‘Stray’ might be this summer’s most beautiful video game. So, what are you waiting for? You should play right meow!
Stray, the latest adventure videogame from Annapurna Interactive and BlueTwelve Studio, has been released. You can play the video game on PC and Playstation. In the game, you play as a stray ginger tabby cat navigating a dystopian, cyberpunk world in an attempt to reunite with its family.
The Story Behind This Summer’s Most Beautiful Video Game
I, this very moment, deem stray to be this summer’s most beautiful video game. I genuinely find this video game captivating not only because of its scenery but also the storyline and the various things the video game lets us do.
The game’s magnificence lies in its, captivating storyline, straightforward gameplay, astounding realism, and stunning scenery. Let me explain.
You Get To Be A Cat!
I will start my reasoning for the grand proclamation of Stray being this summer’s most beautiful video game with the very obvious facet of the game. The video game lets you be a cat!
As mentioned earlier, the video game’s main character is a stray ginger tabby cat (yes, you get to be an adorable ginger tabby cat!). In all honesty, this is the biggest reason I proclaim Stray to be this summer’s most beautiful video game. No! That isn’t the only reason (although a very much appreciated reason). What I mean is, that the game lets you understand how great it is to play a cat. Yes, it isn’t a revolutionary idea. This is not the first game where you can roleplay as an animal. Plenty of other video games out there give you the same choice, right?
I do understand your confusion. Why is everyone going bonkers over a video game that features a cat? It’s because Stray, apart from letting you be a cat, is plenty realistic with sublime scenery and story, making it an experience worth harboring. I mean, the voice actor of our main stray cat IS A CAT.
If you don’t call that dedication and staying true to the character, I don’t know what is. We will go into an actual cat being the voice actor bit in the latter part of this article but trust me. This game will, quite literally, let you be a cat. In some magical way, it will make you believe that you are indeed the cat in search of its family.
Maybe it’s because the voice actor is an actual cat or because it has all the traits a typical cat has. You can’t pin the experience of it all to one random point. But if you are someone who is looking forward to playing the game, you will understand what I mean when you play the game yourself.
No seriously. You get to meow whenever you want, wherever you want. You get to do all things a cat does. Scratch yourself, scratch others, scratch the wall, scratch random things, purr, lick, sleep at random spots, annoy others, follow random lights, run around, and the list goes on!
Honestly, when I came across this news, boy was I excited. Wait, excited is an understatement. Being a cat lover, I was ecstatic! Even before playing the game, I knew I would love it. But after playing the video game, Stray has officially become a part of my esteemed collection of favorite games.
A Captivating Plot
"Lost, alone and separated from family, a stray cat must untangle an ancient mystery to escape a long-forgotten city. Stray is a third-person cat adventure game set amidst the detailed, neon-lit alleys of a decaying cybercity and the murky environments of its seedy underbelly. Roam surroundings high and low, defend against unforeseen threats and solve the mysteries of this unwelcoming place inhabited by curious droids and dangerous creatures. See the world through the eyes of a cat and interact with the environment in playful ways. Be stealthy, nimble, silly, and sometimes as annoying as possible with the strange inhabitants of this mysterious world. Along the way, the cat befriends a small flying drone, known only as B-12. With the help of this newfound companion, the duo must find a way out." - Annapurna Productions & BlueTwelve Studio
Stray is a work of vibrant imagination that shows us what the future may look like when all we hold dear has fallen apart. The basic plot of Stray is that you, a fearless feline, have been separated from your family after falling deep into a world enveloped in darkness. To climb back up and bring light to everything below, you will need to connect with the robotic residents who have become more human the more extended time has passed.
Even though Stray might seem like a pretty simple game, it isn’t. While it begins with the aspect of you finding your way back to your family of fellow felines, you end up making new connections along the way. Each robot you speak to has something to say about the world. Be it humorous or heartfelt, when you take time and wander around listening to each random person you come across, not only will you find the experience amusing, you will know how great a way it is to learn more about these friendly robots and the world they live in.
A rare few may not take too kindly to you being a cat. Many are initially scared of you, though most quickly grow fond of you. Be it the bartender who treats you just like another customer or musical robot who will perform some songs for you while you curl up next to them. These robotic beings are all distinct in their temperaments.
The main robot though is a tiny cute drone named B-12. Attached to the tabby ginger cat’s back, B-12 helps to translate conversations throughout various encounters and acts as your primary companion along the way.
