Despite the truth that it stars a cat, there’s no additional fluff in Stray. The sport takes place below the dome of a man-made sky, in a futuristic metropolis populated by robots and minimize off from the pure world, and mechanically, it’s additionally completely contained. Each element in Stray serves a goal, whether or not it’s an environmental cue nudging gamers towards a selected path or the flexibility to meow at will, which is lovely, however can even distract enemies in fight scenes.
Stray is a cyberpunk playground the place gamers are rewarded for trusting their instincts, and it provides an attractive steadiness of exploration, puzzle fixing and soothing cat actions. And someway alongside the best way, it manages to inform a heart-wrenching human story with none folks in any respect.
Cat folks, you’re going to like Stray, however there are additionally some scenes which are arduous to look at. The sport begins with a gang of 4 cats dwelling their greatest lives in a lush, overgrown industrial park that’s lengthy been deserted by folks. Gamers are an orange tabby, leaping throughout enormous pipes and metal beams till one slip modifications every little thing. As its pals look on, the cat falls dozens of storeys down a deep, pitch-black gap, touchdown in a damaged heap on the concrete ground of a sewer. The cat is injured, making gamers stroll round limping and woozy for some time earlier than recovering regular mobility. The damage scene is hard to look at and even tougher to play, even for a canine particular person like myself, but it surely builds an on the spot emotional reference to the tabby that carries by your entire sport.
The majority of Stray takes place within the neon-lit neighborhoods trapped below the dome and populated by anthropomorphic robots. Gamers discover whereas looking for a means again to their pals within the daylight, and ultimately the cat is supplied with a cute little drone that helps it talk with the robots and hack sure terminals. The drone, B-12, is making an attempt to unravel a thriller of its personal – whereas traversing the cities, gamers gather reminiscences from random shining objects, serving to B-12 bear in mind the place it got here from.
Stray’s world was constructed for people and bipedal robots, which makes it significantly intriguing to discover as a cat. From a foot off the bottom, issues like doorways are ineffective, whereas gadgets like pipes, railings and air con items present perfect platforms for scaling buildings and navigating the twisting alleyways below the dome. The environmental puzzles reap the benefits of this cat-level perspective, inviting gamers to have a look at the world with completely different, light-reflective eyes.
Not one of the riddles in Stray are overly difficult, although fairly just a few of them are intelligent. Probably the most partaking puzzles ask gamers to journey forwards and backwards amongst a number of areas, serving to or tricking numerous robots to get what’s wanted, with minimal course from the sport itself. These puzzles are solved by exploring the cities and speaking with their inhabitants, naturally constructing out the lore on the similar time. And Stray doesn’t keep on with any mechanic for too lengthy, presenting new enemies and contemporary conditions to unravel with every setting.
The trail ahead in Stray is normally apparent, with yellow paint marking jumpable platforms and enormous neon arrows typically pointing the best way. These navigation components aren’t precisely refined, however they mix into the richness of the town, solely standing out once they’re actually wanted. This makes progressing in Stray really feel utterly pure – with the setting continually directing gamers alongside the correct path, the following leap is normally the suitable one, and this retains the tempo up properly total.