The New Game Stray is the Cat’s Meow

I, as well as a lot of other people including my roommate, have been waiting for Stray to come out. The game that was developed by BlueTwelve Studio and published by Annapurna Interactive allows you to play as a cat. If that’s not enough, you get to play as a cat in an underground world filled with robots. The game was released on July 19 on the PS4, PS5, XBox, and PC for only $29.99. (That’s a lower price than the usual $60-70 that a lot games release at.) It was announced that a physical copy would be released for the PS5 so I kept an eye out for it but wasn’t seeing it show up on Best Buy, GameStop, or Amazon. A week before the game released, it was finally announced that the physical copy wouldn’t be released until September 20 and would cost $39.99. I’m sorry, but I’m not waiting 2 months and paying $10 extra to play the game. That was a waste of anticipation.

So, was the game worth it? Definitely. I’ve heard of people finishing it in 5-10 hours. I’ll admit that I’m not the best gamer and I enjoy taking my time doing things and checking everything out so I haven’t quite completed it yet. I am a good way through it though. It’s fun playing the cat who, at least as far along as I am, has no name. You can’t customize the look of the cat like you can characters in other games but he’s cute as he is and this is the story of this specific cat. There is a dedicated button for meowing and, if you find the right locations, you can stop for a drink or scratch on furniture and doors. There’s also opportunities to knock tons of stuff off of tables, shelves, and even buildings that I have definitely taken advance of. Also, what kind of cat wouldn’t want to find a place for a nice nap? There are cushions around where you can do that as well. Live your cat life and have fun.

If just wandering around meowing and scratching was all there was to the game, it would be cute but not overly exciting. You’ll run across lots of area to explore and puzzles to figure out. You’ll be jumping from the floor onto furniture and from the ground up onto air conditioners and then pipes and roofs. You’ll be exploring the city from all sorts of levels and finding your way into buildings. Where you can jump to and from is limited and you’ll see an icon (an X the PS5 since that’s the button to use) when there’s something you can jump to from your current location. You don’t have to worry about missed jumps unless it’s part of the storyline. The city is a safe spot for you.

Where is the excitement in being safe though? After figuring out a bunch of stuff to advance the story and getting to team up with your new robot buddy, you have to go outside the city to the dangerous areas where the Zurks are. Zurks are little creatures that eat just about anything, especially sweet little kitty cats. It may take a few tries to get past the Zurks and there is no save option in the game. It will save at certain points but not always at the ones you necessarily want. Thankfully, if you die (which is really sad to watch and really sucks each time it happens), you get to retry from its last save spot. Right now I’m stuck at a part where the save spot is in the middle of a big mess that respawns when I do so I have to be really careful. This is one area where I wish there was a save button. That’s part of the challenge though. I’ve gotten through others, I’ll get past this one. I need to, after all, or I won’t be able to get my adorable orange fluff ball back up to the surface. For $30, it’s a lot of fun. It’s got great graphics, an interesting storyline, and lots of stuff to do. I don’t know that it has much in terms of replayability other than to get achievements that you may have missed along the way. It’s definitely worth checking it out. The top 2 tiers of Playstation Plus are supposed to have it for free play with the subscription. (I’ve only got the lower tier so I had to buy it, but that’s what was announced.) I’d love to hear what others think of the game. Even if you don’t enjoy it for some reason, your cat probably will as videos of cats watching their owner play the game are all over the place.

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