Vincent’s at it again.
Catherine has done the rounds by now. This anime-meets-puzzle game first released on PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2011. Last year, it saw a release on PC, and a Full Body version, featuring extra content, made its way to PS4. Now, Catherine: Full Body is also available on Switch, offering everything the PS4 version does – with the added luxury of being able to play it on the go.
If you haven’t played Catherine since its initial release almost a decade ago (or indeed if you haven’t played it at all), Catherine: Full Body is well worth picking up. Rather than simply adding in a few bits of DLC as re-releases often do, Full Body changes up the story. A whole new character is introduced to the plot; Rin, short for ‘Qatharine’, becomes Vincent’s third love interest. She’s not simply tacked-on at the end, either. She’s cleverly interwoven into the entire story. It’s hard to imagine she wasn’t there all along.
“If you haven’t played Catherine since its initial release almost a decade ago, Catherine: Full Body is well worth picking up”
While it’s typically described as a puzzle game, Catherine is much more than that. When you’re watching its cutscenes, you’ll feel like you’re absorbed in a premium-quality anime. The characters are excellently voiced, both in English and in Japanese, and the story it weaves is one that will have you gripping the edge of your sofa. You assume the role of Vincent, a rather troubled man in his early 30s. He’s in a long-term relationship with Katherine, but lately, he’s been having some doubts. Things become more complicated when he meets the beautiful and mysterious Catherine, who seems instantly besotted with him. Add Rin into the mix, and you’ve got quite the love quadrangle.
Much of your time with Catherine: Full Body will be spent simply watching the cutscenes play out. They aren’t set in stone, though; depending on some choices you make throughout the game, the path Vincent takes can be altered. There’s a total of 13 different endings to unlock, all offering Vincent a different reality.
“Catherine: Full Body feels right at home on Switch”
When you’re not engrossed in the narrative, though, you’ll be engrossed in the gameplay. Outside of the cutscenes, you’ll find yourself able to wander around The Stray Sheep, the bar where Vincent spends most of his evenings. Here, he can use his phone to send and receive messages, talk to his friends and other patrons, and play an arcade game. The real meat of Catherine: Full Body, though, takes place in Vincent’s nightmares: a series of puzzles that see him climbing increasingly difficult block towers.
The basic puzzles remain unchanged from the original release of Catherine, but a new ‘Remix’ mode allows veteran players to change things up. Remixed levels introduce different types of blocks and blocks of different shapes, offering a new challenge. There’s also a range of difficulty options available, so puzzles never grow stale.
In terms of content, there’s very little difference between the PS4 and Switch versions of Catherine: Full Body. The Switch release has one new addition: the ability to give Catherine a different voice. Three different (Japanese) voice actors have recorded her lines, each offering a different take on the character. There’s ‘Healing Flower’, voiced by Kana Kanazawa, whose voice is for “those who need a pick-me-up”; ‘Saucy Kouhai’, a voice for “those who like being messed with” by Ayana Taketatsu; and ‘Intelligent Beauty’ by Marine Inoue, who is apparently “for those who appreciate intellect”.
“Catherine: Full Body is as much of a joy to play as it ever has been”
Extra content is nice, but the voices don’t do a lot to change the game – especially if you prefer playing with English voices. Happily, Catherine: Full Body feels right at home on Switch regardless. It performs excellently, both in docked and handheld mode. The puzzles are a joy to play in handheld, actually, feeling right at home on Switch. But if you prefer to play docked, be warned: running at a low resolution, the game looks fuzzy and downright ugly at times, especially during the puzzle sequences. The audio balancing also feels a little off, as I found myself constantly needing to turn up or down the volume depending what section of the game I was in.
Those problems feel fairly minor, however. Catherine: Full Body is as much of a joy to play as it ever has been. If you’re wanting to play on a big TV, the PS4 version of the game is the clear way to go, but getting absorbed in the game’s excellent narrative or sinking your teeth into a puzzle is hugely rewarding in handheld mode. You’re not going to regret picking it up on Switch, put it that way.
For a more detailed write-up of Catherine: Full Body‘s gameplay, read our review of the PS4 version here.