Monday, July 18, 2011

Catherine Demo Impressions

It may come as something of a shock to most of you guys, but I like bizarre games. If it's wacky, or funny, or just totally off the wall then my interest is usually piqued. It has to be a certain kind of earnest craziness though; utterly without pretensions. Which is why I gravitate toward Japanese games I guess. They seem to come by it honestly, unlike the forced humor and calculated whimsy found in many western video games today.

Even so, it's possible for a game to just be too out there even for me. It happens all the time. Seriously who fucking comes up with this shit? Anyway, Catherine was a game I had already written off based on previews that looked batshit insane. Just way too anime for my liking, and this is coming from a guy who has watched a lot of animes...

Well after playing through the demo I can honestly say that this game is batshit insane....batshit insane like a fox! Again I don't know much about the final product as this game had fallen completely off my radar, but at it's core the story seems very interesting. It's about a 32 year old guy whose long-time girlfriend wants him to take the plunge and get married. Like any sane man, he's obviously freaked the fuck out by this. He starts having horrible nightmares where he tries to escape his terrible fate. Then one night he meets a younger girl in a bar...and well I guess you can see where this is going. Or can you.

The actual gameplay in the demo is a block-sliding puzzle where you try to climb to the top of a tower before it crumbles or you get eaten. It's fun and addictive, with a learning curve that isn't very steep. The story definitely seems to be the star of the show here though. It's really sold by the voice acting, which has come a long way in recent years. I never thought I'd enjoy playing a video game where a guy sits in a bar talking to his friends about girl troubles.

Sending and receiving texts is also pretty neat. If you hit reply, instead of giving you a list of choices, it types out a typical reply based on the situation. Then if you hit delete, it deletes that line and you can choose a different response. Just like you would do if you weren't sure how to respond to someone in real life.

This game is so quirky and unusual that I can see a good chance it might tank. I also think it's anime style is working against it, as the people who would appreciate the story most are likely going to be turned off by it. The main character doesn't help as half the time he looks like he has downs syndrome and the other half he's making cartoony expressions. If you can look past that, there seems to be a lot going on here. I recommend at least giving the demo a try. Especially if you have a thing for sheep (Jaison..)


  1. Yawn. How else am I going to get to sleep.