Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Catherine Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
Violent puzzle game with a sexually charged story.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game explores mature themes involving relationships, including romantic commitment, sex, and pregnancy. It also sensationalizes violent death and makes drinking and smoking seem like an important part of adult socialization. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game’s morally ambiguous hero struggles with the notion of committing to his potentially pregnant girlfriend. Then, to his surprise (and terror), he suddenly finds himself in an affair with a sexy, obsessive woman. Players have some control over how he reacts to situations but his actions -- not all of which are commendable -- are, by and large, pre-set.

Ease of Play

Long narrative sequences involve nothing more complex than surfing through dialogue. The puzzle scenes, on the other hand, can be extremely tricky. Players will need to master a variety of block sliding techniques that work within the game’s unique physics system in order to create stairways that lead ever higher.


Players do not engage in fighting of any kind. However, the game’s protagonist can become victim to vicious traps, fall off ledges to his death, and be torn apart by enormous boss creatures. The hero’s death scenes are gruesome; spiky traps will cause him to disappear in an explosion of flesh and blood, and long plummets end with a shot of his crushed corpse lying in a red pool.    


Several scenes show a man in bed with a woman, the two engaging in frank discussions about sex that include words like “kinky” and “V-card.” Characters are never shown naked, but only because of strategically positioned furniture and sheets that block the view of the camera. Survey questions get players to think about their own sexual habits, including one that asks players which they consider to be a worse form of cheating, “emotional trysts” or “physical flings.” One of the characters reveals that she is pregnant. An art booklet bundled with the game includes sexually charged pictures, including one in which a tiny man is drowning in cleavage.


Dialogue is thick with profanity, including plenty of instances of “f--k” and “s--t.”

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The protagonist and his friends gather in a bar every night where they smoke cigarettes and imbibe liquor. Drinking will affect his performance in the puzzle sequences.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Catherine is a violent and sexually charged relationship simulation/block puzzle game. Players split their time between daytime sequences in which a 32-year-old man finds himself caught between his pregnant girlfriend and a mysterious vixen, and evening nightmares in which he must shift blocks to climb a tower so as to avoid bloody, gruesome death at the hands of monsters and sadistic traps. Social drinking and smoking play a heavy role in the story, too. This game is not intended nor is it appropriate for younger players.  

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPinballWitch October 14, 2011

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 differen... Continue reading
Adult Written byShion August 2, 2011

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... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 29, 2020

the reason a tech demo for persona 5 is now a cult classic.

this game is definitely not for tweens. although young persona fans will want to try this game this would be much more enjoyed by older teens because it gets in... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKalynn July 8, 2015

Fine for kids 13+ depending on the maturity of them

I'm 14 years old, i actually bought and finished this game just after turning fourteen and from what these reviews say i thought it was going to be a terri... Continue reading

What's it about?

Vincent is a man with serious woman problems in CATHERINE, a Japanese romance adventure game presented in anime style. Our hero spends his days dealing with his loving girlfriend, a professional woman named Katherine who wants to get married, and a mistress who appears out of the blue with the improbably similar name Catherine. His relationship quandaries take surprisingly violent shape at night, when he has nightmares that see him climbing a series of seemingly never-ending towers by sliding blocks into position to become stairways. One misstep or wrong move and he could be eviscerated by a trap or torn apart by giant monsters chasing him from below.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the depiction of women in games. Can you think of examples of strong female characters who aren’t objectified?

  • Families can also discuss the dynamics of relationships between boys and girls. Do you treat people differently based on their gender?    

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles and adventure

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