Like cats? Like playing as a cat? Want to do cat things? Want to solve a confusing, yet intriguing mystery of an underground society of TV-headed robots and alien crabs?
Then Stray is the game for you. From Annapurna Interactive and Blue Twelve games comes an adorable, yet unnerving adventure of a cat on a mission to return to their friends. However, the feline lands in a city underground dominated by robotic beings what fear you at first, but soon become valuable allies (some of them at least). Your goal now? Return to the Outside.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Stray is a puzzle platformer. You wake up as a cat during a stormy day. Your only safety is your cat friends who you get to interact and play with, nuzzle, and tease to get used to the controls. Soon after, you’re off on a hunt. But disaster strikes when you fall deep into the dark abyss and are chased by mysterious organisms called Zurks. Now, you have to survive and help a robotic companion, B-12 (get it? Blue Twelve?), to the Outside where freedom awaits.
This game is adorable. It’s not every day you get to play as a regular animal that isn’t superpowered or has abilities. You’re just a plain ol’ cat exploring a forgotten city. While you’re searching around for answers on where you are, you get to experience all the things cats do. Knock stuff over, purr, meow, rub against people’s legs, sleep (literally an achievement where you sleep for one cumulative hour), and climb to the highest parts of the underground world.
You have no means to attack until you get a ray gun midway into the game. Sadly, you lose it a few chapters later. Can’t have our feline be too powerful. Most of the game is spent on surviving against the Zurks, who’ll latch on and suck the life out of you.
The Zurks are these strange insect-like organisms that have taken over the underground world to the point where the robots fear anything smaller than they are, including you at first. They spawn pretty much outside of settlements in huge numbers and will not hesitate to attack you and make a blood meal out of you.
While the game is adorable and you can really spend hours wandering around being a cat for fun, the story is intriguing, yet barebones. The game leaves a lot of situations and mysteries unresolved. Who made these robots? Where did the Zurks come from? What was that eye thing in the sewers? The game focuses a lot on B-12’s origins, but little on the world at large. Granted, I doubt a cat would care about any of that, but I certainly do.
Even so, there is a story of finding your way to the Outside with the help of a team who was attempting to reach the Outside, yet have separated after growing frustrated with where to go and how to get there. Even being living computer screens, they have personalities of their own and become loving characters down the line, with some assisting you in huge ways, like Doc giving you a ray to fight against the Zurks.
Still, this is definitely a must-have and might be on my list for Game of The Year so far. I definitely hope to see more of this down the line.
That’s all for today. If you liked this article and want more from Silver Claw, check out my Patreon where I have all sorts of perks. Moonlight Blade is coming soon. Of course, the story will be free here for everyone over the coming weeks. Patrons, however, will get the full story early this fall, with Chapters 1 and 2 being released for everyone.
Take care, and safe travels, adventurer.