Catherine: Full Body Switch Review (Rated M)

Spoiler Free

The original version of Catherine first released 9 years ago, right after Valentine’s Day in the summer of 2011. I was a fresh adult myself, and saw the game sitting on a counter in my local gaming store. I had no idea what the game was about, other than the anime girls on the cover, but made the purchase anyway.

Catherine quickly became one of my favorite games to this day. The game contains a unique puzzle system I’ve yet to find in any other mainstream title. Atlus, the same company that publishes the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series, creates an emersive RPG centered on block puzzles. At night you roam the nightmares of main character Vincent Brooks, pushing and pulling blocks to climb immense walls, all to escape horrifying monsters that wish to kill you.

Vincent’s story however, centers on himself, his girlfriend Katherine, and the new young girl Catherine he meets at the bar one night. It’s a story of betrayal or love, depending on the choices the player makes themselves. Every night as you climb your way through different floors of the nightmare, a confessional asks you questions that determines Vincent’s lean towards freedom or order, which ultimately decides his choice between Catherine and Katherine.

At the time, most people expected Catherine to get a sequel, quickly. Yes, Atlus is an incredibly successful company with two other highly anticipated IPs, but most expected Catherine to get a sequel following another poor sap’s Nightmarish adventures. Most people did not expect, after 9 years, to get a remaster of Catherine.

But Catherine: Full Body is not just a remaster.

While at it’s surface players may believe that it plays exactly like the 360 and PS3 versions from 2011, they would be wrong. At the very beginning of the game you meet a new girl as Vincent, an amnesiac named Qatherine (yes, another one). Called Rin for short, Vincent helps her get a job at the bar he frequents, and manages to obtain an apartment right next to his for her to live in as well. Rin is an avid piano player, but at first plays horrifically, which ends up being one of the defining traits of her addition to this game.

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The first night you return back to the nightmares, Rin has appeared with a magical piano, to play for you. This introduces a new feature to the puzzle-solving sections: Rin can now slow down the decent of the blocks falling underneath you. If you lag too far behind and are getting to the point where the floor is starting to fall out just a few blocks from your current position, Rin will shout encouragement and begin playing emphatically, causing the blocks to slow to an absolute crawl.

The addition of a new character, and one that you see so frequently every time you go to the bar at night, adds in a whole host of new cutscenes and conversations with your friends. Your interactions with Katherine and Catherine may also change, depending on how interested you are in the mysterious new girl.

Besides the bonus of added storylines and cutscenes, Catherine: Full Body hosts a graphical upgrade from the original as well. The nightmares feel less blocky, and more grotesque, as they should have been. The music got a hefty overhaul, including variant music for the puzzle solving, as well as Rin playing piano on the various floors of the nightmare.

I played the game on the Switch, in handheld mode mostly. I prefer to play a game in handheld mode, both because it’s more comfortable and also because it often gives you a better idea of the true graphical quality of a game. Any game on Switch looks pretty on the TV mode usually, but often the finer details of graphics are lost when Nintendo condenses the same game onto the tinier screen used for handheld play.

Catherine, however, shines on handheld mode. It doesn’t lose an ounce of graphical look being played on the smaller screen, and the puzzles are actually easier to see and understand in this mode. Everything seems sharper and closer in handheld, making it easier to see what you’re doing in the nightmares every night.

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Plus, as Atlus West themselves said on Twitter, you don’t have to explain those Rated M scenes if it’s in handheld mode!

Catherine: Full Body is out now on Switch, for $49.99 USD, with all DLC included.

Pick it up, and treat yourself!

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