In 2011, Atlus released Catherine, a combination visual novel, dating simulation, and puzzle game that tells an immersive story of guilt, regret, and betrayal while challenging players with creepy yet clever elements of puzzle. Now, the game comes to Nintendo Switch as Catherine: Full Body, which adds tons of new features to the base game like a new character, five new endings, new cutscenes, graphical upgrades, and new modes .
In Catherine: Full Body, players control Vincent Brookes, a systems engineer who enjoys the bachelor life despite a long-term relationship. When Vincent’s girlfriend, Katherine, reveals that she is ready to take their relationship to the next step, Vincent immediately feels trapped, and fears that the life he once led is coming to an end. While struggling to understand his future, Vincent meets Catherine (with a C) who seems to represent everything he is about to lose. She is spontaneous and playful and the exact opposite of Katherine. Unfortunately, Vincent succumbs to temptation and has a one-night stand with Catherine, beginning an ill-advised relationship.
As his relationship with Katherine develops, Vincent begins to experience nightmares in which he is forced to climb tall towers to escape his subconscious. Between cutscenes where the game’s story plays out, players are faced with challenging puzzles where they must move blocks and help Vincent escape death both in the subconscious and in real life. Although the puzzles start out easy, they get harder as the game progresses with special blocks that increase the difficulty to the next level. In puzzles with higher levels, players will encounter broken blocks, ice, bombs, and black holes, among many others, making the puzzle aspect of the game addictive and challenging.
Throughout the game, players will also encounter other men, who become talking sheep and will share some strategies that players can use to move the blocks and find an escape back to reality. A new feature added to the Switch version of Catherine: Full Body is the ability to pause while solving a puzzle, allowing players to take a quick breather and check out some techniques previously taught by men sheep This small addition to the game makes the puzzle section easier to manage, especially when players get stuck on a difficult puzzle.
Aside from the pause option, Catherine: Full Body also allows players to undo their last move when they mess up a puzzle. Initially, players will be given three undo moves, but players can increase that number by picking up pillows, which can be found throughout the puzzle tower. Similar to the pause feature, this simple tweak increases players’ chances of solving a puzzle and avoiding that game over screen that’s not only frustrating but scary at times.
The puzzles in Catherine: Full Body can be frustrating to solve, even with its smooth integration with the Switch’s Joy-Cons. There are moments when players find themselves in a state of panic especially with all the monsters waiting underneath. Sometimes the puzzles can be frustrating but the game offers a new Safety Mode that lets an AI take over until players want to take back control. This new feature is very convenient when dealing with difficult puzzles, and is a welcome addition for players who just want to enjoy the game’s story without solving a puzzle. While skipping the puzzles removes the challenge of Catherine: Full Body, it will still allow players to stay immersed in the game’s story and experience Vincent’s wild and creepy adventures.
Storywise, Catherine: Full Body maintains the immersive narrative of the original game. In the revised version, Atlus introduced Quatherine, who is an amnesiac pianist who becomes Vincent’s neighbor and becomes embroiled in his relationship problems. Despite not being featured in the original game, Quatherine’s storyline is deeply woven into Catherine: Full Body, making this version of the game a must-buy for those who have only played the 2011 release.
Aside from the new character, Catherine: Full Body also features tons of new cutscenes not seen in the original, and five new endings that increase the replay value of the game. However, some of the story of Catherine: Full Body can feel dated and problematic at times. Of course, another controversy that the original game faced was the outdated idea of a bachelor’s perspective when it comes to handling relationships. However, one important thing that Catherine: Full Body does is to not portray Vincent as a good person and his actions and choices are never justified.
All in all, despite not being a game usually associated with the family-friendly Switch, Catherine: Full Body is a well-developed port to Nintendo’s hybrid system. With all the new features added to the game combined with fluid controls and excellent English voice acting by Michelle Ruff, and The Last of Us 2 stars Troy Baker, and Laura Bailey, Catherine: Full Body is definitive edition of the famous Atlus game. Some story elements may be outdated, but the game still offers an engaging story with well fleshed out characters. It may not be a game for everyone, especially due to its sexual nature, but it is a must buy for gamers who are interested in a challenging puzzle game mixed with a mature and at times, scary story.
Catherine: Full Body is available now for Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PS Vita. Today Technology was provided with a Switch code for this review.