Catherine (XBOX 360 & PS3)

Catherine (2011) for PS3 & XBOX360

by Atlus Persona Team

A puzzle/platform/survival horror/romance RPG? This description was enough to get me to download the playable demo from XBL. You play as Vincent, a 30something guy with an ordinary job and a clingy girlfriend named Katherine who is pressuring him to get married. Then, after a night of drinking with his buddies in a bar, Vincent wakes up next to another Catherine (spelling her name with a ‘C’ to simultaneously avoid and provide confusion). This is where we take it from. Should he stick with his longtime girlfriend or ditch her in favour of this sexy new playmate? Half of the game unfolds in cinematic animated sequences where you choose how Vincent strings these women along before they find out about each other.

Fortunately, there is  more to the game than this pointless love triangle. Rumor has it that men who cheat are cursed with horrible nightmares and if you die in your dream, you don’t wake up. Ever. Vincent’s dreams take him to a surreal world populated by sheep where he must manipulate blocks to be able to climb tall  structures to his escape. The puzzles get tough pretty quick, but the game is generous enough with continues to keep you coming back. The boss levels throw in some truly terrifying characters to try to kill you as you climb, some of the most bizarre and interesting monsters you can imagine.

If you like platform strategy games with a twist of sex and violence, you’ll enjoy Vincent’s nightmares. The game throws in some interesting side plots for achievements and I’m sure I will play it through again to collect these and check out the other endings. That said, I found myself skipping through most of the cinematic scenes that took forever to load and then ran too long. The puzzles are so good that it’s almost a shame that the game pushes so heavily on the titillating implied sex scenes with Vincent and Catherine, which are too bland and cartoony to really excite anyone over the age of 12. Buying the game for the racy stuff will be disappointing, so check out the puzzles in the playable demo before you shell out for all the bells and whistles.

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