The first game to be “free” with the new higher tiers of PlayStation Plus on the day of release, Stray was a lovely surprise. I knew it existed, so I don’t mean like that, and it was announced to be coming to the service a while back. No, what I’m referring to is the gameplay, the setting, and just how good it is.
Until downloading it, my interested was “ooh, a cat game? That might be fun”. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a post-apocalyptic platform adventure game with robots and mutant things that can eat metal, and a story of freeing the oppressed. But it’s also about curling up into a purring ball of fluff, scratching doors to be let in, and knocking bottles off of shelves.
Of course, I can’t go into too much detail because of spoilers, but the game follows you, a cat separated from his catty friends, who ends up in a run down town locked under a dome and populated with robots who act like humans. You’re tasked with finding a number of robots who had previously left the town to find the outside but not returned, and in the process you have to outrun headcrabs, reroute power cables, sail a raft and help some rebels.
The world is amazingly well realised, with some beautiful, neon-lit locations and plenty of robots with diverse personalities. There are stealth sections, puzzle sections, chase sequences and lots of jumping up onto ledges, pipes and air-conditioning units. And, best of all, there’s a dedicated “meow” button. It’s brilliant.