Catherine Reviews

  • Hey RettoHey Retto231,608
    28 Jul 2011 28 Jul 2011
    43 8 13
    Catherine is a unique release that you usually don't see released outside of Japan. It is an adult adventure, puzzle-platformer, survival horror game. It come from the great publisher/developer Atlus.

    Story: Catherine places you in the shoes of a man named Vincent. You start having these horrific nightmares around the time you meet this girl named Catherine. During the day talk to your friends and try to sort out your messy relationships with Katherine and Catherine. During the night you find yourself in these hellish nightmare with these other men who are represented as sheep. Your goal is climb your way to the top and escape the nightmare.

    Gameplay Golden Playhouse is the story mode which takes place over 8 days. Day time is spent almost like watching an anime television show where you engage in the story through dialog between friends, Katherine, and Catherine. During the evenings you spent your time at the Stray Sheep, a bar where you converse with people, receive and send text messages, make choices that affect your karma meter which can change the story giving you multiple endings. You can also listen to music on the juke box which has music from other Atlus games and play this arcade game Rapunzel which is a mini game of the story mode gameplay.

    During the nights you find yourself in these nightmare dreamworlds where you have to climb your way to the top by solving this block puzzles so you can reach the top so you can survive and live another day. As you climb the blocks under you start you disappear which makes in a race against time. During the levels you can collects pillows which give you more continues or other items that let you change special blocks to normal blocks or add in an extra block wherever you choose. Your main objective is to create stairways that lead you to the top. You are scored on how fast you can make in to the top without stopping to long or back tracking down.

    Babel mode is a four stages that are random very time you die or restart them which makes it very difficult because the maps are never the same. In order to win you must reach a specific height. This is 1 or 2 players.

    Colosseum mode is a 2 player mode where you simultaneously race another player threw a stage trying to reach the top first.

    Graphics & Sound:The game has beautiful anime graphics with cut scenes that look like a television show. The voice acting is great, the characters really come alive. The music is great, erie horror music, up beat anime music, and a jukebox full of music from other Atlus games.

    The achievements are spread out from story based ones, from side story related, to beating challenging puzzle. It won't be an easy or quick 1,000.

    Take the game for what it is. It is not to be compared to the popular Halo and Call of Duty Games. It is its own unique masterpiece. I would recommend this to any anime, puzzle, horror survival loving gamers out there and I hope gamers of these genres give it a chance!
    5.0
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    BadBoyBungleDreaming about sheep is fine, it's when those dreams become reality that you should start to get worried....
    Posted by BadBoyBungle on 04 Aug 11 at 17:20
    TinyshadeI absolutely loved this game! BUT.... i absolutely hated the demo when i got to the puzzle part. In the retail game you get some advice and tips on how to move block but the demo dosent show that. So when i got to try the demo i kept dying on the boss part without any clue on how to finish it. So i stopped played the demo with a bad taste of it. But trust me, the game is a blast if you get into it. It only get better and better has you get farther into it. So to anyone not sure... try the retail, most of you wont regret it! By the way great review!
    Posted by Tinyshade on 05 Sep 11 at 04:20
    Hey RettoThanks man.
    Posted by Hey Retto on 05 Sep 11 at 09:52
  • Sora401KSora401K93,812
    28 Jul 2011 29 Jul 2011
    25 5 7
    Catherine is an amazing and unique game, one that might go under a lot of people's radars, but will remain in the minds of the ones who give it a go.

    Story:
    The story of Catherine is probably the best I have ever seen in a video game. It's compelling and mature. It's full of twists and the unexpected. And it's presented in an Anime/Movie style, so at times you'll feel like it isn't a game at all. The cutscenes can be rather long, but I loved every minute of them.

    Graphics:
    The art style was very enjoyable. It was, as I just said, similar to an anime at times. It alternated between traditional animation and 3D style animation. But it looked great either way. They aren't realistic, but they're wonderful all the same.

