Stray is a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk video game with a cat protagonist. Well, I guess I’ve said all I need to say. I mean: cat!
Okay, maybe the game needs a little more explanation. The story starts with four cats cats playing in an chasm of overgrown metal. They hop from pipe to pipe in this rusty place.No human seems to have set foot there in a long time. Then one of the pipes breaks. A single red cat slips and falls down into the darkness.
You play that cat. You end up deep below, waking in a dark underground city inhabited by robots and creepy killer guinea pigs. I won’t spoil too much, but well, it’s a dystopian future and things are not right.
In Stray, you control a cat. You can walk around, jump onto and off of things, scratch things. You also acquire a companion after a while, who can help you communicate with the robots inhabiting the city, and can hold some inventory and do stuff that cats can’t, like operate computers.
Stray is a general purpose adventure game, not to be confused with the point-and-click adventure game. It has some platforming elements, stealth sections, several open-world areas, and some light roleplaying. It all fits neatly together in a short but fun game.
As you progress, you slowly unravel the mysteries of the city, the robots, the guinea pigs, and your companion. Stray is not world-shattering, but it is well executed, and fun.
Stray manages to mix cat pictures with cyberpunk neon to create an interesting dystopian atmosphere. Mixed with the pathos of the post-apocalyptic world you travel through, makes for a pleasant experience.
Because it isn’t an overlong game, the game doesn’t bother you with a gazillion miles of interchangeable cyber-landscape. Or a thousand fetch quests. Instead, every part of the game has its own nuances, and you’re done with those before they can bore you.
All in all, Stray is a good game. The pacing is good, the puzzles are interesting, and the atmosphere is really cyberpunky but also unique. And it has cats!
If you like adventures, or hate guinea pigs, or love post-apocalyptic cyberpunk, this is the game for you. If not, well, go play something else.