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Catherine Hands On Preview

A demo of the English language version of Catherine hit Xbox Live today giving westerners a chance to meet both Catherine with “C” and Katherine with a “K”, as well a try out the game’s platforming/ climbing puzzles.

Available in this demo are two different kinds of activities; first is puzzle/platforming gameplay in which players guide the game’s hero Vincent as he climbs up a tower of movable blocks.  A giant monster, the nightmarish incarnation of his girlfriend, is climbing up after him, looking to drag him into the abyss of marriage and responsibility, and Vincent’s only hope is to climb ever higher by arranging movable blocks to form giant stairs.  It’s a lot like the Nintendo DSI game Art Style Precipice for those who are familiar with that downloadable game.  If you aren’t familiar with Precipice, just know that Catherine has exciting and challenging puzzles/climbing sequences, and the demo offers two very good levels that require both brainpower and reflexes.

The majority of the demo, however, is a lot like an interactive anime.  You’ll be passively watching cutscenes, where Vincent discusses marriage with his gorgeous yet demanding girlfriend Katherine (With a “K”).  Later, you’ll join him as he laments his problems with his pals at a pizza bar called “Stray Sheep”.  The art style is 100% anime, and fans of Japanese cartoons will probably greatly enjoy these sequences, and the story in general.  As is always the case with anime, ordinary guys seem to find themselves constantly under siege by hot chicks, and Vincent is no exception.

Before the demo is through, players will meet the other Catherine (With a “C”).  This one is a sexy, kawaii blonde who is inexplicably after Vincent.  While he is dealing with his implausibly-lucky lovelife, there’s also a mystery going on.  Lonely young men are getting murdered by some a serial killer.  This is only briefly touched upon in the demo but will of course help add some excitement to the full game.

Vincent has the opportunity to build up his relationships with the two girls, much like a dating sim or visual novel, but in this demo there is just a brief sequence dealing with that aspect of the game.  In it Vincent can send text messages and e-mails, and the player has the opportunity to select from different texts to send Katherine.  These will not only affect the story, but also sway his alignment meter (Represented by an angel and a devil).

The demo did not have any scenes that let the player walk around Stray Sheep, exploring and interacting with NPC, although that will be an option in the game.  Still, based on the gameplay shown in the demo, players can expect a funny, stylish adventure with plenty of sex appeal.  I already know which Catherine I’ll be choosing when I pick up the full game later this month. 

comes on July 26th for Xbox and Playstation 3.  A deluxe “Love Is Over Edition” is available which has some unusual bonus items including replicas of the boxer shorts Vincent wears, and comes in a Stray Sheep pizza box.  All pre-orders will include a soundtrack and artbook.


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