This discussion of Catherine includes some mild spoilers concerning a few of the game’s early game plot twists.
Quite a few reviews and discussions of Catherine have criticized Atlus’s new title for a disconnect between its gameplay and narrative. Indeed, a review in Game Informer called the game’s block puzzles “shamelessly gamey and [also] out of place in the narrative” (Phil Kollar, “Catherine”, Game Informer, August 2011, p. 108).
Some criticism of the gameplay is unexpected, especially given Atlus’s fairly firm commitment to RPGs (thus, a puzzle game may come as a surprise to fans). Additionally, this game, which has so intrigued gamers and the gaming press since screenshots began surfacing of the Japanese version of the game, is one that also was greeted with some concern when discontent grew among those same players and journalists about the idea that this was just some kind of “box shoving” game.
Which, more or less, it is. Nevertheless, to write off Catherine’s gameplay as somehow disconnected from the sexual politics that is the central concern of the game’s narrative is to miss the most obvious metaphor that the game is interested in generating between plot and game.