    Gameplay:
    This is a very unique blend of "life-simulation" and puzzler. During the day, you interact with Vincent's friends and bar-mates at their hangout, a local bar called "The Stray Sheep." Once you've gotten your fill of Whiskey, you head home and pass out, immediately being greeted by nightmares.

    The nightmare sequences revolve around a vertical puzzle. You have to climb to the tops of a giant block structure, all while avoiding several types of enemies and various hazards. It's learning curve can be a bit of a pain, but once you get it down, you'll enjoy it a lot more. I recommend you watch a video if you're more curious as to what this is like, as it's better to see it first hand.

    There is a multiplayer mode, but it is strictly offline. And, I must admit, I have yet to try it out. This review is based on the single player experience.

    Overall:
    Don't miss this. YES. It looks weird. It looks sexual and absurd. But it's wonderful. It's the most fun I've had with a game in a long, long time. And I think many will agree with that.

    Story - 5/5
    Graphics - 5/5
    Gameplay - 4/5

    Overall - 14/15

    Buy this. Right now. If it's too late to go to the store get it shipped over night.
    5.0
  • AccidentProne78AccidentProne78113,790
    11 Nov 2013
    12 1 2
    Achievers Review of: Catherine

    First off, this review touches on the technical aspect of the game a tad, as well as the fun factor, and the game's achievements.

    Gameplay (Story, mechanics, and difficulty)

    In my opinion, Catherine is one of the only truely mature games on the xbox 360. Where as most games see mature as putting in as much swearing, blood, gore and sexual aspects as possible, Catherine is mature in a way that isnt seen often. Instead of blood and guts, the game deals with real relationship problems, and how people deal with them.

    The story has you playing the game as Vincent, a middle aged man who is in a long time relationship with a women named Katherine. Katherine is a very put together woman, who is very mature and adult, and knows what she wants in her life. Eventually Vincent meets Catherine, who is a very free spirited and sweet girl, that woos Vincent during a night of drinking. After waking up together in bed, Vincent must then deal with an unwanted side relationship with Catherine, as well as dealing with Katherine and the problem every couple deals with when in relationships. At the same time, a string of deaths has been happening all over the town, all of men who have been cheating. Soon, Vicent finds that in his dreams, he is trusted into a hell like dreamscape, where he must climb to see another day. I personally love the story, and it's one of my favorites in gaming. The adult themes are so rare to see in gaming, and its a nice twist to see among the abundance of military exploit stories.

    Outside the dreams you spend all your time at the bar, where you control Vincent, and talk to anyone who happens to be at the bar on that night. Who is in the bar changes from day to day, and a couple other aspects decide who will show up there tomarrow. In the bar, you can even play an arcade game to further help you in the dream.

    In the dream, you are forced to climb a tower of blocks, to escape the ever crumbling bottom. Most blocks you can move any direction as long as you are not blocked behind you. As you move on to each day, new blocks and dangers are presented. Exploding blocks, and sheep creatures are just some of the things that test you along the way, and test they will. This game is not easy, not in the slightest. Odds are, you wont make it through each level without dying or rewinding at least once, if not a lot more. At the end of each dream, presents you with a boss, each with their own theme that relates to the day before.

    Before each tower of blocks, you are asked a personal question, each of which are not black and white. There is no clear answer to guide you to which girl you will end with. Along with those, while at the bar, you get texts from both girls, and you get to reply to them in a good amount of different responses. Depending on what you chose in the dream and in the texts, your moral meter will shift, which will determine your ending to the game.

    Technical Aspect (Design, Graphics, and Bugs)

    If you at all a fan of anime, you will love the art style. The cut scenes are done in a completely rendered anime, comparable to those found on most shows. The gameplay graphics look like beautiful 3D models of the anime, and I would say look even better than the cutscenes themselves. This is one of the most beautiful games on the 360 in my opinion.

