Catan – Console Edition review (PS5)

Dovetail Games, mostly known for their excellent train sims, recently released a brand new adaptation of the iconic board game Catan for PlayStation and Xbox – here’s our look at the PlayStation 5 version.

And this certainly isn’t the first videogame adaptation of the game, and in recent years I’ve played both a VR version and a portable version of the game (on the Switch). If you add all the other versions of the game to that, it’s crazy to imagine that Catan was only designed back in 1995. The resource/strategy game that lets players build roads and settlements that eventually grow into cities has been a massive hit for decades, and a videogame version is a good option for those who don’t enjoy a typical game night at the family table every now and then.

Each turn, you’ll roll the dice and will collect resources – which range from bricks and wood to sheep, wheat and ore. By “owning” a tile you’ll also collect resources during another player’s turn if they roll the number on your tile, so you always have stuff coming in – leading to the game’s trading aspect, which creates room to bargain, manipulate, bluff and broker a great deal. A lot of what goes on in Catan happens off the board, which makes it a challenging game to turn into a digital format.


The overall goal is to get to 10 victory points, but you can gain additional points and resources through special objectives rather than just chasing expansion. If you’ve never played before, then the new videogame version has an excellent tutorial to guide you through everything – making this a solid way to learn how to play the board game as well.

Included are several multiplayer modes, including online play or (the better option) offline with a couple of friends. You can also play solo against the game’s AI, but our experience was that the AI was slow to move at times and would regularly display behavior you wouldn’t expect from a human player as well, like making weird trades. This, like the board game, is a game you ideally play in a social setting.


Oddly enough, Catan has a few performance issues on the PlayStation 5, which shouldn’t happen even though it’s an attractive looking representation of the board game. In fact, there are a lot of minute little details and the game regularly reminded us of the gorgeous 3D version of the physical game. As a digital take on the board game, this is probably as good as it gets right now – visually at least.

The game has a harder time replicating the social elements of the actual game though, which is understandable and why a local session will often work better than an online one. The fact that it costs less than half of the board game is an enticing element as well, and if you were ever on the fence about buying a board game this’ll give you a good taster at a good price. And for an unexpected surprise, Catan on the PS5 even has full DualSense support! It’s a shame about the performance issues, but otherwise this is a good entry point for Catan or an alternative to a room of people playing it together – just not a substitute.

Score: 7.0/10

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