Parents' Guide to


By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Violent puzzle game with a sexually charged story.

Catherine Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

TRULY mature and downright brilliant - like nothing you've EVER played.

The rating "mature" can be applied to any game with a gratuitous amount of violence, cursing, or sex, but Catherine is an M-rated game with a difference: It actually IS mature. It deals with many real-life situations, such as infidelity, obsession, and alcoholism. Series of questions are presented to you through the game (like "Can love exist without pain?") and your answers will determine where you fall on a morality meter pointing towards "Law" (commitment, monogamy) and "Chaos" (a devil-may-care, sleep-around lifestyle.) It determines which girl you'll end up with, as well as what will happen to the protagonist as well. The game has a lot of language and sexual innuendos. The violence is present, not terrible, though images of men's corpses in their beds are quite frightening, as are the level bosses. However, the climactic scene culminates in a stabbing, with a large blood puddle running from the body. There are also religious undertones. A painting in the "confessional" where you answer questions features the protagonist crucified to a Venus symbol, and in later levels, a crowd of sheep gathers around him. There are also copious references to Assyro-Babylonian mythology. Such tie-ins create an almost hallowed atmosphere that further enhances the game's dark and serious nature. The game pushes the boundaries of being a game in the first place and quickly gets under the player's skin and into his head. In the game's opening sequence, a sheep falls through midair onto a cutout of the "double-Catherine" stamp, landing with a bloody splat. It then cuts to Vincent (the protagonist), crucified to a tower of blocks with barbwire, as his girlfriend sits above him . He turns his head to the player, as if to break the fourth wall, and shouts, "CATHERINE!" His cry for help sucks you in - and you didn't even press start. Once you do, however, the game alternates between animated sequences - beautiful cel-shaded snippets of the story - and the nightmare sequences, which involve moving blocks around in order to climb to the top. I've heard many complaints that the game is frustrating. And yes, it is. If you're especially dexterous you can pick it up in a heartbeat. There is also a "Super Easy" patch that was added to the game due to Atlus recognizing the complaints of Japanese players. It's deep, it's dark, it's gritty, it's sexy, it's completely insane: delightful in its whimsy and stark in its veracity, Catherine is an experience. It is like nothing you've ever played before and few games are likely to match it. This is, hands-down, one of the best games ever created, and I've been playing since my NES days.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 16+

Catherine: The Game You've Never Played

Parents need to know that this game does not particularly overtly objectify women. The choices the player makes honestly do make Vincent what he is in the game: there wouldn't be eight endings if his personality weren't flexible. Most, if not all, of the sexual content isn't much past what you would view in a PG-13 movie. The violence is a bit intense since Vincent does disappear in a splash of blood and bones in many death sequences and the language is definitely coarse, however. It does exhibit positive role models: Vincent (depending on the choices the player makes) and, to a certain extent, Katherine. The game is loaded with real life problems (and, of course, some not-so-real ones, being an Atlus game) such as pregnant girlfriends and alcohol abuse. I am not a parent, but I do believe that this is not a bad game to exhibit to those ages 16 and up to not only entertain them (trust me, it's a brilliant game with lots of charm and challenge), but also inform them of how to enter correct situations and avoid bad ones.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (10 ):

As bizarre as the setup may seem, Catherine is a surprisingly polished and compelling experience. The story explores the well-trodden ground of a man afraid of commitment in an unusual way by making him deal with his indecisiveness in life-threatening nightmares. It doesn't hurt that players get to enjoy some truly clever (and twisted) block puzzle action along the way.

That said, it suffers a few notable issues. The movement controls for the puzzle sections can be both finicky and unintuitive, and the decisions that players make often affect the game's morality meter in unpredictable ways (when asked whether we preferred older or younger romantic partners we chose older, only to see the meter pointer move toward the red "devil" side). However, mature players who enjoy challenging puzzle games and like a grown-up story that tackles adult problems should be well served.

Game Details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3 , Windows , Xbox 360
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online?: Not available online
  • Publisher: Atlus
  • Release date: July 26, 2011
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence
  • Last updated: January 10, 2019

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