Video Game Review: Claw your way through ‘Stray’

Stray is a new, immersive video game that puts players in the place of a lost cat in an abandoned city.

September 29, 2022

 

In Stray, a part platformer, part adventure game, you utilize the cat’s best abilities. Playing from a cat’s perspective is very intriguing as you see everything from a new point of view like running, jumping, meowing and knocking things over. Everything feels large and scary. From dark windows to creaky pipes you must run along.

Stray is a 2022 adventure video game developed by BlueTwelve Studio and published by Annapurna Interactive. It follows one cat on a mission to get home after falling into an empty underground cyberpunk city. 

Eventually, you find yourself following messages on lit-up signs scattered throughout the city. The first sign reads “Help.” Then you’re soon following a path of signs reading “Follow Me.”  The atmosphere created makes you feel uneasy because you feel as if you’re being watched. Each sign turns on as you enter new locations. As you follow the signs through the desolate city, you get to explore the mechanics of the game. When you finally reach the end of these signs, you find yourself a tiny robot companion named B-12, who needs help recovering its memories. That’s how the adventure starts.

There are simple puzzles you need to solve while exploring.  One puzzle requires you to pick up a bucket and throw it into a fan to stop it so you can continue through. The game does have very simplistic mechanics that make some of the puzzles feel a little repetitive. The game could have benefited from more in-depth gameplay.

Along with puzzles, there are chase sequences that get your heart racing. You need to run from small creatures called Zurks, who eat everything and have caused the downfall of the underground city. You have to run and avoid the Zurks as they pour out everywhere like bugs. After one long chase, the cat finds itself in the robot slums. 

While in the slums, you realize that most of the robots don’t believe in the outside world that you came from and don’t know how to help you. With B-12 by your side, you ask around to try and find the one believer. 

While searching, you start to unlock memories for B-12. Memories from a time before the cities were desolate. There are a total of seven memories throughout the slums. One of the most intriguing memories you can find is old graffiti on a wall that says, “RIP HUMANS.” B-12 comments on the Zurks and how they infested and overran the cities. 

One thing I love is the interactions with the robots who live there. There is a small market where you can trade energy drinks for objects. You can get an ancient relic, an electric cable and a music sheet. I recommend getting all the items to unlock memories and more cute interactions. My favorite is collecting the eight music sheets to give to Morusque, who will play them for you.

Eventually, you find one colorful and eccentric robot named Momo who believes in the outside world. He acts the most human out of any other robot, which is refreshing. He needs your help to find his friends who traveled to the outside world. He isn’t sure if they survived their travels. You feel for Momo because you’re stuck in the exact same situation as him.

Overall, Stray offers an immersive world with both amazing character and world design. It has enough content for a single rewarding playthrough but could benefit from a little more depth in the puzzles. I would recommend everyone to give it a playthrough. 

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