine. And in recent news, mysterious deaths have been happening all around town—but only young men. Must be a coincidence…right?
Such is the story of “Catherine,” a puzzle-platformer, survival-horror, anime-styled adventure that subtly, but surely, digs itself into the deepest pits of the brain.
“Catherine” successfully combines several game mechanics to create an exciting experience. There are game altering decisions — similar to those in role-playing games — puzzles and scenes in which you gather useful information from other characters.
Vincent begins to have unsettling dreams, and when his nightmares begin, so do the puzzles. These tests of skill push the main character — and your thumbs — to the limit. As the player moves blocks around to create a clear path through Vincent’s dreams, the rest of the stage beneath him crumbles and falls away. One misstep, and he could fall to his doom. If Vincent dies in his dreams, he dies in real life. The game also leaves plenty of room to decide how Vincent’s life turns — with two girls in his grasp, he must make a choice. What he decides is entirely up to the player.
The most frustrating parts of the game, of course, are the puzzles (especially when playing on normal or hard mode), but solving them isn’t the problem. There are times when Vincent can climb behind blocks and become invisible to the player, with no way to move the camera around to see him. More often than not, this causes the player to accidentally drop Vincent. Though incredibly irritating, this does not render the game unplayable. Overall, this thrilling adventure comes highly recommended.