Stray Review

Games that put you in the paws of a cat are not entirely uncommon but they often portray the more comical aspects of a cat’s life. Stray focuses on one of the cat’s greatest strengths, agility, to create a very unique platforming adventure that is dripping with atmosphere.

You are a cat who has fallen into a strange underground bunker inhabited by human-like robots. Everything feels relatable to society but at the same time feels a little off and it is hard to initially pinpoint the cause.

city street
On an off glance, this might seem like busy city in Tokyo but when you focus in on it, things start to look a little off

As you explore this underground city, you will begin to understand more about what is going on. The situation quickly becomes engrossing as you dive deeper into this unique society.

You are unable to speak, of course, you are a regular, everyday cat, but that doesn’t mean you are unable to engage with the robots. Their curiosity matches your own as you try to learn more about what is on their minds and what they may need your help with. Their eagerness to engage is a positive experience.

Despite the city being so dilapidated and grimy, there is a rather unusual charm about the setting. The sense of community gives off such a warm feeling. There is something very attractive about a place that portrays itself as being quite cold and unwelcoming.

Life is not glamorous but there is such a strong sense of community among the robots that inhabit the town.

Quests you pick up along the way can range from simple A-B with platforming along the way to some more complex puzzles that will get that feline brain working overtime. You will often find yourself impressed with how clever the platforming puzzles are and how they take advantage of the flexibility and agility of a cat in a way you may not think of right away.

The adventure is rather short but not in a way that it feels incomplete. The story is quite satisfying and touches on some deeper moral and emotional aspects of artificial intelligence.

You will most definitely wish there were more side quests and activities to give you a reason to explore deeper into this unusual city. Even knowing the adventure is short, is not quite enough to shield you from the letdown when the credits roll. You won’t be ready for this to end.

The visual quality in Stray does not quite meet the heights of realism that the animations of the cat do. That is not to say the game does not look very nice but there is a discrepancy between the realism of how the cat looks and how it moves that stands out a little more during the early close-ups in the game.

cat in the city
Watching the cat stroll through the grimy city feels so unique and realistic in so many ways. The animation of the cat is absolutely flawless, especially to those who have/do own cats. 

The various areas of the city are what make this game shine the most. Each area you visit is significantly different from the last. Everything feels so grimy and run down but you feel like you want to be there in person. It has so much charm and vibrancy to it. I haven’t wanted to visit a less-than-idilic location since Rapture from Bioshock. The short adventure gives you a taste of something really special and you will desperately want more.

THE VERDICT

8.5/10
A game where you play as a real cat in a strange dystopian world of human-like robots is a very odd combination. Through strong-level design and great character controls, you will find a healthy dose of puzzles, platforming, and exploration to satisfy all of your needs. While a little short and in need of some extra side quests, Stray delivers a very interesting and fun adventure that is definitely worth checking out.
Pros
  • The cat animations are flawless
  • Very interesting story
  • The City is a lot of fun to explore
  • Some of the puzzles are tricky and very satisfying to solve.
Cons
  • Would be nice if there were more side quests
  • The visual quality isn't as consistantly strong as the rest of the game.