Game of the Month – July 2011

Ah, summer. A chance to enjoy the finer things in life, such as the sunshine, ice cream, and long walks on the beach. For us gamers though, it’s a time to catch our breath and finally beat some of the titles that have been unceremoniously shoved to one side lately, on account of the fact we’ve had so many bloody great games baying for our attention since January. On the other hand, if you’re anything like me, you may like to dust off a few old favourites before the industry shifts into overdrive for the fall/holiday season – and make no mistake, Q4 2011 is sure to drain our wallets dry.

Speaking of dry, July hasn’t exactly been an oasis of new releases, with the traditionally lacklustre summer period signalling the inevitable onslaught of movie tie-ins and shovel ware. As always though, a few diamonds in the rough did manage to sparkle amongst the pack, most notably the long-awaited PSN release of Limbo and the raunchy, idiosyncratic horror outing, Catherine. Despite early promises though, western Call of Juarez: The Cartel ultimately failed to deliver the goods, resulting in one of the biggest disappointments of the year so far.

Naturally this month hasn’t proved exactly that hard to pick a recipient for our Game of the Month accolade, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that we’ve plumped for the quirky Catherine. It’s an interesting one this, seeing as how when it was initially announced, nobody had a bloody clue as to what the game was about. In fact, most folk, us included, thought it was some sort of sex simulator – with sheep, bizarrely. Sure, the game has a highly adult nature, but underneath its obvious eye –candy lays a thoroughly rewarding adventure punctuated with gripping puzzles and thought-provoking decision making.

Have a butcher’s at a taster from our review below, and then pop on over to the full article here.

Catherine’s attempt to capture the more realistic side of gaming works because it’s one of the first titles to push moral decisions on its players, and provide real-to-life reactions and results. While you get a chance to guide the narrative, at times it’s unclear how exactly your decisions are shaping the plot and end result. But at the end it all works quite well. I had some issues with the ending I was given, but I suppose I’m the only one to blame for that. And that is part of Catherine’s mystique. Sure, the puzzles grow repetitive and some of the camera angles are frustrating, but the reality that these could very well be your co-workers, your older brother, your girlfriend, or your pub mates may strike nightmarish fear into the generation that grew up when games were nothing more than moving pixels on a television screen. It just goes to show that a lot has changed since Mario and Donkey Kong ruled the gaming world.”

Don’t agree with our choice for July 2011’s Game of the Month award? Let us know what you think deserved the accolade in the comments section below.