If anything, it is this tiny cute drone that almost ends up becoming the main character the more you interact with it and learn about the consciousness B-12 and every other robots have underneath their technological exterior. Without going into too much detail, the vast wisdom B-12 holds and where their character ends up makes the experience far more emotionally reflective than one could have ever anticipated or hoped for.
Various people who have played Stray appreciate the experience the game has given them. The bittersweet story that oscillates between joy, heartbreak, and even occasional horror, has left people in tears and made them reflect on their thoughts. Thus, even though it might not seem like your non-stop thriller games, Stray has rapidly become this summer’s most beautiful video game.
Stray has a lot of things in common with other adventure video games. You must solve puzzles, navigate a dense metropolitan environment, and employ stealth to avoid powerful enemies. As mentioned earlier, there are characters to befriend and things to collect. But in Stray, you are a cat. While this might sound like a joke, in reality, the shift in perspective makes Stray feel refreshingly new. You’re still in a big, elaborate world, but now, you’re seeing it from ground level. This perspective changes everything; from solving the puzzles to exploring the subterranean city and it robot citizens underground.
In Stray, getting around involves planning the suitable route and cracking some general puzzles that are easy to deduce. The complexity of these puzzles range from being super easy to really difficult. Some puzzles are as straightforward as knocking down a plank of wood to create a bridge, while other puzzles involve multiple steps that would require anything from repairing machines to scaring robots with a well-placed meow.
Speaking of meows, here’s a Fun Fact: There is a button in the game that is solely dedicated to meowing. And if you meow a hundred times, you even get the ‘A Little Chatty’ trophy!
This isn’t an action or thriller game where you have lots of abilities at your disposal. Outside of a fleeting section of the game, you don’t have a weapon, so all you can do is meow, jump, run, and perform other context-sensitive actions like scratching a door or pushing something off a shelf.
The experience that Stray gives us is more about how you explore this densely packed world, look for clues, and figure out the best way to proceed, with the limited cat skills you’ve been given. Although some of these actions exist in other games, the mere fact that you’re a cat with limited options and a ground-level outlook makes these actions feel very different in practice. It is lovely how they portrayed this cat’s behaviour to feel so natural, like for example, putting a paper bag in your head or scratching a surface, the results are hilarious.
The most impressive thing about Stray is how well-paced the video game is. You will never feel like you were forced to spend too much time on one thing. You can say the same for the story as well. What starts as a simple quest to reunite with one’s family slowly becomes personal and existential. As you move through the game and cross various levels of the robot world, you will find yourself learning about the not-so-implausible future and be finally met with an ending that is both beautiful and tragic.
The experience is also full of quiet and calming moments. Stray gives you plenty of time to just be a cat. You can meow whenever you want, scratch up couches, carpets, and walls, make a total mess of a board game that is in progress, or lie down on a snoozing bot for as long as you like. While these actions are occasionally necessary to solve puzzles, more often than not, they’re just fun to do. I mean, who wouldn’t want to mess around with everyone? Being someone who has a cat I loved to get in that cat mindset and do stuff my cat does.
When you mix the carefully plotted narrative with gameplay that lets you meow on command, you are met with an experience that you never knew you desired.
The Sublime Scenery
What makes Stray stand out is most definitely the design of its world. Not only do you see this fantastical landscape through the eyes of a cat, but because your character is low to the ground, everything feels gigantic in scope. In that sense, the little details of the surroundings themselves leave you astounded.
From the neon lights illuminating the nooks and crannies of each location to every new room, you jump into, it is a beautifully designed game all the way. This, accompanied by a lovely score, you are met with something so sublime, making Stray this summer’s most beautiful video game.
Speaking of the score, I honestly can’t think of a better direction the developers could’ve taken when it comes to the soundtrack. The soundtrack does a fantastic job of drawing out more emotions and does an even more incredible job of assisting the visual nature of the game from start to finish.
Stray astounds us from the opening moments where you cuddle with your cat family in the ruins of the old world to the wondrous conclusion that offers a glimmer of hope amidst the tragedy.
While you walk down a street, meowing as you go, you just can’t help but get completely immersed in everything. Whether you take a ride in a bucket to cross a significant distance or knock over various items to the ground below, the game gives you is a persistent feeling of exploration. There is a sizable amount of room for the people who look forward to exploring the world beyond the main story.
The Dedication To Detail
Remeber when I told you that the voice actor for our little ginger tabby cat is actually a cat? Yeah, that’s Lala’s meow.
Our feline protagonist, the ginger tabby cat, successfully meowed its way into the hearts of not only the in-game humanoid robots but also its players. And the adorable kitty cat whose meow melted our hearts, Lala, was revealed via Twitter on the 21st of July.
