The Adorable Indie Game You Forgot About Too Quickly In 2022
Are we going to pretend to be shocked that Stray made such an online splash, or are we going to be real here?
Of course, there are few universes in which Stray didn't work for fans. Playing as a cat would be enough of a selling point, but letting players go on cyberpunk adventures with a trusty robot companion, meeting new friends. and poking around in the nooks and crannies of a city long forgotten was more than enough to get players involved.
With Stray's day-one launch on PS Plus, it was hard to resist. And with its genetic makeup being alluring in itself, developers BlueTwelve didn't really have to go above and beyond. But they did. And the result is the most popular, polished, atmospheric and alluring indie games of the year.
Stray Is Truly Special, Beyond The Fur
From the opening moments of Stray, you know you're in for something special. The animations of our titular tabby and his pals are slick and gorgeous, and truly put you in the paws of the game's protagonist. They're then stripped away and leave you on your own to fend for yourself, to find your own way home.
Stray might be quite lonely to begin with, but it's this distance that you need to really soak in the dingy, yet optimistic, atmosphere that the game presents you with. The neon lights reflected on murky streets imply life that exists in spite of hardship, and to be a mere observer is a treat in itself.
Until you meet your floaty friend, Stray is sparse and offers you time to reflect, but once B12 appears, interactivity increases tenfold. Suddenly the adorable robot inhabitants of the game's city finally become characters. BlueTwelve does a fantastic job of making you feel like an outsider both in location and species - like the fate of the city is in your hands. Well, paws.
Stray's Gameplay Is Diverse And Delectable
You'd think that a game like Stray would be fairly limited in what it could do, but the five-hour experience manages to cram a lot of gameplay styles into its slim runtime.
Fetching items that robots need for their tinkering, looking for safe codes, stealth sections with security bots, running from your life from the game's antagonistic monsters, the Zurks - there's a lot here to experience in spite of the game's simplistic controls and effortlessly smooth traversal.
Sure, Stray might not be one you'll be spending a lot of time with, but the time you do spend with B12 is something to be cherished. The adventure feels deserved and rich, and with a truly heartfelt conclusion to cap it all off, the warmth of the experience is one that will stay with you for a good while. All Stray had to be was a cat simulator - but it was so, so much more.