Delve into the dark and find your way to the light, in an adventure like no other.
Looking for a comprehensive Stray Review? We’ve got you covered! Now an iconic game, Stray is an emotional tale of a cat and a little robotic companion on a journey of freedom and escape. Can’t get enough of Stray? Why not check out our guide for the game? Here is our Stray Review.
Developed by BlueTwelve Studio, this game has captured the hearts of gamers with its iconic character and relationship between elements. Originally released in 2022 as a “timed” exclusive to Playstation and PC, 2023 signifies the release to Xbox.
At first glance, the idea of a cat as the protagonist of this very high-tech and advanced civilization seems very odd however it works remarkably well. Graphically it is a beautiful adventure that takes the cat from a simple beginning to a technologically advanced and thriving city of robotic beings known as Companions. Along the way, it meets both friendly and not-so-friendly beings, but with the help of a small robotic companion named B-12, the two of them make it through hardships and overcome what is placed in their way. Although B-12 has no memory of himself, progressing through the story unlocks his Core Memories which helps him to uncover who he was and what he was doing in the machine when the Cat saved him. The cat on the other hand is on a journey to escape the confinements of the city it falls into.
Overall the story could be summarised to be a journey of freedom, change, and escape. The cat wants its freedom, B-12 realizes that Mankind’s influences are no longer needed, and the Outsiders want to escape the confines of the Walled city they live in. This is a rather primitive way of looking at such an incredible adventure however it seems that it is its core. This author advises you to look past that and look at the incredible game that was built because quite honestly with Stray I would have been happy without a story, the game is magnificent, and how many games out there let you run around as a cat?
Graphics, and Gameplay:
Let’s address the graphics. Remarkable would be an understatement, it is so full of life and diverse it’s hard to believe that the game has come from an Indie studio. That coupled with this being their debut game, this studio looks like they can go really far in the industry. This alone should make you excited to try the game.
The gameplay takes only really one flow, which is exploitive, there are sequences that incorporate the use of B-12, like communication between the cat and the robots, however, they are small sequences. Other things involve interaction points and single action events, such as escaping the holds of the Zurk and entering codes. Controls are simple and really basic, so they are easy to just pick up and achieve the outcome you desire. The majority of the game is repetitive actions of Running or Jumping, you are playing as a cat remember? That being said, seeing the animation of the cat navigating the world, it looks and feels like a cat would move so the team at BlueTwelve Studios really took time to make it look and feel just right, that much is evident from the character, even before you look at the environment.
So remember you are still playing as a cat, which means you have normal cat-like behaviours, like scratching and playing. This is very prominent in the game and even highlighted by Trophies:
- Cat’s best friend
Along with these, there are things like Meowing and Sleeping. This could show the team at BlueTwelve Studios wanted to make sure you know you are a cat, and being one you can still do normal cat things. How you can forget you are a cat in the game is a mystery, however, I must admit that I found it easy to forget I was controlling a cat sometimes.
Now, keeping in mind that you are a cat in the game this was a nice find. In the first Outsiders home, you can find this little cat toy, which you can spend some time playing with. Although a small and somewhat insignificant item in the game to its overall development this made the game feel more alive and show a somewhat history. This is because the only real organic being in the game is the Cats at the beginning, and the one you play as, (We are discounting the Zurk) so why would a robot need something like this?
The game is an impressive work of art and definitely worth taking the time to play. The story is interesting, paced, and although lacking in areas, enjoyable. The fact that there are no real voice actors or verbal communication throughout the game that the player will identify as “Talking” and the story is still very followable is a nice change of pace, compared to other games. It is very difficult to pin down the best part of this incredible Indie game, however, I would have to say the protagonist. The reasoning behind this is that it is a basic tale told from such an amazing angle, as previously stated what other game out there can you play as a cat and still have the uniqueness of being that character?
Starting this game, seemed to have a sad and isolated feel where your cat is separated from his friends/ family when he falls into the dead-walled city of robots. As introductions to games go, this provided the cat with a clear and concise goal, which was one of escape and freedom. As you progress onward you learn of the dangers of the world and what you must do in order to reach your goal. With the help of the Companions and B-12, that goal is made a reality however with a cost. In this short adventure what BlueTwelve Studio did to make the player feel a connection between all the elements of the game is rather incredible. Most of the time the Player is designed to care for the character they play as, and maybe one or 2 other characters, Stray on the other hand in the cleverness of the development team, makes the connection network of “Player-Care” extend to even the environment. Personally, this is a remarkable thing that I have only experienced in a handful of games like Mass Effect, or at an extreme the Yakuza series, but that’s a given. The thing about this “Player-Care” factor is that you want the best outcome for all involved, however one-sided this might sound, you know that things don’t always go as planned. Getting back to Stray, the way this “Player-Care” factor works is that you want a few Constants, which are:
- The Cat to Escape and be free once more
- B-12 to remember and achieve his goal
- The Outsider’s Goal of reaching the outside to be realized
- The City to prosper without the threat of Zurk and Sentinels
Out of all these things, you know that some will be achieved by the end of the game, however, the twist at the end kicks this “Player-Care” factor up and makes you think if there is another way to make the outcome you personally want to see.
Overall what BlueTwelve did with the most simple, and yet incredible concepts is an inspiration. Although a short game it was truly enjoyable and one of the best games I have experienced this year. I only wish that I hadn’t waited to play it, although worth the wait I think it lived up to at least some of the hype of the release. The bad parts of the game are the collectables, where there is a good amount throughout the game, I think that there could have been either more types spread out, or less in a more linear sequence like in some of the liner chapters.
Looking for more reviews to read? Be sure to visit this page and discover a wide range of informative and insightful reviews. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions.