‘Stray’. A game where you control a cat. Need I say more?

PBy now it is known that cats dominate most of the Internet, with memes, funny videos and all kinds of content being shared about this pet. It is not known if it was this ‘status’ that led the producer BlueTwelve Studio to choose a cat as the protagonist of ‘Stray’, but even so, it would hardly be possible to find a better decision.

Regardless of the popularity of cats among netizens, this decision by BlueTwelve Studio allowed them to create something truly special and genuine with ‘Stray’. With a release backed by publisher Annapurna Interactive – responsible for ‘Outer Wilds’, ‘Sayonara Wild Hearts’, ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ and ‘Twelve Minutes’ – it was easy for ‘Stray’ to stay on players’ radar once was officially announced in early summer 2020.

Two years later, Notícias ao Minuto received a code for the PlayStation 5 in order to try ‘Stray’, which gave us the opportunity to see if the game has more to offer than its (cute) protagonist.

In ‘Stray’ the player controls an (unnamed) cat who, after accidentally separating from his feline companions, finds himself in a strange ‘cyberpunk’ world inhabited by robots. After initially being surrounded by nature, the player is ‘thrown’ into a hostile environment that seems to have been taken over by strange creatures – a mix between fleas and the ‘headcrabs’ of ‘Half-Life’ – the Zurk, capable of destroy organic and synthetic life.

© Annapurna Interactive / Blue Twelve Studio

It is upon encountering a small amnesiac robot with Artificial Intelligence – named B-12 – that the player (and the cat it controls) can begin to unravel the secrets of this new world, realizing who created it and how it got to the state it is in. It’s a simple story but intriguing enough to captivate the interest of players, especially those who are fans of dystopias and the ‘cyberpunk’ aesthetic.

More interesting is the fact that all robots that serve as a secondary cast are so expressive, expressing emotions through a small screen in place of their heads and also through gestures (and a well-written and careful script). As an organic life form, the player-controlled cat is initially viewed with suspicion by robots and this form of treatment evolves naturally throughout the narrative – an interesting progression that helps the player to create a connection with the story himself.

The fact that the player controls a cat was also used to slightly change the way the game’s platform sequences are approached. It’s not exactly about having to think like a cat, but inevitably, the player’s eyes must be drawn to certain areas of the scenario in order to perceive a path forward.

News by the Minute© Annapurna Interactive / Blue Twelve Studio

In addition, controlling this cat will certainly be something delicious for anyone who has a special affection for these feline companions. The player will be able to run, meow at will, sharpen his claws on doors, jump on all possible surfaces (including pianos), rub against other people’s legs and also throw everything that is an object to the ground. Basically, it can be said that ‘Stray’ is the ultimate feline simulator, something that could be a negative point but that the game turns into one of its most positive factors.

These gameplay elements and which are part of this cat’s control scheme are used for more than a stylistic effect, they also have practical purposes. Meowing, for example, can serve to point the way forward if the player doesn’t know what to do. In addition, by meowing, the player can attract the attention of the Zurk and keep them away from elements of the scenario with which they can interact.

Eventually, the player will have means (of limited use) that he can use to destroy these small enemies, but even so, it does not drastically distort the style of play and which continues to be based on segments of platforms and some simpler puzzles.

News by the Minute© Annapurna Interactive / Blue Twelve Studio

‘Stray’ has a linear progression but, for a good part of the game, it will be possible to explore the village inhabited by robots with greater freedom, enter the houses, collect collectibles (in the form of musical scores or memories for B-12). Whether wandering through the somewhat labyrinthine streets or on the highest roofs, exploring this ‘cyberpunk’ world never ceases to be fascinating and is full of little nooks and crannies, something surprising considering the true size of the setting.

More than a super detailed look, ‘Stray’ stands out for its artistic direction. The graphics do not disappoint or compromise. The textures are well-crafted, the lighting conveys the right atmosphere and it will certainly be pleasant for players to hear the musical themes, which always come in at the right moment and only reinforce the so captivating aesthetic of ‘Stray’.

Unlike many games these days, ‘Stray’ doesn’t go on longer than it should. For some, the 5 to 6 hours it takes to finish the game’s story will be a little off, but in the case of ‘Stray’, this longevity helps create a juicy experience. If there is a desire to extend this experience, the player is free to find all the collectibles and even try to win the platinum trophy, but in terms of the campaign, you should expect a concise experience.

News by the Minute© Annapurna Interactive / Blue Twelve Studio

Final considerations

‘Stray’ is one of those games that could only have the Annapurna Interactive seal of quality. Even though it doesn’t have all the ingredients that are usually adopted by games considered AAA, ‘Stray’ still manages to present more than enough reasons to be tried.

All in all, it’s a solid game with a ‘cyberpunk’ aesthetic that will please any fan of the genre and a unique style – not because of the platforming and puzzle segments – but above all because of the protagonist, who helps to give the player a unique perspective on the game. world around you.

‘Stray’ isn’t a long game, but for all it offers, it wouldn’t need to be to offer a very positive experience either. The game is available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Strengths

– Controlling a cat… Need I say more?

– ‘Cyberpunk’ world and characters

– Exploration segments

– Music helps create atmosphere

Negative points

– For some it may be too short

– Areas with the Zurk break a little environment

Ideal for…

Anyone who has cats or who claims to be in love with these pets will certainly have in ‘Stray’ a mandatory game, capable of astonishing practically at any moment. In addition, fans of dystopian games with ‘cyberpunk’ aesthetics will also look at this experience with interest.

If, on the other hand, you’re tired of long games with hundreds of side quests and you’re looking for something ‘lighter’ and easier to digest, ‘Stray’ might be just what you’re looking for.

Also Read: PlayStation Completed Acquisition of Bungie, ‘Destiny’ Studio

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