Wait, it doesn’t stop there. Guess who inspired the making of our fearless furball? Meet Murtaugh!
Murtaugh, is a part of the BlueTwelve family. Adopted by BlueTwelve’s cofounders’ Viva and Koola, Murtaugh inspired the making of our fearless feline protagonist. Murtaugh, like our ginger tabby cat, was an actual stray who was found in the streets near the city of Montpellier, France under a car.
But he isn’t a stray anymore. Being referred to as “The Boss” by everyone in BlueTwelve, Murtaugh was a massive inspiration for the appearance of our fearless kitty cat. And even though the character in the game is not a direct reproduction of, we can’t deny that they both exude the same amount of adorableness.
And no, Murtaugh and Lala aren’t the only cats behind the scene. Even though the developers knew that they weren’t aiming for a 100% precise representation, they understood the importance of having a believable character, especially for cat owners who are so used to seeing their companion every day.
This required a lot of work. Having an excellent visual alone doesn’t cut it. Miko, BlueTwelve’s main animator, worked hard to bring true life to our fearless furball. But not all the references Miko used came from the internet. Let me introduce you to the now famous movie actor, Oscar!
Oscar is a Sphynx who goes to work almost everyday. Oscar proved to be super helpful when Miko needed references of actual jumps and runs.
Last but not least, way-too-joyful-for-his-own-good: Jun! A vital member of the BlueTwelve team, Jun goes to work in the studio with everyone every day. As the executive chief general president and commander director officer at the studio, Jun monitored the team’s efforts daily and ensured everyone was working on the right topic.
Lala, Murtaugh, Oscar, Jun and the entire team at BlueTwelve Studio have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this video game, and I must say, they did an excellent job!
The Internet’s Response:
Okay, I have been gushing about how great of a video game Stray is for quite some time now. But a lot of people seem to feel the same way! I am not exaggerating. You can look at the reviews on Steam. The reviews for Stray are overwhelmingly positive!
Stray has captured countless players’ hearts with its cute ginger cat heralding a thought-provoking story of misery and hope amidst a beautifully rendered cyberpunk world. But we humans are not the only ones impressed by this game. A lot of animals love it just as much too. Social media has been replete with players/pet-owners sharing pictures and videos of their pets reacting to them playing Stray.
While Christopher’s cat was trying to figure out where the kitties went, this dog here was super excited to play with all the cats in Stray!
Various pet owners have posted photos and videos of their pets reacting to this beautiful video game. So much so that a whole Twitter page dedicated to sharing photos and videos of animals watching stray was created. If you want to look at more such adorable pictures and videos, @CatsWatchStray on Twitter has your back!
Okay, if you are smiling already wait till you hear this. Modders have already made a plethora of tweaks and changes that add color options, accessories, and more to the game. Stray Modders are also making the playable cat look like their cat.
I mean, how can this not make you smile?!?
Not only that, but Stray modders are also making cat skins for other people on the internet who wish to have a playable Stray character that looks like their cat.
Like, take a look at this very kind gesture. When Jillian asked the internet if they could find a Stray mod that looks like her little sailor boy, bearistotle7 immediately made an attempt. As a result, Jillian got this!
The game has influenced some gamers so much that now there are people out there who are willing to adopt a cat!
We also got cute little kitties cosplaying as our fearless feline. What did we do to deserve these adorable furballs?
Oh My God! This is why I love the internet. Like look at these interactions. It makes my heart smile. I swear, when I saw all this, I was ugly sobbing because it was just so beautiful to witness.
For me, Stray is a solid 10/10. It was heartwarming, beautiful, yet tragic. It was an experience I never knew I wanted before, but I am glad I got it now. The music was sublime, the animation was magnificent, and the game was astounding. You don’t have to be a newbie or a pro-gamer for you to fall in love with this game. Also, my cat approves!
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♡ I love you
Is Stray a horror game?
No. Stray is not a horror game. However, the game does have some mild horror-like moments but it is more of an adventure game. Over in the UK, Stray is rated as a 12
When will Stray Be Released?
Stray was released on the 19th of July, 2022. It is available on both Steam and Playstation.
How long is Stray video game?
It takes about five hours to play the entire game.
Can you customize your cat in Stray?
Unfortunately, despite players’ hopes, there are no customization options for the cat in Stray. You get to navigate the neon city as a ginger tabby cat equipped with a backpack to hold its drone buddy, B-12. Three other cats appear in the game’s intro, but players can only play as the ginger tabby.