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Stray Review

by BlueTwelve Studio 0 text

Stray Thumbnail

Feline cyberpunk adventure: curious, chaotic, captivating.

Stray is an innovative and beautifully crafted adventure game developed by BlueTwelve Studio and published by Annapurna Interactive. The game immerses players in a dystopian cybercity through the eyes of a stray cat. As you traverse the neon-lit alleys and decaying rooftops, your journey unveils a touching narrative about survival, freedom, and the remnants of humanity left behind in robotic caretakers.

The story begins with the cat falling into the depths of a mysterious, walled-off city, long abandoned by humans. Accompanied by a small drone named B-12, the cat embarks on a quest to return to the surface, navigating through various environments, from the bustling slums to the midtown sectors populated by sentient robots. The journey is fraught with challenges, including evading dangerous Zurks and interacting with the unique robot inhabitants, each with their own backstories and quests that enrich the game's world.

Gameplay 9

Stray excels in delivering an immersive gameplay experience that captures the essence of being a cat. The controls are intuitive, allowing players to leap gracefully from one platform to another, squeeze through tight spaces, and engage in typical cat antics like knocking over objects and scratching surfaces. The game seamlessly blends exploration, puzzle-solving, and stealth mechanics, creating a varied and engaging gameplay loop.

One of the standout features is the guided movement system, which ensures the cat's actions feel smooth and natural. This system prevents frustrating missteps while preserving a sense of freedom. The game also incorporates environmental storytelling effectively, with clues hidden in the form of graffiti, posters, and robot interactions that gradually reveal the city's history and the fate of its former human inhabitants.

Challenges come in the form of avoiding or outsmarting the Zurks, flesh-eating creatures that add a layer of tension to the exploration. As you progress, the introduction of a Zurk-zapping device adds a new dimension to these encounters, requiring quick reflexes and strategic thinking.

Graphics 9

Stray's visual design is nothing short of spectacular. The cybercity is brought to life with meticulous attention to detail, from the claustrophobic slums lit by flickering neon signs to the more open, yet eerie, industrial areas. The game's art direction, influenced by the real-life Kowloon Walled City, creates a believable and immersive environment that feels both lived-in and abandoned.

The character animations, particularly those of the cat, are fluid and lifelike, enhancing the immersion. The lighting and environmental effects, such as the glow of neon lights reflecting off wet surfaces, contribute to the game's moody atmosphere. The robots themselves are a visual treat, with expressive faces made of LED screens and quirky, human-like adornments that add personality to their mechanical forms.

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Storyline 9

The narrative in Stray is both simple and profound, exploring themes of companionship, loss, and the search for freedom. Through the perspective of the cat and the interactions with B-12 and other robots, players uncover a story about the last remnants of human civilization and the efforts of their robotic successors to preserve some semblance of life.

The relationship between the cat and B-12 evolves throughout the game, providing emotional depth and a sense of partnership. B-12's journey of self-discovery, coupled with the cat's instinctual drive to survive and explore, forms the backbone of the narrative. The game also cleverly uses environmental storytelling to piece together the history of the city and its inhabitants, making exploration feel purposeful and rewarding.

Multiplayer N/A

Stray is a single-player experience and does not feature any multiplayer components. The focus is entirely on delivering a rich, narrative-driven adventure from a unique perspective.

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Issues and Community Feedback

While Stray has been widely praised for its innovative gameplay and stunning visuals, some players have noted minor issues such as occasional animation glitches and the restrictive jump mechanic, which can sometimes impede exploration. However, these issues are generally seen as minor inconveniences in an otherwise polished game.

Conclusion 8

Stray is a remarkable achievement in indie game development, offering a fresh and emotionally resonant adventure through the eyes of a cat. Its blend of exploration, puzzle-solving, and storytelling creates a compelling experience that stands out in the crowded landscape of action-adventure games. Whether you're a cat lover or simply looking for a unique gaming experience, Stray delivers in spades.

Pros and Cons

  • Unique perspective
  • Stunning visuals
  • Engaging storyline
  • Minor glitches
  • Restrictive jump mechanic

Player Quotes

Playing as a cat was surprisingly immersive and fun. The game world is beautifully crafted. The relationship between the cat and B-12 added an unexpected emotional depth to the game.

The guided movement system makes you feel like a real cat, but sometimes it felt too restrictive, limiting the sense of exploration.

Explore More

Please note that this review is based on the feedback and sentiments of players on various Reddit threads and does not represent the views of all players.