Overall - 80%
It's simple: If you want to play as a cat, then Stray is the game for you. However, if you're more of a dog person, then skip it.
After being revealed years ago, BlueTwelve Studio and Annapurna Interactive’s Stray has hit the scene. Is the cat adventure one worth taking, or should you wait for something else?
Stray begins with you hanging out with a few other cats. You play with them, mingle, and follow them around through a canal. Eventually, you all jump to a pipe and fall down into a sewer. You wake up alone and underground as you navigate to a room with a tiny robot named B12. B12 act as a narrator, since the stray cat doesn’t speak. It leads you through the sewers to a town of robots.
On the way there, you run into creatures known as Zurks; weird rat/slag creatures that eat anything they can find. Later in the game, you find out they have a taste for robotics as well. When you arrive in the robot town, they flee from you, suspecting you to be a Zurk. Eventually, it is sorted out, and B12 tells them you want to get to the surface. Unfortunately, the town’s citizens say the outside world has been sealed for some time. Still, they have some ideas, and you just have to follow them and see if they pan out. The story ran me about five hours, but you might get more if you explore every nook and cranny.
I’d describe Stray as a puzzle-platformer adventure game, but the platforming here is very basic. If you hold forward and press X, you never miss a jump. In addition, there are invisible walls to prevent you from falling. There also prove to be slight inconsistencies with the height and distance you can jump as well; sometimes you can make a massive jump, while others you need a box or pipe to before making the same distance. It can get irritating when you are being chased by the Zurks and think you’ll make a jump, only to be swarmed and killed.
Exploration makes up the bulk of Stray, with countless side quests available from the robots of the town. Most of these are fetch quests, but I’d imagine most people won’t complain since you play a cat. None are needed, though the game will end quicker if you ignore them. These quests make the world feel lived in, so I didn’t mind the hunt for sheet music and other items.
You do eventually get a weapon to fight with the Zurks, though it burns out quickly and has to recharge. The Zurks are always a threat, even when you have the ability to fight. Rushing and swarming with no regard for themselves are the name of the game; I’m not sure if the members of the development team are Starcraft fans, but Zurks and Zergs could be one and the same. Thankfully pacing is excellent; I never felt like I had to deal with the Zurks for an extended period of time, even if said times were stressful. There are other enemies, but players can figure that out for themselves.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a big puzzle person, but most tasks in Stay involve platforming, pushing something off a ledge, or trading items. Note that if you choose to do the optional side quests, you will run into more challenging content. I only got stumped when I went the wrong way or missed a clear vent or window to jump through.
There were some minor clipping issues, but no major bugs or crashes occurred.
It’s simple: If you want to play as a cat, then Stray is the game for you. However, if you’re more of a dog person, then skip it.
in Game Reviews