In 2011, we did not get a Persona 5 after the successful launch of Persona 4, the popular high school simulator role playing game. Director Katsura Hashino had other plans with the release of Catherine, a truly unique puzzle game that would definitely make you blush. Clearly Hashino-San felt that he needed to up the game’s craze factor with Catherine: Full Body, a re-release that adds a new character and a lot of new content to make it almost a new game.
Infidelity is definitely not a cup of tea for playable character Vincent Brook, who is in a happy relationship with a beautiful girl called Katherine. When Catherine with a C makes an appearance, he is torn up by his complicated feelings for both women — until the bubbly piano player Rin, short for Qatherine, also appears to further divide those feelings.
This sends Vincent into a complicated supernatural spiral, and as the plot thickens, his mind is affected in unexpected ways. Disclaimer: while the game is tastefully done, it is a mature game for mature audiences.
Rin is a refreshing new character who maybe should have been part of the game all along, and not a supplementary. The writers have thoughtfully placed every interaction, both as Vincent’s neighbour and the beautiful pianist at the Stray Sheep bar he visits.
Katherine is loyal and sure she wants to marry Vincent, Catherine is bold and seductive, whereas Rin is warm and Vincent genuinely loves spending time with her. Vincent’s confused indecisiveness wreaks havoc on his mind. Perhaps Hashino and his team have been deliberate in not revealing too much about Vincent’s appeal in both the original and the re-release, and this adds more bafflement to the experience.
Catherine: Full Body
- Developer: Atlus (Studio Zero)
- Publisher: Atlus, Sega
- Price: ₹3999 on Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch
Catherine: Full Body is a puzzle game at its core and it manifests itself as Vincent’s nightmares. Waking up as a humanoid underwear-clad sheep, he has to climb up gigantic block structures on a time limit. Functioning as part platformer and part block puzzle, the game gets increasingly addictive, and the puzzles devious.
Said puzzles are tough and as Vincent’s predicament gets worse, so do his nightmares and so do the puzzles, with taller structures and more pitfalls cropping up — so as the player, you really need to be on your toes.
In the Full Body edition there is a super easy mode for those who want to enjoy the story. Also, for those return players, there is a Remix mode which adds new mechanics and objects into the fray.
The story and gameplay of Catherine is a guilty pleasure, like a good book you cannot put down; the twists and turns make you wonder who actually are these people that share the same name and why are they drawn to Vincent, who keeps finding himself in situations with the three Catherines that veer from straight up scary to uncomfortable as he sweats profusely and bumbles through every unexpected situation. You have to navigate through these situations by controlling the narrative, yet there are some scenes that play out to you the helpless viewer.
Despite being 10 years old, the nearly unchanged graphics still hold up to today. The character designs, made by legendary art director Shigenori Soejima, are gorgeous and memorable. Plus, the story is told through interactive 3D cutscenes as well as Japanese anime style animations.
Though a re-release, Catherine: Full Body is sold at full price. The new content has an appeal but it does not justify the cost. If you’re willing to wait a bit until the price drops, this would be the perfect game, best played on the Nintendo Switch, to keep you company in the lockdowns.
The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel