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Stray PS Plus Review

Stray is an adventure game where you are controlling a cat and is available this month on PS Plus Extra and Premium. The cat is lost in this world of robots and it’s a post-apocalyptic setting where the humans have disappeared but the robots have taken on human mannerisms and human-type relationships with each other, human backstories, and you are exploring and trying to rescue this cat and get him away from this closed urban environment and back into the natural world where the cat starts off.

He has this kind of beautiful opening sequence and then eventually gets separated from the cats that he’s hanging with and has to go on this long journey through these robotic cities, slums, sewers, and interesting environments like urban decay-type environments to try to get back to the outside, to the world that the cat knew and loved. So it’s a bit of an on the roads type journey with this cat who befriends this little robot drone called B12 who fits snugly in this little harness that the cat wears everywhere and it pops out and can activate flashlights and later on has a little bit of weaponry they can use against some of the enemy types.

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It is also an interpreter for all of these robot characters that the duo meets along their journey. It’s really cute and that relationship is great playing as a little cat was adorable and you can make him meow whenever you want to and he can curl up in a little ball and fall asleep. The cat can even scratch carpets and walls and some of that is just so you can enjoy the act of being this cat but some of it is also useful in terms of puzzle solving and trying to figure out where you’re supposed to go.

There is an element of being lost in Stray and I think that was purposefully built because the developers obviously recognize that the cat wouldn’t have a map and you wouldn’t be able to call up all kinds of data screens and things like that where you were figuring things out as the little cat. There is this kind of adherence to some semblance of reality although this has to be said this is the smartest cat that has ever existed or you know some semblance of existence in history because this cat can figure out anything and is also incredibly resilient.

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It gets attacked and has some huge jumps and some falls and things but basically licks itself and keeps on going but it’s really fun to be this cat. It’s fun to solve these puzzles and it’s fun to examine and explore these really hyper-detailed worlds, the lighting is incredible, reflections of neon signs on puddles and on glass surfaces. You’re in slums but then as the game progresses you escalate in and start to find things that are a little bit more polished a little bit more tuned in the world and in the characters that you meet.

There’s some really nice subtle environmental work and some totally cool defined character work and it’s awesome to communicate with these robots and they give you little pieces of information and threads that you’re gonna pursue to solve this mystery and get to the end of the game and rescue our little cat hero. The whole idea is you’re trying to save yourself as this cat and I will say though that as beautiful as the theme is and the design is, if you’ve seen the trailers then you have basically seen most of what Stray has to offer.

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Stray is a lot more chill, it’s a lot more ambiance, it’s a lot more of a just feel your way along and I appreciated all of that for sure. The only thing is that there wasn’t that extra layer of surprise there wasn’t that extra layer of genius design or a really fantastic spark of something we’ve never seen before apart from the fact that we are playing this really cool cat in this robotic worlds with all of these cool looking robots, that’s what you get that’s it.

The puzzles are not incredibly difficult and you might see some signs on the wall that leads you to unlock a safe or a code on the door and you may have to trick some drones by slamming doors shut so they can’t escape and you can continue on your way. There might be a little bit of assistance with other characters that you carry along or some props that you carry along to help you progress and that’s pretty much the whole game.

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There’s some cool storytelling about what happened with humans and why the world is like this and I enjoyed my time with Stray but it didn’t have that shocking moment like a Naughty Dog game but it’s great in its own right, it’s really atmospheric, it’s cool and it’s beautiful and stylish but it is original in its themes and the character and the way it presents itself.

It’s just the gameplay is a little routine and familiar for anybody that’s played adventure games or action adventure games and the one sort of glaring issue that I have with Stray and I think a lot of people have expressed this as well is that sort of contextual jumping or contextual interaction element that pops up. You’ll see the icons pop up with what you can press and what you can jump to or what you can tap on to activate, so you’re constantly looking around.

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It felt very much like a cursor hunting game or something like a Resident Evil type game where you’re just scouring the environment for what you can actually activate. That felt a little bit like the game was funneling me to specific things as opposed to letting me have a full 3-dimensional experiential escape. It still does provide much of that but it is just tempered by some design decisions. 

Honestly with the budgetary limitations that any independent developer would have it is still remarkable work aesthetically and thematically. I definitely think this is something that most people should check out for sure unless you happen to hate this type of adventure game or hate cats but I did really enjoy Stray.

Great

Stray is set in a dystopian underground civilization where you play as a cat and try to get back to the surface after you fell down into the underground city/civilization. During your journey, you unravel the secrets of this civilization and meet a lot of interesting NPCs. The story is really unique and thrilling. The gameplay isn't bad, but it could've been better and the graphics are good and the cat really looks so sweet.

8
Gameplay:
8
Graphics:
8.5
Soundtrack:
7.5

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