    Altough the block of towers never fully change, I never expected them to. It's the levels themselves that define each dream. Based on the day before, the dream will take on a theme almost. That theme will also play into the bosses at the end of each dream. The bosses themselves are as weird as they are creepy and creative. Although they are not anything Silent Hill 2 level, they are creepy enough to give someone so disturbing nightmares.

    On the other hand, all the character designs are very well done, as comparable to most anime. Each character's appearance is unique to them, and gives them some more personality than whats already there. As the game goes on, you learn more and more about each character, creating a deep story for everyone, especially the male characters.

    Each character in the game is fully voiced, and excellently done at that. Everyone's voice is so well done, and believable, there was never a point where I felt like someone was reading off a script. The three high points are Katherine, Catherine, and Vincent, pulling off amazing performances.

    The game itself runs very smoothly, and I rarely had any slow down. The framerate is pretty consistent all through the game. I never ran into any glitches or bugs either, probably because of the Japan release a year before the American release two years ago.

    Achievements

    At the end of the game I was able to get about 20 achievements of the 50. With about 300 points total, of the 1000. This game is pretty weird as far as achievements, you will definitely need multiple playthoughs to see every ending and get every achievement tied to them. There are also a couple modes relating to some side game modes, as well as some in game achievements that dont require alot of work, but can be missed very easy.

    Fun Factor

    This is the hardest place to rate. The game is very much fun, and addicting, especially the story aspect. I really wanted to see the game all the way through, and I definitely want to go back and play through again to make different choices, but the game can be a strain to complete. The game is very, very difficult, even on easy, meaning that it can be a hassle just to get to the next level, however you can get past any barricade put in front of you.

    Overall

    Just like the graphics, this game is beautiful art. The story is so engrossing and keeps you hooked even for multiple playthroughs. Even if the game can get frustrating at times, there is nothing here you cant over come. Everything here is so rare, between the vibrant colorful art design, and adult themes, any one who claims to be a gamer should play this game.

    + Beautiful Art Style
    + Engaging Story
    + An Actual Adult Game

    - Can be Frustrating at time
    5.0
  • Balsin FaseBalsin Fase162,399
    04 Sep 2011 04 Sep 2011
    17 7 7
    Catherine is hard to explain to people when they ask about it. What aspects do you talk about? Do you just focus on the tower climbing, since that is the only 'game' part of it? Do you treat the plot as something important, even though you have no meaningful input in what happens, short of the ending? It's a strange title, and there's really nothing like it on the North American market.

    Really, you can't talk about this game without going into its plot, which is something new. You can argue with me until you're blue in the face, but plot has never been much besides a footnote in a review of any console release (Indie games notwithstanding). Even Metal Gear Solid 4, probably the only game besides Catherine with such an emphasis on plot, could be reviewed without mentioning the quality of the story.

    I'd argue that the story is the central part of this game, moreso even than the tower climbing parts, which are all that makes this into a game at all. You don't play Catherine because you want to climb some towers with a neat story in the background. You play it to hear a good story, one where the gameplay itself is almost intrusive.

    But let's talk about the gameplay, anyway. During the game, you are sent to a tower every few nights, one where you have to push and pull blocks into steps that will allow you to ascend. It sounds really simple and straightforward, but it is anything but. The bottom of the level continually falls out, and you have to really keep moving in order to stay ahead of it. The first time I noticed it, I wasn't all that concerned. It's block moving, how hard could it be?

    Very. This game is harder than most any shooter or action game I've ever played. A lot of thought went into the block placement in each level, requiring the player to know what is going on above and below at all times. If you have a mind for chess, this would probably be a good use for it, as this game expects you to have a plan that reaches up higher than just the next platform. You routinely have to know how to manipulate what you're building to make something completely different on the fly, adapting to changes in the environment or unexpected missteps. There are also lots of little tricks meant to bait you into making a wrong move, getting you sent to the game over screen in a hurry.

