Catherine: Full Body comes as a splendid second chance to discover a particularly atypical game that supports one of the strongest pillars of the Japanese company Atlus. Catherine was originally released in 2011 for Japan and in 2012 in Europe, this being an expansion that adds new playable details in the form of puzzles, animations and modes. But the main finding for the player will be the new character added to the plot, Rin, which will create and close a love triangle that will make the narrative development a new way to approach the adventure.
If the original game was marked by a story that synthesized nuances of Visual Novel and narrative adventure for its heavy load of dialogues, conversations and choice of answers, and a purely playable mechanics around vertical puzzles of blocks to be moving until you reach the top, this port on Switch will take up the same concept with the incentive of incorporating a new girl to Vincent's life to reorient decisions, possibilities, animations and endings in the player.
Two Well-Differentiated Playable Faces
We will embody Vincent Brooks, an immature adult halfway between the commitment and responsibility of facing the implications of a marriage as a lasting relationship and the social responsibility of leaving behind youth and personal enjoyment. During the day, we will repeatedly visit the Stray Sheep bar, where we will develop the first mechanical component of the game: social interaction with friends, relationships and secondary characters to develop the character towards one end or another. In Catherine: Full Body, our decisions will have implications and consequences on the plot and its development, so deciding what kind of person we want to be will affect the narrative component.
The driving force behind the plot will revolve around the love triangle composed of Katherine, Catherine and Rin. Katherine will be presented as our current partner, in a state close to the commitment of marriage, while Catherine will come into our life as gambling, temptation, infidelity and lack of commitment to rethink Vincent's happiness and interest. As protagonists, we will be able to decide with whom to spend more time and with whom to invest the love relationship... But this will have consequences. Up to this point, this development was present in the original work. But this expansion will be joined by Rin, a pianist with amnesia that we will meet in an unusual way, and that we will see as a pianist in Stray Sheep, the meeting place of Vincent and his friends.
During the day we will spend our time socializing, talking to secondary characters at the bar, deciding who to meet and who to contact to define the character's development. To do this, we will have a cell phone, which will be a mechanic constantly present when communicating with Katherine, Catherine and Rin. We can get drunk and be unfaithful, affecting our relationship with Katherine, or try to be formal and respectful and try to make Vincent a more mature character (within the limits of the plot).
At first glance, the development of the character and his involvement in issues such as infidelity, ties, maturity, responsibility and respect can be seen as a way to criticize and represent sexist ideas that sexualize women, so the game will constantly try to frame situations where incitement to irresponsibility will be the maximum of the play.
During the day, we will harvest our more sociable side. During the night, we will try to survive so as not to die when we wake up. How? That's right! The original work set a certain niche trend due to its peculiar mix of narrative and puzzles. At the end of the day, our nightmares will turn into a tower made up of blocks that we will have to climb to survive. To our left, a timer will indicate the evil that climbs the tower to meet us in an attempt to kill us. We will find a radically different mechanic to that of the day; we will have to move the cubes to find the correct alignment that allows us to climb before being devoured by the nightmare that emerges from the base of the tower
Although the premise seems simple and the start is moderately affordable, the combinations of blocks will be combined to show traps with spikes, frozen blocks that will hinder our mobility, blocks that we can not move, other heavier and even blocks that will disappear if we step on them twice. To all this, we will add obstacles such as the composition of the blocks and sheep that, like us, try to climb to reach the top and not be devoured. We will also be able to find objects along the climb that will help us in the most complicated areas. We will find block creators and "pillows" that are new continuations (they vary depending on the difficulty).
The magic of Catherine: Full Body lies in puzzles that will force you to think fast and control the displacements that you make of the cubes, since you can get stuck if you do not measure your steps well. In addition, they can be solved by performing different combinations, so, in terms of gameplay, we can retry levels and get the maximum bonuses. Beyond the puzzles, at the end of each chapter, we will face a boss that will put us in more than one predicament. Each boss will be a manifestation of the plot developed during the day, so they will take certain forms and recreate that fear that Vincent will live in each chapter. Unlike normal puzzles, the bosses will require you to go faster and will even modify certain parameters and add more obstacles during the climb.
After the day-to-day, we will find a common thread between dreams and nightmares and real life: adult corpses are found in their beds due to heart attacks and strokes. As we progress, we will unravel the nightmares as they merge with Vincent's life in a development that will keep us connected from beginning to end, with an approximate duration of 7 to 9 hours.
Unusual Mix, Anime Aesthetics and Additional Content
This way of communicating so striking by Atlus will take force with a Japanese aesthetic that adds animated video sequences in the purest anime style where we will advance in the plot, in addition to the in-game conversations recreated with the game engine. The graphics are cel shading, giving a drawn aesthetic of the models and environments that give it a comic book and anime adventure look.
Rarely do we find games that try to capture such adult and carnal situations in such a transcendent way and with a message at a narrative level, so the story and the type of person we want to play as Vincent will be equally or even more important than solving each puzzle. In addition, depending on our interactions, we will have different resolutions and endings, so the replayability of the title and the addition of new plots with Rin, are an incentive to replay and discover this little gem.
On a technical level, visually we are talking about a great port for Nintendo's hybrid console. It is true that we will find certain textures and modeling that will not have the same sharpness as in her older sisters, but not at all tarnish the visual aspect of the gaming experience both in dock mode and portable. The framerate remains completely stable at 30 frames per second.
In terms of additional content, Catherine: Full Body adds Rin as a plot character to raise new endings and combinations in the plot, a new playable scenario, the addition of an alternative mode that changes the orientation of the puzzles of the plot, the Remix mode that increases the amount of special blocks and obstacles and an easier mode to get started. It also adds other details, such as Rin being able to stop the fall of the blocks to make it easier for us to climb in the story, a kind of souls that we will find in the points where other players have died, the addition of many more combinations of puzzles for the game modes (Babel and Colosseum) and the addition of online multiplayer.
The latter is interesting, because in the original work, the Babel and Colosseum modes could be played individually or in local multiplayer. Now, we will be able to enjoy these two modes online to expand the puzzle experience (plus the addition of many more combinations compared to the original). In Babel we will face specific climbing challenges, while in Colosseum mode we will compete with another player to see who reaches the top first. To all this, we can add the online mode where we can compete by rank and classify globally.
In short, we find a more than justifiable proposal to rediscover the original work with new endings (we will have up to 13 different ones) thanks to the inclusion of Rin, online integration to compete and expand replayability, and the opportunity to take wherever we go a unique, mature and adult work that will shine on our Nintendo Switch as an outstanding port full of stories, decisions, replayability and unique and unrepeatable puzzles.
- Many decisions that offer replayability, counting 13 different endings.
- The addition of new block combinations for puzzle modes.
- Inclusion of online multiplayer.
- Rin offers a different point of view to expand the possibilities.
- Careful aesthetics and anime animations to the height.
- Treatment of adult themes as few games portray.
- Balance between puzzles and narrative development.
- Lack of definition of some textures in dock mode.
- Approximate duration of 8 hours (story).
We have made this review thanks to a download code for Nintendo Switch provided by Koch Media