Stray is the tale of a small cat who falls into a subterranean city inhabited entirely by robots. The titular stray will befriend a drone, explore small hub worlds, and solve puzzles with their feline brain as it seeks to make its way back home.
Early reviews for the puzzle-platformer are largely positive and point to the game’s novel and well-animated cat climbing mechanics as a key a part of its charm.
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“It’s rare for a game to offer a wholly new perspective for how we can experience a familiar setting, and rarer still for one to so confidently have all of its mechanics designed around it,” wrote Alessandro Barbosa in GameSpot’s Stray Review. “It’s a consistently satisfying adventure with a charming story about companionship that rarely misses a beat across its well-paced runtime.”
On GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic, Stray is currently at a respectable 83 aggregated score. Here are what other critics have to say about the game.
Game: StrayPlatforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PCDeveloper: BlueTwelveRelease Date: July 19, 2022Price: $30 USDGameSpot — 9/10
“Stray’s ultimate strength is how well its overall design embodies the unique perspective and capabilities of its protagonist, but it also doesn’t rely on this to be the only distinguishing feature of the entire adventure. A lot of the enjoyment throughout Stray’s runtime comes from how well each scenario is designed for the abilities of its feline hero, and how empowering it is to be able to navigate its gorgeous hubs and derelict cities with the additional agility on offer.” — Alessandro Barbosa [Full review]
Digital Trends — 4/5
“Stray feels like a direct descendant of Ico. There’s an underlying sense of tragedy present in the isolated robot world, but the game doesn’t have a depressing tone. The feline perspective allows players to see a potentially dystopian space through earnestly curious eyes. Dilapidated apartment buildings become cat towers with lots of ledges to jump on and nooks to explore. There’s a sad backstory behind it all, but it’s a game about a creature finding a way to survive and thrive in any environment it’s placed in.” — Giovanni Colantonio [Full review]
Destructoid — 9/10
“To really drive it all home, I think Stray would be worth talking about even if you didn’t play as a cat. But because you do — and because the cat looks and feels and acts exactly as it should — the game ends up hitting that much harder. At times, it can be emotional without saying a word. The little behavioral details in the animation go so far.” — Jordan Devore [Full review]
VG247 — 5/5
“Stray is a touching tale of loss, loneliness, environmental destruction, and what it means to be human. But Stray is also a story of hope and meaningful connections, and just how important these are to our survival. Whether you’re a cat or not.” — Kelsey Raynor [Full review]
IGN — 8/10
“Stray is a delightful adventure in a dark but endearingly hopeful cyberpunk world, and that’s thanks in no small part to the fact that you are playing as an adorable cat the whole time. Its mix of simple platforming and puzzles with item-hunting quests is balanced very well across the roughly five-hour story – and though I wished my movement was a little more nimble during that time, I still loved hopping across rooftops and scampering through back alleys to find its well-hidden secrets.” — Tom Marks [Full review]
Polygon — Unscored
Stray doesn’t do anything new. But through strategic manipulation of our love for cats, it does give me a profoundly sentimental window into my relationship with Oni — my first cat, with whom I am admittedly obsessed. I started projecting him onto the protagonist from the get-go, and his constant presence as I played made for a strange meta experience of Stray’s emotional design. It’s a markedly different journey from cultivating care for a character in a typical role-playing game, whose quirks and lovable characteristics must be learned over time, through dialogue and gameplay and storytelling. Every small detail in Stray was a reminder of my finite time with both my on- and off-screen companions. — Alexis Og [Full review]
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