BlueTwelve Studio and Annapurna Interactive’s cat adventure game Stray has been on people’s radars for some time now, and while its unique premise has certainly been a huge factor in that, it’s helped that every time we’ve seen more of the game, it’s looking very promising. Now that the game is out, we’re going to take a look at the key details that you should know about the game.
The elevator pitch for Stray is, of course, that you play as a cat, but the premise becomes more interesting as you here more about it. Because you’re not just a cat in an ordinary world- no, the world you find yourselves in is a strange, dystopian cyberpunk city populated by robots (more on those in a bit), and the city itself has a mysterious past. After becoming separated from your cat family and finding yourselves trapped in this city, it falls to you to overcome dangerous threats, uncover the city’s past, and find a way back to your fellow cats.
The titular stray cat is very much the primary protagonist of Stray and who you’ll be playing as, but not the only protagonist. Sharing the spotlight with the feline star is B-12, a flying droid that will serve as your companion throughout the journey. From helping you interact with the denizens of the cyberpunk world you find yourselves in to translating stuff for you, from storing items for you to providing light in the darkness, from helping you store important items that you find to more besides, B-12 will be an important character not only in terms of story, but also gameplay.
As you explore the mysterious cybercity that serves as Stray’s setting, you’ll cross paths with various characters- none of whom are going to be human, interestingly enough. The world of Stray is inhabited by humanoid robots who dress, behave, and talk like humans… but also not. Different robot characters will behave with you differently, and not everyone will be entirely friendly. One robot character that developer BlueTwelve Studio has talked about, however, is definitely a friendly one. Named Grandma, she loves to knit and helps the robot community out by making clothes out of spare parts.
The robots aren’t the only ones populating the world of Stray. In fact, they’re very much not on top of the food chain. Seemingly your primary enemy in the game will be Zurks, which are small tick-like face-hugging creatures that can swarm you in massive numbers and literally suck the life right out of you. As an adventure game, Stray is obviously not very combat-centric, but B-12 will still be able to help you fight back against them to some degree. Mostly, however, you’ll have to use stealth and dexterity to get around them. Thankfully, as a cat, you won’t be lacking in those.
PUZZLES AND EXPLORATION
The bulk of Stray’s gameplay is seemingly going to be puzzles and exploration. For the former, B-12 is obviously going to be an instrumental tool helping you out, and environmental puzzle-solving will be an important part of the experience. Meanwhile, where exploration is concerned, Stray is going to offer plenty of verticality in its environments and will encourage players to explore the cyberpunk city and its various locales to their heart’s content. This is a fairly small game in terms of length (which we’ll get to in a bit), but it also looks like it’ll have semi-open world elements where it opens up from time to time and lets you explore cityscapes and take on side activities and talk to NPCs and what have you, which definitely seems interesting.
PLATFORMING (SORT OF)
Stray is an adventure game, first and foremost, but there’s also going to be plenty of platforming involved. Your movement in the game is very much defined by the fact that you’re playing as a cat, so jumping up high or across wide gaps won’t be much of a problem for you. Even so, it’s not going to be actual platforming. You won’t be timing jumps or judging distances, and there’s zero scope for failure. Jumps will instead be scripted.
A big part of the appeal in Stray is, of course, that you’re playing as a cat, and it looks like the game is going to let you do all the stuff that cats love to do. That means you’ll be able to push things off ledges, rub up against the legs of robot NPCs, scratch furniture and carpets and walls and other surfaces, curl up and go to sleep on mattresses laying about, and yes- meow. There’s a dedicated “meow” button in Stray. You can meow as much as you want, whenever you want. Meow all day long. You’re a cat, after all.
Uncovering the mysteries of the strange cybercity of Stray is one of the biggest pillars of the game’s story, and some of it will also tie in with exploration and optional content. Scattered throughout the game, for instance, you’ll find memories, which, when found, will unlock data in B-12 that will answer various questions about the game’s world. From who used to inhabit this world before its robot denizens emerged to how the city still as plants growing in spite of the fact that there’s no sunlight, these memories will seemingly contribute a lot to Stray’s world-building.
If you’re planning on playing Stray on PS5, you will, of course, be able to enjoy the game’s implementation of the DualSense’s features as well, with the controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers used in various ways. You wouldn’t think that there’d be much room for an adventure game without too much combat to do that, but from rubbing against robot legs to scratching surfaces to sleeping to riding on ziplines, Stray will make use of those features for plenty of stuff.
If you’re playing Stray on a PC, you will, of course, want to know what the game’s minimum and recommended system requirements are, and predictably, it’s not going to be a very demanding game. On minimum settings, you’ll need either an Intel Core i5-2300 or an AMD FX-6350 along with either a GeForce GTX 650 Ti with 2 GB VRAM, or a Radeon R7 360 with 2 GB VRAM. On recommended settings, meanwhile, you’ll need either an Intel Core i5-8400 or an AMD Ryzen 5 2600, along with either a GeForce GTX 780 with 3 GB VRAM or a Radeon R9 290X with 4 GB VRAM. On either setting, you’ll need 8 GB of RAM and 10 GB of free storage space.
You shouldn’t go into Stray expecting an absolutely massive adventure. As mentioned earlier, it seems like it will have some semi-open world elements, but primarily, it’s very much going to be a linear game with constant forward momentum. So how long is it going to be? According to Annapurna Interactive, the length of an average playthrough will be anywhere between 8-10 hours. That’s a solid length for a game, especially given Stray’s price- which brings us to our next (and final) point.
PRICE AND PS PLUS
When Stray launches on July 19, PlayStation players who’re subscribed to the higher tiers of PlayStation Plus – PlayStation Plus Extra and PlayStation Plus Premium (or Deluxe, depending on where you live) – will get access to the game for free, Game Pass-style. If, however, you want to buy the game or aren’t subscribed to the service or want to play on PC, you will, of course, have the option of buying Stray for a price of $29.99.