Your love for STRAY will depend upon how much you love cats and BLADE RUNNER like science fiction (this is also a sentence I never thought I would write). STRAY is a videogame that deservedly took the Playstation Game of the Year award at the 40th Golden Joystick Awards and Most Innovative Gameplay at the Steam Awards. It’s at once adorable and also feels like a survival horror game.
So what the heck is STRAY? It’s the distant future, where there are no humans left. You play as a stray cat separated from its pack and accidentally stumbles upon a robot civilization. Yet, STRAY is unique because you’re playing as a cat with no superhero powers. You can purr, scratch things, rub against robots’ legs to get a reaction, and there are a bunch of other easter eggs I dare not spoil. You also explore the world from a cat’s POV. That means that if a section of the game is out of reach for a human-like robot, it will likely not be for you with your leaping abilities.
There are three types of gameplay in STRAY:
- Alien chase – The horror vibe where you have to outrun weird creatures that chase and kill you.
- Talking to robots – While the cat cannot speak, his heartfelt droid companion, B-12, can. The droid translates the robot language for the kitty (and you) to be able to understand. What works here is the breath of unique robot characters that all have something worthy of learning. The world may not have humans, but every robot’s story is worth listening to.
- Fetch quests – The weakest part of STRAY are the puzzles. For the most part, you’ll get sent to pick up an item, followed by another, only to give said item to someone that then requests one more thing to do. It’s far from “purrfect,” but worth it since the story and creativity in the STRAY world excel.
STRAY won’t lead you “astray.” It has a lush post-apocalyptic world, mysteriously dense robot stories, and a lovable protagonist, making it a “claw-some” experience for new and experienced gamers. I can’t wait to go back in and spend more time with B-12, the most lovable robot to grace a videogame since Clank from the RATCHET AND CLANK series.
STRAY is available on PS5 and Steam. I played it on PS5.