Catherine: Full Body is a unique puzzle game that tells the story of how one man's infidelity turns into a living nightmare for the people around him.
Catherine: Full Body is a remastered version of the hit puzzle-platform game originally released in 2011. Catherine: Full Body betters the original game by adding quality of life improvements, a revamped multiplayer mode, and new content for the original storyline involving a mysterious new love interest named Rin.
Catherine: Full Body tells the story of Vincent Brooks - a slacker who prefers to hang out in a bar all day than spend time with Katherine, his straight-laced girlfriend. Vincent's life gets turned upside down when he has a one-night stand with a beautiful woman named Catherine, who is as free-spirited and unambitious as he is. It's around the time of Vincent's infidelity that strange deaths begin being reported on the news, with men randomly perishing of natural causes in their sleep. Vincent begins to have nightmares where he is forced to climb towers made of blocks while the floor below him slowly breaks apart. The creatures that Vincent witnesses in his nightmares seem to coincide with the events of his day-to-day life and it quickly becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems.
The gameplay of Catherine: Full Body's story mode is broken up into two sections: the bar and the nightmares. Vincent spends his days hanging out in a bar called The Stray Sheep, where he can drink, chat with his friends, answer his phone messages, and play some arcade games. The segments set during the bar can include lengthy cutscenes that sometimes drag on for too long, especially as it can feel as if nothing is happening, but these are here to offer the player a breather from the fast-paced action and tense moments of the puzzle sections of the game.
Catherine: Full Body is developed by Atlus and is technically a spinoff of the Persona series, which can best be seen in the bar segments of the game where social interactions with Vincent's friends and lovers feel right at home to fans of Persona 5. Vincent is given the chance to communicate with Catherine and Katherine during these segments and the choices made during conversation will shape the course of the story. A Karma Meter fills in either direction depending on his answers. Catherine: Full Body has thirteen endings and Vincent's Karma Meter and decisions will determine which one the players see at the conclusion of the story.
The nightmare sequences of Catherine: Full Body act as the opposite of the bar segments of the game. Vincent is trapped in a horrific realm filled with sheep monsters, who are all trying to scale a wall composed of falling blocks. In order to reach the exit at the top of the stage, players must push and pull blocks out of the wall in order to make a set of stairs leading upward. Not all of the blocks can be moved, nor will every space on the wall be filled, which means that the player will need to get creative and master the block-stacking mechanics in order to maximize their movement speed. There's a limited amount of time to reach the top, as the bottom row of blocks keeps falling away, giving Vincent less and less room to maneuver before falling to his death. The stages keep adding gimmick blocks over the course of the game, including ice blocks that cause you to slip off the edge and bomb blocks that destroy everything around them. The player can undo their last couple of moves if they trap themselves in an unwinnable situation, which becomes a vital tool in the stages when the blocks start to thin out and the player needs to plan several moves ahead. Catherine: Full Body keeps throwing new challenges at the player and the story mode never gets stale, thanks to the ever-shifting environment of the stages.
Vincent isn't always alone during the nightmare stages of the game and can be pursued by several boss monsters that represent his fears. The designs of the boss monsters are horrifying and the stages where they pursue Vincent are some of the highlights of the game. There are also other people (in the form of sheep monsters) who attempt to climb the wall of blocks at the same time as Vincent. The sheep people are one of the more annoying aspects of the game and can prevent Vincent from moving onto a block on which they are standing. The sheep monsters and other enemies represent a random element in a game that otherwise emphasizes planning ahead and the game would have benefited from their removal.
Catherine: Full Body adds much-needed quality of life improvements to the puzzle sections of the game. There is a new difficulty option called Safety Mode that removes the limited number of continues and time limit, as well as adding an autoplay option that allows the computer to solve the puzzles for the player as quickly as possible. There are also stages where Rin will play her piano and slow the destruction of the bottom of the stage if Vincent is close to falling. These easier options are especially helpful for returning players who wish to quickly experience the new content of the game. There's also a Remix mode that changes the layout and mechanics of the stages in the story mode, in order to give a fresh experience for returning players.
The biggest new addition to Catherine: Full Body is a third love interest for Vincent, who is an amnesiac named Qatherine - often shortened to Rin. Vincent finds Rin at the beginning of the story and manages to move her into the apartment next to his and hook her up with a job at The Stray Sheep as a pianist. The addition of Rin to the original storyline can feel ham-fisted at times, as her story doesn't completely gel with that of the original game. Rin's presence as a new love interest can make the established Catherine/Katherine storyline more complicated. The exception to this is if the player decides to pursue Rin, which leads to some surprising revelations and adds new stages to the game. The addition of Rin is a great benefit for returning players, but her presence muddies up the narrative.
There is more to Catherine: Full Body than just the basic story mode, as hardcore players who love the puzzle-platform sections can aim for high scores in the Babel mode - a new feature that allows players to tackle a randomly generated stage. The original Catherine became a surprise feature at video game tournaments around the world thanks to the competitive nature of the two-player Colosseum mode that allows players to tackle a stage at the same time. Catherine: Full Body adds new options and stages for this Colosseum mode, and an entire online mode that allows players to battle each other online - a huge boon to the growing competitive scene for the game.
Catherine: Full Body offers a unique experience that involves story sections filled with exploration of themes related to adulthood and sexuality, as well as fast-paced action segments that will tax the brain and keep players on the edge of their seats. Catherine: Full Body improves upon Catherine in almost every way and alleviates the brutal difficulty of the original in order to allow the player to enjoy the story at their own pace, while still offering enough action to please the hardcore crowd. The adult nature of the story and bizarre visuals of the game might not be to everyone's tastes, but Catherine: Full Body offers a singular experience for those with an appetite for the strange.
Catherine: Full Body is available now for PlayStation 4. A digital copy of the game was provided to Screen Rant by Sega of America for the purposes of this review.