Notes: Review Copy sent by Razz and Sekai Project.
Note 2: This review will be based on having played the game as the female gender option.
Genres: Romance, Ecchi, Visual Novel
Themes: Art, Painting, Yuri,
Length: 3-5 hours
Plot Summary: You start your adventure as you arrive at your uncle’s cabin. Your uncle, a world-renowned artist, has agreed to take you under his wing and help push your art to the next level. Under his tutelage, your work may even be put on display at a prestigious, upcoming art exhibition, known for the instant fame it brings anyone lucky enough to participate.
After your arrival, however, you discover that it won’t be so straightforward. Your uncle is nowhere to be found, and he has left you with the task of getting three young girls, all aspiring artists, to finish their Mars sculptures in a mere two weeks; or no exhibition for you! Worse yet, the girls are highly unmotivated, and have no desire to listen to you, a complete stranger.
As mentioned above yours truly “plread” (play-read) this game as a female avatar whom was christened “Ophie”. The first topic to discuss is whether the gender option at the start of the game affects the story in any way and the developers did not take the easy route by merely switching pronouns based on gender (changing “he” to “she”). It is confirmed that there is more to it than pronouns, meaning both the invisible avatar and everyone around him/her address him/her differently based on the chosen gender. In short Ophie was a girl and she was addressed as such both casually and intimately.
Now Catch Canvas is a simple yet effective VN about Ophie’s short time at her uncle’s beach house as she gets to know three lovely ladies, Dawn, Estelle and “Nacchan”, who are more well-endowed than she is (naturally). At least Ophie herself is described as an fetching lady. While conversing and guiding the ladies as best as she can Ophie will discover that helping the three will not only benefit them but herself as well. The story has a private art academy-ish setting. There are some cool tidbits about the art world and following all four girls will teach “plreaders” a bit about it along with what kinds of personalities one might encounter when coming face to face with real artists, though keep in mind it is still a work of fiction. The meat of the story however, is the relationship between Ophie and her fellow quirky artists in training. Because of this the game has a simple and to the point approach where the interested will “plread” it to enjoy the interactions with the lovely and quirky ladies and that is all. More on that in a bit.
Catch Canvas’ traditional VN gameplay reminds me of the Sakura franchise titles, meaning that it is more about collecting all the sexy CGs while enjoying the time with the girls. To make this work the CGs have to be worth the effort and this title’s mostt certainly are. Razzmatazz and the people who helped her did a great job drawing Dawn, Estelle and “Nacchan” as fetching as possible in the chosen art style, capturing Dawn’s timid allure, “Nacchan”s genki cuteness and Estelle’s unashamed confidence in her undeniable sexiness. Basically all three are visually GLORIOUS! The backgrounds and soundtrack are both solid, capturing the feel of an isolated art “academy” that is not gloomy because of the sunny seaside town setting.
Now let us talk about our four leading ladies. “Nacchan” is the genki troublemaker of the group. Technically all three all troublemakers but “Nacchan” is the most evident one. She is an aspiring mangaka…who unfortunately is not good at drawing manga. Estelle (or Nana as I assume she was originally intended to be known if some of the few typos are to be believed) is a sexy “gyaru“, or to be more specific the self-centered grouch of the group…on the outside. Dawn is the quiet/shy one and…let us just say the old saying about quiet ones rings true with Dawn. As “plreaders” would expect there is more to these three than they initially let on and it is neat discovering their secrets over time. They each have basic but still interesting stories to tell and Ophie also grows as a person through her time with them. As for Ophie herself, she is not a punching but not devoid of reasoning either. She has her own goal but as time passes grows more attached to the ladies. Basically she is a cool avatar character for “plreaders” to follow as she befriends her roommates and possibly courts one of the three. While she does not get as much character development as the others she is not a blank slate either.
Speaking of courting, there is plenty of sexiness to be found with or without the 18+ patch. While Ophie is a no-nonsense invisible cutie she is not a nun who will look away from her peers’ naughtier moments. In fact she will question her sequality on a consistent basis. So besides casual conversations the ladies will freely acknowledge Ophie’s possible sexual preference and roll with it in different ways. This includes when Ophie has made her choice. The yuri is good basically.
Overall Catch Canvas is a solid VN that is simple yet effective. While short it is still a neat little package with very well drawn CGs, nice characters and fun times. While not game changing it is still worth checking out for its reasonable asking price. That or wait for a sale. I leave up to the interested. It may need a small patch though. No game breaking bugs but just in case.