Let’s continue porting everything to PC! Seriously, I love it. Consoles are great and all, but they’re designed to only give you as much power as can be justified for their price. That means many games are a little lacking in the technical department, just waiting for the chance to cut loose. Time and again we see that when they’re offered that chance, older games can truly shine, and we’ve got another great example of that with Catherine Classic, a port of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 puzzler Catherine.
When Vincent wakes up next to a mysterious blonde woman named Catherine, he’s a little shaken for several reasons. First, he doesn’t remember meeting her. Second, he doesn’t remember the act that led him to sleeping with her. Third, he’s already got a girlfriend, Katherine, and he didn’t really think he was the cheating type. We follow Vincent’s life as he spends his waking hours at the Stray Sheep bar, interacting with his friends and both Catherine and Katherine. You get to decide how Vincent handles the situation, eventually leading up to one of several endings, and let me assure you that this story doesn’t go the way you’d expect.
When you aren’t working through the plot, you’re climbing towers and pushing blocks. Catherine’s a puzzle game at heart, after all. Vincent spends his dreams fleeing from horrific nightmare creatures set on making him pay for his infidelity; if he dies in his dreams, it carries over to real life. The only way to go is up in these situations, so you’ll need to go as quickly as possible in order to avoid getting wrecked. Something must be said for the monster designs, by the way, which are singularly disturbing and help make Catherine a pretty memorable title.
Gimmicks come up as you progress and the overall game becomes more difficult, but at its heart this is a straightforward puzzle game through and through. There’s even a competitive Catherine scene out there, as bizarre as that might sound. Aside from this, as you proceed, you’ll be given surveys related to relationships and fidelity, which make for an interesting and introspective exercise. it’s especially interesting to see how others voted, providing an aggregate take on how people view these topics.
Catherine Classic runs at a nice, comfortable framerate throughout and will likely do so without much horsepower, so even midrange PCs should be able to enjoy this one. It’s presented about as well as you could expect for a port from the last generation of consoles, too, so it’s clean and crisp. The stylized aesthetic certainly doesn’t hurt either, as even the console versions of Catherine still look pretty good.
If you missed Catherine back when it came out, Catherine Classic is a great way to check it out. It’s inexpensive, well-made and solid from a technical perspective. This is a unique title that offers a surprisingly mature take on some unusual themes, so Catherine isn’t to be missed. If you’re patient, though, the updated remaster Catherine Full Body is coming out in a few months for consoles, so you may want to consider that an option instead.