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Stray Review | A Silent Hero to a Lost Civilization


 


Title: Stray

Developers: BlueTwelve Studios

Genre: Platform Puzzle, Adventure/Action Adventure, Single-Player, Third-Person, Indie Game

Rating: Relaxing and Adventurous: See the world through the eyes of a cat, within a decaying robotic cybercity.


Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a cat’s head or wanted to play as a cat silent protagonist? With curiosity and extreme mobility at the forefront, there's nothing that stands a chance against this Stray. Separated from his pack and destined to save this cyber city, Stray and his trusty companion B-12 will bring light to a forgotten world.


Like many indie games, Stray focuses on a simplistic design. You'll find it therapeutic as you climb obstacles, leap across platforms, and torment robots. The mysterious city life is the perfect place for a stray as you maneuver through tight paths or sneak in through windows. I found it particularly fun to knock paint cans off of roofs or tip over book stacks. If you're a cat lover, there are tons of areas to explore, places to nap and plenty of paper bags to jump in.



Summary

See the world through the eyes of a cat as you fall into the abyss of a long forgotten city. In this third person adventure game, you will traverse neon lit alleys and Zurk infested buildings to unravel a centuries old mystery. Along the way, your character will meet a small flying drone known as B-12 who turns into your trusty companion. You and B-12 will need to find a way out of the darkness, looking high and low for any clues. Take advantage of the curious droids and develop a lasting bond of friendship as they are the key to your survival. PS: Don't forget to annoy the robots and have some fun!


Story

Upon loading into the game, you'll be bombarded with cuteness as you and your pack wake up after a heavy rain storm. You'll notice the attention to detail when you play with the other cats and learn the base mechanics of the game. As we all know, cats are forever curious with their surroundings and will risk their 9 lives every time. While you explore the ruins of an abandoned facility, a broken pipe leads to the separation from your friends. Falling deep into a chasm, you are forced to find a new way out through an abandoned underground city. With a little bit of mystery, a strange force lights the way to an old lab. Stray works in tandem with the unknown force to download an AI into the body of a small drone calling itself B-12. B-12 explains to you that its memory is mostly corrupt and needs time to recover. He agrees to help you find your way back to the surface in hopes that its memory will be found. As they travel the city together, they discover it is completely devoid of human life, leaving only the robotic servants in their midst. In their absence, the droids developed their own personalities and civilizations residing in fear of the Zurks. Once created to devour trash, the Zurks evolved, devouring both organic life and robots. Getting deeper into the city, the duo meet a Droid named Momo, a member of the Outsiders searching for a way to the surface. With the Outsider’s help, Stray and his companion B-12 begin their adventure. Complete side quests, hunt for treasure, and discover new friends. Will you bring light to the forgotten city or be captured by the enemy?


Gameplay

Stray is played in a third person adventure setting, giving the best perspective of your surroundings. It is extremely useful for leaping across platforms, climbing up obstacles and finding new path ways to open up. By interacting with the environment, you can move certain objects and use B-12 to open gates or fix other electrical problems. Solving these puzzles will help progress the main story. B-12 provides light and acts as your own personal inventory, transferring everything for you as well as giving a description of each item. Throughout the game, you will be able to find B-12’s lost memories which grant more context to the story. BlueTwelve Studio does a great job with these mechanics and even adds some simple atmospheric interactions like clawing at carpets, overturning paint cans, and nudging boxes.

Optional activities like sleeping, nuzzling NPC’s and meowing all elicit a unique response displayed on the droid's face. With that being said, the game is not strictly focused on finishing the story line. There is a little bit of an open world aspect which grants you that adventurous feeling. Some levels or areas as you progress will allow you to roam around and interact with NPCs. Even though there is no audible dialogue, each robot you interact with has their own sayings or information they can provide through subtitles. There are a few robots which will grant optional tasks like Morusque. This robot is a musician who requests you to find lost sheet music. The sheet music can be found placed around the slums and can be played once Morusque receives the music. As you might have realized, there are very few enemies in the game and will only arrive as you try to progress throughout the story. Zurks, the mutated bacteria, are virtually unavoidable until later in the game. Once B-12 merges with the Deluxor, you can fry the Zurks by consistently kiting them and waiting for the weapon to recharge. Beware, as you progress throughout the game, more formidable foes might emerge. Tread lightly and used the protection of the shadows.


Graphics

The graphics in stray are beautiful and give a twist of sci-fi and city life. You'd think with such a simplistic indie game of sorts, the graphics would be one of the last things to shine. With detailed environments and gorgeous lighting effects, playing Stray gives cat lovers a surreal experience, one that everyone is sure to enjoy. As you interact with the droid outsiders, you'll also notice each one has a unique response displayed on their face regarding their emotional status. BlueTwelve Studios certainly paid attention to the little things and it's what we all love most about indie games. For graphics, anyone with a medium tier PC will be able to run it beautifully. It is recommended to have 8GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 or an AMD Ryzen 5 2600.


Is It Fun?

Although the main story is relatively short, the interactions within the dark underworld and its robotic society are rather unique. With its mix of puzzles and item-hunting quests, the never ending curiosity of Stray comes to life. After playing the story, It's safe to say I have loved every minute of it. Whether you're scratching the carpet or climbing up buildings, you come to appreciate how well the developers brought feline gameplay to life.


Should You Buy It?

Stray is the perfect game for those looking for an adventurous puzzle game that isn't too hard or too exhausting. The game mechanics are simplistic but intuitive at replicating cat-like behaviors. Best part is, there's a dedicated “meow” button which always gets used. Stray is available on PC and PS5/PS4 for now and might be released on Xbox/Xbox game pass later on. For 30$, this game will bring you several hours of fun and relaxation. What's not to like about a cat who solves mysteries with a backpack drone.

1 comment

1 Comment


Ae Xiong
Ae Xiong
Oct 08, 2022

Great in-depth review. Makes me want to grab a copy this

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