I've got a doozy for you: Does life begin or end at marriage?
That's one of the first of many questions Catherine poses directly to its players, giving the option to choose a simple binary response - yes or no. Well, does it?
Marriage is also something on the mind of Catherine's primary character, Vincent Brooks. He's an aimless 32-year-old who spends his days working with computers and his evenings posturing with his friends down the local, and right now he's perfectly content with living out his days on pause thank you very much. But life refuses to let Vincent stay idle, and his overbearing girlfriend Katherine is pushing him towards marriage, parenthood and abandoning his creature comforts. It's all too much for him to take in, so during his waking hours Vincent frets about his next steps in life, and at night he's plagued by horrible nightmares that force him to move forwards, onwards and upwards if he wants to stay alive.
During these nightmare sequences you'll find yourself up against disjointed walls of blocks, and must shift them around in order to ascend these cuboid cliff faces as the ground slowly disintegrates. These bad dreams play to their own wonky logic, allowing blocks to lock in place mid-air provided a single one of their edges is connected to something else, and Vincent's spritely frame isn't limited to pushing solitary blocks - he can bosh a whole row at once, but can only climb them one by one.
Catherine, then, is essentially about how getting from A to B can be fraught with internal and external difficulties, and the human cost of both responsibility and freedom. But Vincent also sprouts sheep's horns in his nightmares, for the purposes of an elaborate metaphor that plays out as the game progresses, and roams around in his polka dot underwear while clutching his trusty pillow. And he keeps bumping into other sheep, many of whom remind him of the other drinkers at the Stray Sheep Bar - who are also having lots of bad dreams themselves, though nobody can remember them during the day. Oh, and men keep dying in their sleep. Is this all connected, do you think? (spoiler: it is, yes)
Then there's Catherine the character, a vivacious, young and blonde sexpot who Vincent finds himself waking up next to every single morning - though he can't remember how it happens, oddly. She's got her va-va-voom crank stuck on 11, and she's also batshit crazy; the chaos to Katherine's order.
So begins the awkward love affair that Vincent finds himself embroiled in, told out in subtle and affecting cutscenes - which is good, considering they make up a large chunk of the game. The competent voice acting helps push the story along, with players given the occasional this-or-that question to choose from. Your mandatory responses cause an on-screen morality gauge to flick one way or the other, as does replying to text messages when Vincent spends his evenings getting smashed in the bar.