Even though Catherine debuted in 2011, it's still regarded as one of the most unique games ever created and now that an exciting remake is out, a new generation of gamers can see what all the hubbub is about.
Catherine is a weird game. It's basically a puzzler with a ton of super-long cutscenes mixed in. The core gameplay will be familiar for anyone who has played Pushmo but keep in mind, Catherine actually came out first. You basically control a character who must climb towers in order to survive and doing so requires you to push and pull blocks as well as hang off ledges and shimmy around. Meanwhile, the story stars a goof named Vincent who won't marry his long-time girlfriend Katherine for some strange reason. I mean, he's certainly no catch so take what you can get, Einstein. Anyway, he soon meets a younger woman named Catherine who he sleeps with because when you're an ugly, unkempt, and downright lazy dude in your early 30s, women can't seem to keep their hands off of you, right? From then on, he starts having nightmares which is where the puzzle gameplay takes place and things become increasingly crazy.
Considering Catherine is divided into the puzzle gameplay and story portions, I figured I'd discuss each aspect as such in this review; first, the story part. After reading the previous paragraph, you can tell that I don't think much of Vincent. I mean, if you relate to a guy who's as unappealing as he is then perhaps you need to make better life decisions. Plus, the fact that Katherine is completely out of his league and that a woman like Catherine would actually be attracted to him is mind-blowing how unrealistic it is. It comes across as if it's written by someone who's never been in a serious relationship and only fantasizes about being in a situation similar to Vincent's which is a weird thing to do. I also found the character banter to be quite boring, especially between Vincent and his friends at the bar.
All of that being said, I can definitely understand how someone could enjoy the conversations and feel a connection to Vincent so I don't want to fault Catherine much in this regard. In fact, I found the overall story to be very memorable, especially the distinct personalities of the characters after the dust settles and their true natures are revealed. In other words, even if you don't like Vincent and find the dialogue annoying, the story still shines as a unique and unforgettable tale with many layers and plenty of twists along the way.
When it comes to gameplay, climbing the towers that compose each stage is challenging and supremely rewarding. The bottom layer of blocks regularly falls so you have to stay on your toes and whenever you're on a boss stage, you have to dodge their attacks which adds a welcome layer of complexity. Catherine: Full Body contains the classic stages as well as a new Remix mode which has blocks attach in specific formations thus making things much trickier. For the record, I played through the entire campaign on Remix mode and thoroughly enjoyed it. That being said, I found it to be incredibly frustrating whenever I got stuck and had no idea what to do in order to get past certain challenges. Keep in mind; you can only change the difficulty between stage groups so being unable to do so when you're stuck is nothing short of irritating. However, once you inevitably get over the hump and complete a super-tough stage, it feels great.
Catherine: Full Body features a wealth of modes and content to master. Even the core selection of stages includes variations based on difficulty and whether you're playing Remix mode or not so mastering every level in each combination can take a very long time. Also, there are a ton of very different endings to uncover so playing through the story multiple times is highly encouraged. After all that, there's Babel mode which consists of 4 huge bonus stages and you can even play an arcade game named Rapunzel in the bar which contains tons of additional stages and a simplified gameplay formula. On top of all this, there's a Colosseum mode that you can enjoy via local or online multiplayer. You could literally spend dozens upon dozens of hours trying to complete everything.
If you enjoy tricky practical puzzles and wacky Japanese stories then you'll love Catherine: Full Body. Whether you're a long-time fan or not, it's difficult not to appreciate just how unique this experience is.
- + Tons of content to enjoy with plenty of super-challenging puzzle-based stages
- + Memorable story and cast of characters
- + Remix mode and online multiplayer add value
- - Puzzles can be very frustrating, especially when you get stuck on a tricky part
- - Some players may find the character banter and Vincent himself to be annoying