The awkward climb to the top
Catherine: Full Body is exactly how you revitalize a game for a new audience after nearly a decade of dormancy. A remastered and expanded version of 2011’s puzzle-platformer Catherine, this re-release contains additional content, important quality-of-life tweaks, an updated multiplayer mode, and a new character and path: Rin.
Following protagonist (and slacker) Vincent Brooks, it’s a slick, stylish, and intriguing riff on the way we view relationships, commitment, and true love. Vincent would much rather hang out with his friends at the Stray Sheep bar any given day than spend time with his strait-laced girlfriend Katherine, but she’s pushing for marriage, which doesn’t particularly interest him.
When he meets the flirty blonde Catherine (with a C) and has a one-night stand with her, his world is turned upside down. Suddenly, he has no idea what he wants out of life, nor who he wants a life with. In this version of the game, to make matters worse, a completely different “Catherine” named Rin appears seemingly out of nowhere after being chased by an unknown entity. Suddenly, he has three potential lovers to choose from as one situation leads to the next.
But this sordid love triangle is the least of Vincent’s worries when he begins to suffer from nightmares that find him being forced to clamber up towers made of blocks while the floor beneath him crumbles away. He’s turned into a sheep (though he looks human to players) as have the other men transported there, and it’s said that those having the nightmare could potentially die in real life if they can’t conquer the puzzles. As Vincent watches others drop like flies, he realizes he has to do something about both quandaries in his life.
So, the question is: Catherine, Katherine, or Qatherine? Which one of these lovely ladies will Vincent Brooks, the hero of Catherine: Full Body, end up with? Well, as you’ll quickly learn, that’s very much up to you. The game is split into two segments: the bar and the puzzle-tactic nightmares. Vincent can get to know other people, chat with friends, respond to text messages, and make dialogue decisions during those segments that will ultimately determine who he ends up with by the end of the game.
Vincent will receive text messages and calls from all three suitors, and depending on how he interacts with each character, his Karma Meter will fill or decrease and the decisions you make will assign you one of the 13 endings for this version of the game, all of which can end in being with one of the Catherines, or maybe something different entirely—that’s up to you.
The puzzle sections find Vincent having to climb up towers of blocks as quickly as he can as he’s forced to arrange them in a way that ensures he can reach the next. After a few stages, he’ll have to take on a boss, which will be rapidly chasing him until it catches up and eats him. You’ve got to be vigilant about pushing and pulling blocks and making sure you don’t fall off in the middle of your ascent. You have a limited time to reach the top, and the blocks at the bottom of the tower will continually fall. At first, things are quite simple with blocks that do nothing but let you manipulate them, but you’ll soon deal with bomb blocks, ice blocks, and even blocks that are immovable.
If things get too difficult, you can always just skip the stages that give you trouble—a new feature for this version of the game called Safety Mode that also removes the amount of continues you get as well as the time limit. You can even have the computer play for you if you need assistance. There’s so much new content in this version of Catherine, especially when it comes to Rin’s storyline and intriguing presence that continues to complicate matters for Vincent. You may find that Rin is a much more desirable option than either extreme with Catherine or Katherine, and pursuing her story is satisfying in several ways, especially for returning players.
Catherine: Full Body is a fantastic way to revisit a game that was already excellent, and its new additions, exciting alterations to the formula, and completely new content should get fans riled up about going through the game again. Like wine, it only gets better with time, after all.