After plenty of hype generated at gaming events across the last year, Annapurna Interactive’s Stray has just released – giving plenty of gamers and cat afficionados the chance to navigate through a colourful cyberpunk world in the form of a cute, cinnamon-coloured feline.
Stray puts us in the paws of a nameless cat, separated from its family at the start of the game. With barely any dialogue to speak of, the narrative thrusts us into a strange, underground world where people seem to be replaced by artificial intelligence.
Our goal is simple – use our agility, smarts, and problem-solving skills to navigate through the strange world before us, hoping to get back to our feline family and friends. While this seems straightforward enough, the game quickly introduces us to a robot drone named B12, which gives us a way to communicate and also discover more about the game’s setting – including the mysterious question surrounding humanity’s absence. The story, while short, also touches upon everything from the future of environmentalism to family bonds – weaving plots through clever exposition and compact visual storytelling.
Much of the game’s critical acclaim is directed towards the unique perspective it offers – Stray really does allow you to feel like a cat, through its immersive movement systems, which were designed to mimic the way real-life cats make their way through alleyways, climb up the sides of buildings, and even emote and express themselves.
(Yes, there’s a specific button designed just for meowing in this game.)
Another part of the experience is that well, as a cat, you will find yourself much more limited than the average gun-toting, ass-whooping action game heroes we’re used to. The Cat, as they’ve come to be called, mostly has to run away and outfox enemies to stay safe in a hostile world. The Zurks, a bunch of hungry bug-monsters intending to eat everything in sight would serve as cannon fodder in most games, but as a cat, they’re a terrifying swarm that may result in more than a few deaths – made even more harrowing by how cute and personable the game’s main character is.
Stray was clearly made by a team that knows cats very well. You have the option to scratch up fabric, snooze on top of warm robots, whack things in place to solve puzzles, and even barrel through things making a mess – just like a real cat would.
Unsurprisingly, the Internet – on which cats are worshipped on a daily basis – ate it all up, sharing footage, cute moments, fan reactions, and reviews from all over.
14/10 Game of the year, no other contenders.— Iron Shrike (@Iron_Shrike) July 18, 2022
I’ve been playing a lot of Stray and I love it SO MUCH. My cat Totoro likes to watch me play and then he tries to catch the cat on the screen. pic.twitter.com/XPyuJWQHB3— Elise Favis (@elisefavis) July 18, 2022
Head empty, Cat game only.#Stray #PS5 pic.twitter.com/FsuEmYW7B4— BT ❄️⚡️ RAGNARÖK (@BT_BlackThunder) July 18, 2022
Stray is now available to play on PS5, PS4, and PC.
(Featured Image Credits: Annapurna Interactive)