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3.5 out of 5

by Tim

Catherine has to be the most unique video game that I’ve played in a long time.  I mean, the category that it falls under will even tell you that: Horror/Puzzle/Platformer.  Let me just say that this is a new and refreshing look into the world of anime video gaming.  Let me start off by saying that I did not want to like this game.  It features game-play that I usually find absurd and ridiculous.  But now that that’s off of my chest, let me say that I really liked this game, but this game will not be for everybody out there.        

You play as Vincent, an average guy in an average relationship with a woman named Katherine… just living an average life.  One evening, after having a little too much to drink at the local pub named Stray Sheep, Vincent finds himself sitting next to a beautiful blonde woman named Catherine.  You can guess what happens next.  This love triangle continues for the rest of the game, and causes Vincent to suffer from severe nightmares.  These nightmare sequences happen each night, and take up 90% of playable content of the game.  In these sequences you find yourself climbing for your life, whether it’s from a black abyss that is erasing the entire stage from the bottom up… or from the treacherous “boss” that appears after a few levels.  During these “chase” sequences you have to push or pull large blocks to create stairs to the top of the level.  Some blocks are heavier and require more time to move, and some blocks are completely unmovable… regardless of which block you run across… you must reach the top before either the black abyss or the monster reaches you.       

Each puzzle was different enough to keep the game entertaining, and each level became more challenging… often requiring you to retry that puzzle from a well-placed checkpoint or from the beginning if you wanted to get a fresh start on the level.  Every few levels you will be introduced to new block types.  Blocks such as: Ice blocks that will cause you to slide across and off of, spiked blocks that can easily kill you if you spend too much time on them, bomb blocks that will explode after a certain period of time… and much more.  These blocks raise the “hard factor” – and can cause you to lose some of your hair if you let it get to you.  But when the game was all over, I felt satisfied with the hardness of each level.       

The nightmare sequences take up the majority of the playable scenes in this game, the only other scene that allows you to play is during the Stray Sheep scenes.  Stray Sheep is the bar where Vincent spends each and every night with his buddies.  There you can converse with his friends and other patrons of the bar.  These scenes in the bar give you a small glimpse of the game, there you find yourself meeting new people that give you small hints to what you are facing each night when you fall asleep and enter the nightmare realm.       

The nightmare stages and the Stray Sheep scenes are the only chances you have to play the game.  The other time is filled with beautiful anime like animation that unfolds the story as if it were a Japanese Soap Opera.  So prepare to sit there for twenty minutes or more watching a few scenes telling the story of the game.  Sure you can skip them, but then you would completely lose the storyline and what these characters were all about.  Honestly, the scenes weren’t bad at all.  I enjoyed the characters enough to keep watching and to keep me interested.       

The story may be a little odd and childish at times, but it was fun.  I enjoyed seeing it unravel as the game progressed.        

And of course the outcome of the game depends on how you play it, there is a meter that measures the good or the evil inside of you… and this will play out during the game.       

I won’t say much about the ending of the game, but let me say that I enjoyed it.