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Stray Review

(Image from Steam Game Page)

BlueTwelve Studio has been working on this title for seven years, and it was tough to predict how the final product of this French team’s effort would appear. Despite approaching Stray with no expectations and even some skepticism, I must say that I am really impressed with this game. Recognize the significance, for these statements are difficult to swallow for someone who has always favored dogs to cats.

We take on the role of a ginger fuzzy whose existence in a little joyous flock is upended when a kitten falls into an unseen chasm after an unfortunate jump. There are relics of a fallen human civilisation beneath the surface of nature. Exploring the dark reaches of the subterranean, the feline hero finds upon a vast ecosystem of humanoid robots who live regular lives beneath the surface. We tour the planet in quest of a passage to the surface, aided by a little robot named B-12. Stray’s narrative is nothing new, and it fits within the well-known post-apocalyptic canon. We managed to derive a lot of morals from a basic plot, and stories buried somewhere on the sides and cat frolics are the key values of this game. The world of robots is so similar to the world of humans in so many respects that the only difference is its occupants. So we go to slums and other locations, and everything is portrayed as a cyberpunk cultural melting pot. It is worth mentioning that we are dealing with a game whose visual setting is similar to that of high-budget blockbusters, and everything functions flawlessly. Seeing the world through the eyes of a little animal is an intriguing method that allows us to see the beauty that we otherwise overlook. Everything appears large and exciting to a little tomcat, and the creators have built this immensity in an exceptionally engaging way. The beauty of Stray is this cat roaming, and the artists brilliantly caught the appeal of their quiet and free life. The game never pushes us, and the abundance of interaction points is typical cat behavior. We scrape furniture with our claws, rub hairy rugs with our paws, chase bright toys, and, of course, hurl stuff off tables.

(Image from Steam Game Page)

There are also pre-planned moments in which we act just like cats from internet memes, jumping on a table where some robot was creating a house of cards, or throwing dishes to spite the metal bartender. Of course, the cat is forgiven for everything since it is lovely and its meow touches even inorganic beings. It’s amusing how caressing the cat affects the robot’s emotions, as shown by a heart that shows on the monitor and imitates its face. Being a cat is wonderful, and I want for a game in which, instead of rescuing the world and fighting hordes of animals, I may cuddle up on a cushion and doze while emitting soothing purrs. It’s an excellent reminder that even if the world isn’t what we want it to be, we can still appreciate the present and “stop for a moment to smell the flowers.” Stray with a simple method, which is viewing the world through the eyes of a cat, highlights the minor joys that we overlook.

Before the debut, I was concerned that the game would be boring if it was solely about chasing your own tail. After all, this is an adventure game, and the players are expecting adventures! All of the calmer and more exploratory levels are divided by darker stages, which take place in sewers, mystery complexes, or factories, and provide a minor adrenaline boost as well as an adventure that draws you in. We must sometimes battle for our life, fleeing swarms of murderous beasts and dashing onward along convoluted roads until we reach the institution. The stealth phases are also extremely intriguing, taking use of all the benefits of being a bit hairy. We often hide beneath coverings, hop into cardboard boxes, climb high out of sight, and, due to the B-12, we even hack gadgets to evade detection. Simultaneously, the gameplay is built on continually encountered riddles, in which the cat needs to move something to progress further, or, straight out of ancient adventure games, aid a person, for which he will obtain an essential item and will be able to offer it to someone else to advance the story. At times, you must locate the digits for the safe, which might be difficult. In a nutshell, this isn’t a game about walking a cat, and the gameplay, when paired with the mystery we’re trying to solve, creates an extremely cohesive whole.

(Image from Steam Game Page)

The game lasts around eight hours, which is plenty time to appreciate the beauty of cat life, while the action scenes and puzzles keep the pace up. The game’s conclusion comes as no surprise, but this isn’t about that. Stray appealed to me because of its nuances, charm, and the possibility to escape from regular life in a unique way. Cats don’t care whether they’re dealing with humans or machines; their universe isn’t centered on us. The game, in addition to providing entertainment and enjoyment, causes us to ponder. What more could you ask for?

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