Occasionally a new game is released that is so unique in concept, that it is worth playing simply for its distinctiveness. Stray (2022), is a puzzle & adventure game from BlueTwelve Studios and was published by the same people who brought us, Outer Wilds.
The story follows a stray cat who falls into a dystopian walled-off city, populated by robots with individual personalities and unique styles. Your goal is to reach the surface with the help of your drone companion B-12.
Throughout the game, you will unearth more of the shrouded past and lore behind many of the characters that you meet, and the world that you live in. This is all optional to the player of course, but many of the game’s core story points are handed to the player as you piece together your companions’ corrupted memory.
I best mention Stray’s biggest gameplay element… you play as a freaking cat!
The animations on our unnamed furry friend are stunningly made, the cat moves very fluidly and controls well. The attention to detail on our feline protagonist is amazing and overly cute at the same time. From the light pitter patter of paws off metal pipes to tearing up carpets and scratching at doors, you can tell the developers really thought about how typical cat behaviours could be worked into the game.
Playing from the perspective of a cat gives the world around you a much grander scale. The levels are quite vast and are somewhat freely explorable, with some having great verticality that is explored using the game’s parkour-esk mechanics.
The game’s difficulty is very low, this is a great game for someone who isn’t that confident with games (especially if they love cats). I got this game primarily for my better half to play, and they loved it. I’d highly recommend playing this game with a friend or partner, as you unravel the game’s plot.
This game gives me Cyberpunk vibes that not even Cyberpunk 2077 could give me sometimes, think of fewer bugs and more cats, the dystopian world feels oppressive but beautiful. As you climb up from the very bottom of this world’s society to the most elite top you will encounter robots of all walks of life, some are obsessed with long-extinct humans, and many just simply want to chill at the bars and eat RAM-en (I wish I came up with this in-game dad joke but I didn’t).
The biggest and really only downside to this game is its playtime. The game can easily be finished in about five hours, which for £23.99 just doesn’t really cut it in today’s gaming market. However, although this game is short, it is still captivating, and visually stunning.
In short, Stray (2022) is a masterfully crafted 3rd person adventure game with light puzzle elements. The game is simple to pick up and will suit experienced and novice gamers. Despite the short playtime, I would highly recommend picking up this feline cyberpunk game, we can only hope that this game’s success will lead to DLC or an even longer sequel.