Catherine: Full Body Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Puzzle
 
Rating: MA15+
 
Release Date: 7th July, 2020
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


 

Positives


- Lots of new content
- Smooth frame rate
- Faithful to original experience

Negatives


- If you're not interested in the story, you need not apply


Posted July 31, 2020 by

 
Full Article
 
 

The Nintendo Switch has been treated to various ports and remasters over its lifetime. Ranging from Doom to the recently released Bioshock Trilogy, the games have had mixed success in terms of their overall quality. Catherine: Full Body was released in 2019 on PS4 and is itself a remaster of the 2011 cult classic, Catherine. The transition to Nintendo Switch is a great one, featuring not only a few minor graphical upgrades over the 2011 release but also new content that makes it the definitive edition for newcomers and returning fans alike.

Catherine: Full Body follows the story of Vincent Brooks, a man who is unwilling to commit to marrying his longtime girlfriend, Katherine. After a night out drinking at the Stray Sheep Bar, Vincent meets a young woman named Catherine (yep, different spelling!) and has a one night stand. That same evening Vincent begins to have strange nightmares where he must ascend a tower while outrunning demons – the catch is if he falls in the dream he dies in real life. Vincent struggles living his double life and making sense of the dreams. Players make several choices for Vincent such as how he interacts with his lovers and answer relationship-based questions while ascending the tower. Based on how you approach these, the game’s ending will change. The story has a lot of different twists and turns that ramp up Vincent’s struggles. This review will try to avoid spoilers, but rest assured the game will hold your interest throughout its entirety.

New to Full Body is the addition of a third potential love interest; Qatherine, or Rin for short. Rin is a piano player at the Stray Sheep Bar and Vincent’s neighbour. The additional character means there are several new scenes which were not in the original game, but thankfully these have been seamlessly added in and the story tweaked where appropriate. There are also new endings which were not in the 2011 release. Each of the three love interests are genuinely different from each other and it’s interesting to observe their contrasts. Katherine is a strong, smart and independent woman, Catherine is a happy-go-lucky, stereotypical blonde and Rin is a gentle, amnesiac soul who mostly wants to make friends and get better at playing piano.

Catherine: Full Body is part visual novel and part puzzler. One half of the game is watching events unfold for Vincent as he interacts with the three love interests. These scenes are typically followed with some time at the Stray Sheep Bar, where you can interact with other patrons including Vincent’s friends, the staff and other randoms. The conversations generally centre around the predicament Vincent is in, as well as topics of romance and what’s happening in the game world. You’ll quickly learn other men with commitment issues are experiencing the same dreams as Vincent, and there’s a larger conspiracy where these same men have been mysteriously dying in their sleep. Most importantly, during your time in the bar you can send/receive phone calls and text messages from the three Katherines. Your responses will directly influence how the story progresses and ultimately the ending you achieve. You can skip a lot of the interactions in the Stray Sheep Bar if you wish, but to do so would rob you of the finer points of the game’s lore and overarching plot.

The puzzle gameplay comes from Vincent’s nightmares where you must climb a tower of blocks and reach the goal. To climb the tower you must move and arrange blocks. This is simple enough at first but you are soon challenged with various hazards. Some blocks have spikes that can kill you instantly, ice blocks cause you to slide off to the side, some blocks cannot be moved at all and there are also sheep (the dreamworld equivalent of humans, apparently) who attack you and block your path.

There are a surprising amount of techniques players are introduced to to help them climb. For example, the pyramid technique sees you use the blocks to form a pyramid shape which you can climb to reach a greater height. As you climb, the tower collapses beneath you, so it is very much a race against the clock. If you do make a mistake you have the option to use an Undo move or go back to a checkpoint you have reached. New to Full Body is Safety Mode which has the AI take care of all the tower climbing so that you can just focus on the story. The puzzle gameplay is engaging and will put your grey matter to the test, but keep in mind the heart of this title is its plot. If the subject matter doesn’t interest you, then you need not apply.

Aside from additional story content, Catherine: Full Body features a new Remix mode. In this mode, during nightmare stages, clusters of blocks appear and can only be moved in a single large piece. It’s a simple, yet welcome inclusion which mixes up the existing campaign enough to add an extra layer of challenge. Extra levels have also been added to the Super Rapunzel mini-game that can be played in the Stray Sheep Bar.

Colosseum and Babel modes also return. In Colosseum, two players compete against each other across three rounds to see who can complete the main game’s puzzle towers first. Babel sees players work together or against each other to climb randomly generated towers and see how high they can climb. Both modes support local and online multiplayer. They’re fun and welcome additions to the main game.

Catherine: Full Body features cel-shaded graphics. Colours and lighting have been enhanced over the original release, making the game look more vibrant. Finer details such as textures have also been improved, though to be fair the original release still holds up to this day. In terms of performance, Full Body runs smoothly and maintains a consistent frame rate, something which many Nintendo Switch ports have been lacking as of late.

Atlus has also gone to great lengths to ensure the new story content blends seamlessly with the existing assets. Most of the original voice cast reprise their roles for Full Body, with some lines even being completely rerecorded to account for tweaks in the plot. This is not a lazy remaster and genuine care has been taken to ensure Full Body stays true to the original experience.

Catherine: Full Body is an excellent remaster that adds a lot of new content. There’s new difficulty options, new story content, gameplay tweaks and enhancements to the visual presentation. If you’ve been itching to re-enter the world of Catherine or simply missed out on it the first time, then this is without a doubt the definitive version.

Catherine: Full Body was reviewed on a normal Nintendo Switch console with a review copy provided by Five Star Games and Atlus. The game is also available on PS4. For more information, check out the game’s official website.


Joseph Rositano

 
While Joseph's main hobby has always centered around video games, he's also taken an interest in movies, musicals and traveling around the world. No one quite knows what Joseph's true motivations are, but rest assured he is always planning his next grand adventure!