    On normal or lower difficulty, you can undo the last few moves you've made, though, which helps a lot. In this game, one wrong push or pull can leave you in a position you literally can't fix, costing you several minutes worth of work. One click of the back button returns you to fighting shape, thankfully, undoing the last thing you did. You can do it several times in succession, too, which helps a lot when you find out you've really messed things up. Hard mode removes this option, so I recommend that you never play on that difficulty unless you have a lot of money to spend on new consoles and televisions.

    That button will only help you so much, though. You can't use it when you've made a fatal mistake, which is something that happens often with the trap blocks that come in later stages. Spiked floors, ice, and bombs all exist to make things that much harder. They're usually not that bad on their own, when you're paying complete attention to the game, but once you hear that bell telling you you're almost at the top and you get a little excited and careless, that's when they get you. Trust me when I say that there is nothing more infuriating than stepping on ice a single step away from the finish, sliding right on by and falling to your death.

    All the same, I liked the tower sections. They managed to be challenging in a way I felt was fair, and I only ever had my own carelessness to blame when I died. No matter how many times I failed each area, I came back looking for more, never feeling like I'd died a cheap death. It managed to be hard without being frustrating (Well, not unfairly frustrating, I guess).

    But that's not what you come to Catherine to play. You want the story, the one about the clueless thirty year old who's bound for marriage and childbirth. Within a few minutes of the start, happy-go-lucky Vincent gets told that his longtime girlfriend, Katherine, is pregnant. Not only that, but she wants to get married, to control their finances, and for Vincent to basically stop having fun altogether. After lamenting it to his buddies, along comes Catherine, who is fun and doesn't seem to have an interest in changing Vincent's current life. Before he knows it, he's cheating on Katherine with Catherine.

    You have no effect on that story whatsoever. You have a morailty meter that changes based on how you answer questions in the game, but whether you go chaos or law, it doesn't do anything besides dictate your ending. Go full law and you get married, go full chaos and...well...something much weirder happens. Other than that, you're just along for the ride, watching Vincent continue to mess up both relationships. No matter what way you feel things should be going, you will find yourself continually frustrated with his inability to pick a person and stick with her. He will never do right by either girl, and as such will leave the poor player always wishing he'd just do what you tell him, already.

    For the most part, that's part of the appeal. If it were easy for cheating adults to do the right thing, I doubt cheating would happen as often as it does. If I could make a series of in-game selections about whether I liked to pop bubble wrap or if I would punch out someone who hit on my girlfriend and have that clear up all of the relationship confusion, I don't think the game would have as much staying power. No, Catherine wants you to experience the full discomfort of such a relationship, and it does a fine job of it, dragging out every painful moment of it.

    Then...it loses its mind. The most unfortunate part of the game is when it decides to explain why all this is happening. Without spoiling anything, it basically tries to make up some nonsense supernatural explanation for it that dilutes the entire work. All of a sudden, you go from an interesting work on adult relationships and their hardships to something about demons trying to do idiotic things. It sours the ending, and kind of ruined the story for me.

    It needed to have a strong, serious finish, one that had a little mystery left behind. It failed, though, and because of that I didn't like it as much as I could have. It is solid in almost every aspect before that, though, providing an intriguing, thoughtful narrative on top of a frantic and fun game. If it had just put some faith in its players to look at it intelligently, then it could have really been incredible. Even so, I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks video games can have smart discussions on real topics, and not all be focused on kill/death ratios and teabagging.

    If You Liked Catherine, You Might Also Like...

    Deadly Premonition – I know I already reviewed this, but it really is a close fit with Catherine in that both of them challenge the player to think about things outside the game based on their events. With its wonky gameplay, though, you may find yourself having a much harder time slogging through this game.

    Limbo – This game did plot right despite never saying a single word. It gives no indication about what the events in the game are, nothing to tell you how or why you're doing these things. It leaves its entirety as a huge mystery, and I've talked more about just the ending of this game than I have about every aspect of every single other game in the past few years. A definite milestone in games with intelligent narrative.
    4.0
  • Amedeus8Amedeus8208,272
    28 Jul 2017 02 Aug 2017
    6 0 2
    Catherine is a one-of-a-kind game from the dev team who brought us Persona 3 and 4. It is the story of Vincent Brooks, an ordinary 32 year old in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Katherine.

