Catherine Full Body – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Atlus and Studio Zero with Publishing handled by SEGA, Catherine Full Body is a remake/enhanced port of the acclaimed adult puzzle adventure that shares the same name. Take on the role of Vincent, a man that is stuck in a difficult situation involving his longtime girlfriend Katherine, a mysterious blonde named Catherine and an amnesiac girl called Rin. This title is available on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, links to both versions of the game will be available at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: this title was purchased with personal funds when released for Nintendo Switch, the game was chosen for review via a community poll with an overwhelming majority of votes in favor of this release. The community backing of this coverage has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Mature Content Warning: this title is rated as Mature, the content within is not suitable for children. This software features strong language, violence, blood and sexual themes/imagery. If you are under the age rating provided for this game or are offended by any of the content featured within, please proceed at your own discretion.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story section for this review, instead of a dedicated segment I feel it would be better to give minor plot details while explaining elements of the gameplay.

Gameplay – Catherine Full Body is a mixture between a remake and an enhanced port of the PS3/Xbox 360 title Catherine (now called Catherine Classic). The player takes on the role of Vincent, a man that is torn between his long term girlfriend Katherine McBride and the mysterious Catherine who he meets in the Stray Sheep Bar. At night Vincent has terrible nightmares, in these nightmares he must climb towers that crumble beneath him over time.

Most of the gameplay takes place in these tower climbing stages. The player must move blocks by pushing and pulling them to get higher, avoiding the many traps and pitfalls that can lead to failure. The goal of each tower stage is to get to the top without dying, increasing in complexity as the game progresses. During climbing Vincent can undo a certain number of moves, allowing for different approaches to be taken but if the player has no undo points left and is killed they get a game over.

Each night is made up of at least one floor, with a boss at the end of the stage and special interaction sections called landings between floors (with a couple exceptions). At points during tower stages in story mode, the player can find items to increase the chances of survival. The items that can be found include pillows, increasing the maximum undo uses and power-ups that can help the player by saving them from death with these special pick-ups.

Between the tower nightmare sections, Vincent will interact with various characters in his life at the Stray Sheep Bar, his home and other locations. When interacting with other characters, they will switch between render cinematics, anime styled scenes and prompted dialogue segments. While at the bar, Vincent can freely move around and talk to patrons there, getting additional story details and learning more about the residents of the game world.

Inside the bar, the player will also be able to access a machine for a game called Super Rapunzel. An arcade style block puzzle mini-game featuring 64 stages that give the option to practice different techniques and play styles in a more relaxed and casual manner. There is also a jukebox that functions as a sound test, letting players listen to a selection of music and change the background music that plays while in the Stray Sheep.  

There are also special phone events where Vincent will receive text messages and phone calls from different characters. The interactions that the player engages in have the potential to alter the direction of the story, using a meter on screen to show the current alignment that the player is moving towards. With a total of 13 different endings available, there is a lot of replay value and multiple playthroughs are encouraged to explore all the options.

When not playing the story mode, the player can take part in additional gameplay modes either solo or multiplayer. First is Babel, a challenge mode where the player can take on four stages that include progressively difficult gimmicks, this can be played solo or with another in co-op. Second is the Colosseum, a competitive two player battle mode that can be played both locally and online, with a selection of characters and stages to challenge others in best of three contests.  

The vast majority of the game is identical to the original release, however there are some significant changes that have a significant impact on the way that the game plays. The changes present include alterations to the story, additional characters, modes and other enhancements.

Here is a brief list of some differences to finish the gameplay section;

  • Gameplay Modes – players can choose between Classic and Remix when starting a new game. Classic provides players with the option to play the original stages with minor adjustments made. Remix provides a whole new experience, with brand new stages, mechanics and gimmicks to challenge the players.
  • Super Rapunzel – the original stages are included from the previous game, alongside brand new arranged stages bringing the total number of stages that can be played up to 128.
  • DLC Additions – there is DLC included with the Switch version of Catherine Full Body (optional Purchase on PS4), these include a character pack for the Babel and Competitive modes, bonus voice over packs and a guest spot for characters from another Atlus release.
  • Accessibility Changes – a brand new mode called Safety has been added, allowing players who struggle with the climbing stages to get through them easier or skip them entirely. Lives are no unlimited, meaning that game overs are tougher to achieve when playing the game if the player has the ability to undo still.
  • Network Features – as well as competitive multiplayer options, the game also features worldwide rankings and score keeping for tower stages. When connected to the service, the number of deaths for that stage at that specific time is shown, results from questions are shown and souls can be found, signaling where players had died during stages.

Now that I have covered the gameplay for Catherine Full Body in a way that I am happy with, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.

Controls – the controls for Full Body are simple and effective to a point. Unfortunately there are some minor annoyances with input drops, double inputs and occasional input lag. I don’t have a recent frame of reference as is haven’t played Catherine Classic in several years, so I am unable to tell if this is an existing issue or a failure of Full Body. However, aside from the inconveniences due to the inputs, the controls in general are comfortable when playing with both Joy-Cons and pro controllers.

Difficulty – the overall challenge for this release is fair and balanced, with systems implemented to give the player a fighting chance to succeed at each stage. The changes to the lives system, allowing players to try until they run out of possible moves/undo uses can really help relieve tension during play. The introduction of the Safety mode can lessen the hurdles that players face, with autoplay providing a way to experience the game without the difficulty of climbing stages.

Presentation – the visual style for Catherine Full Body is pleasing, mixing 2D anime style animation and full 3D rendered footage. The characters each have their own unique designs, allowing them to stand out and the bosses are horrifying with imagery that is grotesque in its implementation. The graphical quality is high and really pushes the limits for the Nintendo Switch, while having no impact on the performance of the game, with zero frame drops or lag when playing in handheld or docked modes.

The sound for this release is intense with a sense of grandeur behind it. Musically, the soundtrack uses a mix of classical and original compositions, featuring orchestral, rock and Japanese jazz styles to bring the world to life. Catherine Full Body has both original Japanese and an English voice track with the option to switch between the two. The quality of the English voice cast is outstanding, featuring the vocal talents of Laura Bailey (Soul Eater), Michelle Ruff (Disgaea) and Travis Willingham (One Piece) making the overall experience much more enjoyable.

Final Thoughts – I was very impressed with Catherine Full Body, the additions made to the game make the experience much more enjoyable compared to the original version. The additional characters, rearranged stages and quality of life improvements enhance not just the solo game but the multiplayer aspect of the game too. The only issue that I had was the occasional input drops, which were a nuisance during play but they didn’t impact the experience too much.

I can happily recommend this game to players of the original and those looking to experience the game for the first time. The price point for the package is competitive as both a digital and physical release on the Nintendo Switch, with the amount of content on offer and the portability of the Switch system being good incentives to purchase this version. I am pleased with the quality on offer and the way that this can push the limits of the hardware without any major issues.

In the end, I give Catherine Full Body a final score of 4.5/5. The depth of gameplay, quality of storytelling and the overall enhancements to the original make this the definitive version of Catherine, with Atlus showing once again why they are one of the most popular developers in the industry. If you want to check this game out for yourself, links to game will be below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation 4 version (HERE)

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