    The story begins with Vincent having his first nightmare about having to climb blocks which slowly fall away, layer by layer. The next night, he meets a girl named Catherine who comes on strong and manages to simultaneously appear cute and innocent, yet sexy and sinful. A stark contrast to Katherine, who seems more adult almost to a fault, being serious and adamant (almost strict at times), but also responsible and caring. Thus, Vincent's dilemma arises when he drinks too much and wakes up next to Catherine the next morning.

    Katherine = girlfriend
    Catherine = hookup
    Just so you have something to refer back to if you get lost.

    And so the story goes, with Vincent trying to hold his life together and choose between the two atherines, all the while enduring bizarre block puzzle nightmares night after night.

    I've heard the complaint a few times that if Vincent wants to be with Katherine, he should just dump Catherine, or vice versa. But this misses the obvious point, which is that Vincent doesn't /know/ what he wants. Vincent Brooks is Jack Sparrow when the compass was just spinning around. Much of the game comes from balancing the pros and cons of either decision - and it's not always as easy as you might expect. I'm sure there are players who will make their choice early and be done with it, but when you allow yourself to be pulled into Vincent's confusion, the game is so much better for it.

    I personally found myself swinging back and forth with the twists and turns of the plot. I didn't make up my mind until probably at least 2/3 of the way through.

    The strength of the confusion comes from the way your ending (as well as slight variations in some cutscenes) are determined. You are NEVER asked to make a hard line choice between Catherine and Katherine. You do not make a Telltale-esque choice and view the consequences, even at the end. Instead, you are judged by both your interactions with other characters, and by the questions you are asked between stages during the nightmare sequences regarding your personal outlook and preferences. There is no right and wrong, either. Only "chaos" and "order". This is by the Persona devs, after all.

    There are several possible endings, some better than others. I wound up getting an ending completely the opposite of what I was aiming for towards the end of the game, but it was still somehow a fitting ending for me and I was actually pretty happy with it.

    Okay, well now that we've talked about the plot, how about that gameplay, huh?

    The gameplay can be split into two halves: asleep and awake. Those can then each be split into two, again. Puzzles and landings while sleeping, and daily life and the bar when Vincent's awake.

    Vincent's day is presented as a series of cutscenes where he interacts with various characters in various places. New plot points will arise here and throw wrenches into how you thought you felt about each girl. During these scenes, your chaos/order balance can occasionally determine Vincent's inner monologue, though it doesn't change the rest of the scene.

    At night, Vincent drinks at the Stray Sheep bar with his friends. You gain control of him at this point, and can wander around the bar and do as you please. This includes drinking to increase your speed during the next nightmare sequence, chatting with your friends and other patrons/employees around the bar, checking and replying to text messages, listening to the jukebox, playing the Rapunzel arcade game, watching the news, retreating to the bathroom, lamenting the ATM, or heading home for the night. Most people will consider this their favorite part of the game. If you took out everything else, Catherine would probably still be a very enjoyable game.

    Other characters in the bar all have their own problems and plotlines, and you can learn more about them as you please. However, sitting and talking with them progresses time, and the other patrons will come and go as the night bears on. Things like drinking, texting, the jukebox, and Rapunzel do not pass time, however, and you should really check them out. The jukebox in particular is a clever way to invest the player in unlocking achievements/trophies, as each one collected also unlocks a new track for the jukebox. A number of these songs are from Catherine's own soundtrack, but many are taken from Persona 3 and 4, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, and Avatar Tuner DDS, which, I don't know what that last one is. But it's got some decent music, and I suppose that's the important thing.

    Texting, on the other hand, is very intriguing. Especially on repeat playthroughs. There's an interesting branching system to them that lets you craft the best possible message to get across how you want to reply to Catherine and Katherine. And they've definitely covered a few mindsets, here. Some of the possible lines you can write had me doubled over with laughter.

    Then you have Rapunzel, which offers a twist on the nightmare puzzles. Which means it's time to stop stalling and tell you why nightmare is probably a very accurate descriptor.

    Every night, Vincent has nightmares about climbing a seemingly endless supply of blocks. You will need to push, pull, and EDGE! your way through what begin as simple, even enjoyable puzzles, and quickly turn into brain-halting stacks of cubic hate. I heavily recommend taking Easy difficulty your first time through, and playing tougher difficulties later on once you know what you're doing. I started on Normal and had to turn it down after only night three. Not because of the normal puzzle stages, mind. Those were tough, but manageable. No, the real problem is every night ends with a boss stage.

    Boss stages in Catherine are something else. They are, essentially, standard puzzle stages, only a big thing chases you up the tower, and you are given a much tighter margin of error as a result. The big thing is different every night, and each one has a unique power which can really screw you over if you're not prepared for it. Most of them will also use a direct attack if they catch up to you, which can instantly kill you if they hit you with it. This is where the tighter margin of error comes into play - the bosses climb faster than the blocks fall away at the bottom.

    I would say beating the penultimate boss on Hard with a Gold Rank was easily the second-toughest challenge in the game, after Obelisk... at least, as far as collecting all achievements goes - if you're doing Babel on Solo or not using guides for Rapunzel, your mileage may vary. But we'll get to all that down the line.

    Upon your initial introduction to the puzzles, you might think pulling blocks out to make stairs seems like it makes for a simple puzzle game. But it gets deceptively complicated due to the number of techniques available, the different types of blocks you'll encounter, and the variety between the main puzzles, the boss battles, Babel, and Rapunzel.

    Between nightmare stages, you're given a breather on landings. Here you'll be able to save your game, as well as meet various talking sheep who are trapped in these puzzles alongside you. You can offer them words of encouragement, buy items to help you out in the coming stages, or even discuss useful techniques with them (which you definitely should, if you've never played before). When you're ready to proceed to the next stage, you enter a confessional and speak to a mysterious silhouetted figure, who will ask you about your views on relationships before sending you off to move more blocks.

    That's most of the game laid out for you. If it sounds fun so far, you should go for it. Even if you're not into the puzzle solving, the story is more than worth it and the final nights are a hell of a ride. You may still want to consider putting up with the block puzzles long enough to get from plot zone to plot zone. Or if you just don't want to deal with the puzzles whatsoever, consider finding a friend who has gotten gold on all stages in any difficulty, as you can then skip those stages on that difficulty in any future playthroughs.

    On the other hand, if you like the sound of the puzzles, then we have more to discuss. Achievement hunters will also want to read on. Everyone else can skip to the bold heading below.

    For the puzzle aficionado, beating the game is only the beginning. By getting Gold Ranks on normal or hard, you can unlock the four stages of Babel, a no-holds-barred pure puzzle monstrosity. These stages are: Altar, Menhir, Obelisk, and Axis Mundi. And they work very differently from the standard stages.

    In the story, you have set stages. If you play the same night on the same difficulty, you will always climb the same tower of blocks.

    Stages of Babel are randomly built as you go.

    It's not 100% random, as the sets of blocks which fall are arranged into specific configurations which are chosen at random to drop in as you go. And there are different sets of configurations that are drawn from depending on how high up you are. However, the way you solve one configuration can have massive ramifications on how solvable the next configuration is. If you pull the wrong block, you can send above blocks plummeting into the abyss, and if you allow the rows to become too narrow, you may not have enough space to maneuver the blocks necessary to create paths upwards. Babel is an unforgiving challenge and, unlike the main game and Rapunzel, cannot be overcome with guides due to its random nature.

    On top of this, Western gamers got screwed a bit, as Axis Mundi is actually near impossible in single player due to a bug. Luckily, the game features a "Pairs" mode for two players, and the Pairs version of Axis Mundi IS solvable, so all achievements are still possible to collect. As a bonus, Pairs features somewhat easier configurations and the ending will appear at a lower height than on Solo. You just have to have a friend as practiced as you are, or get good at playing two characters by yourself. Which I found surprisingly natural once I got the hang of it. Once you find yourself controlling player 2 with your index finger on the D-pad and pinky on the A button, you know you're in the zone.

    Completing Babel may also give you some additional plot not found in the main game wink

    Don't get me wrong - if you just play through the main game and leave it at that, you absolutely receive a complete story, and one that you'll be content with. But there's more on the fringes if you seek it out. Babel, Rapunzel, and the different endings will reveal additional details (and also a fairy tale, if that's what you're into) for those who want it badly enough.

    Speaking of Rapunzel, that remains the last major order of unfinished business. It's down here all practically tacked on due to the fact that I honestly just didn't leave myself a spot to bring it up earlier, because I'm a crap writer and this is my first time using a keyboard.

    Rapunzel, the arcade game at the Stray Sheep, features the same style block puzzles as the main game. However, there is no time limit as the layers of blocks do not fall away over time. Instead, you are given a limit to how many times you can move blocks within the stage. As well, you cannot drop the goal down towards you like in the other modes, or it's game over. With these stipulations, be prepared for the most mind-bending of puzzles. Where the story's difficulty comes from its boss battles, and Babel's difficulty comes from the player's ability to anticipate and improvise, Rapunzel's difficulty comes from the player's ability to stop and think allowing the devs to fill it with all the most twisted, devious pieces of apparent nonsense they could possibly devise.

    Of course, you could always just look up the solution. If you go this route, the lack of a time limit would make these some of the easiest puzzles in the game.

    So there's always a bright side.

    This is the Bold Heading! Welcome Back!

    Catherine is a fantastic game, but it is also a very challenging one when it wants to be. It's a shame, as I feel the puzzles may turn away new players, but boy do they grow on you if you sink enough time into the game. I mentioned that I had to turn the difficulty down from Normal to Easy my first time through. And even then, I only got bronze on all but a single stage. After finishing Babel, I was able to run back through and get gold on every stage on easy and normal easily. First try, every time. It wasn't even required, I just wanted to do it because boy these puzzles are addictive once you've got the gameplay down. I almost wish they'd release DLC full of new stages.

    I also wish the game had leaderboards for the main game's stages, and a movie viewer to check out cutscenes you've already seen (in particular, it would be nice to review the endings without having to keep a save handy or run through the whole game again). But the lack of these features is certainly no deal breaker.

    The art is fantastic and boasts that Persona style. The music is catchy and fitting ("It's a Golden Show", "An Die Freude" a.k.a. "Song of Joy", and "Hen to Hen" being the standouts for me). The voicework is mostly exceptional, and I say that as a huge voice acting snob. Although I'd say Catherine and Katherine were the two who sounded the weakest to me, their voices are far from bad. Vincent himself is played by Troy Baker, who you might remember from everything you've ever played, and he plays Vincent perfectly.

    The writing is excellent, and the translation is solid and everything makes perfect sense. At least... as much as it's meant to. Most dialogue sounds natural and believable. Catherine is just such a quality game. You want an engrossing story? You got it. And if all you want is to run the story and put up with the puzzles, you'll probably get a good 9 or 10 hours out of it. If you enjoy the puzzles (and you might surprise yourself on that front), you can get many, many, many more. The current average for completionists on How Long to Beat is about 70.5 hours, and if I had to estimate, I'd say I probably got 60-80 myself. And I still want more! But even at 9 or 10 hours, this game had more than covered the $5 I'd gotten it on sale for.

    If you scaled this mountain of text and still have no interest in scaling a mountain of blocks, too, then hey, maybe it's not the game for you. But if you have even a passing curiosity in Catherine, I think you should really consider it. If nothing else it's certainly, well, one of a kind!
    4.5