The release of Stray, aka the cat game, almost snuck by me. I was so distracted by playing God of War on my Steam Deck, that the review articles woke me up. With zero hesitation, I bought Stray and started playing release day on my Steam Deck. It’s Steam Deck Verified and controller friendly, so perfect match.
Great Game for Cat Lovers
Right off the bat, Stray is a great game for cat lovers. Even if you sort of like cats you should like it. I mean who doesn’t like cats? I guess only people deathly allergic or serial killers. Don’t be a serial killer, play the cat game.
My pets were always cats since I was kid. My wife and I have two cats that are cute and brats at the same time, but we love them. For those reason alone, I knew Stray was a must play. Even my wife played for an hour and her idea of gaming is mobile phone candy crush-like games. Looking on twitter, there’s apparently a lot of cat of lovers that played while their real cats watched.
The game really nails (pun intended) what I’d expect a cat game to be, minus any humans. First off, there’s a button specifically for Meow. It’s not just some cute thing in the game to mash over and over to get the achievement. The meows also help attract enemies and even ask for directions in the very beginning.
There’s also plenty of spots to scratch walls, furniture and rugs. It cracked me up alternating trigger button presses on the Steam Deck to properly scratch. To my surprise, those scratches were functional later on to sabotage electrical equipment.
Cat naps, swatting and rubbing up against robots is all there, but not any game purpose that I could see. Swatting is maybe the exception since there are times it helps for pushing things off roofs.
The majority of the action is running and jumping. Both are solid and fun. Jumping is contextual, so you can’t accidentally fall off platforms. Big thumbs up from me for that.
Stray Cat in the Future
Besides all the cat activities you’d expect from a proper cat game, I was surprised at the depth of gameplay elements. There’s plenty of pushing, jumping, swatting, carrying, etc., to solve puzzles that are all fun uses of the cat activities.
Things all start out outside of a walled city with 4 cats and of course the cat protagonist accidentally separates from the group. Inside that walled city, it’s an adventure to find a way out, while understanding what happened inside.
There were no humans and only robots. It’s probably not a spoiler to say that climate change and a pandemic line up as reasons for the walled city and absence of humans. The whole setting is a Cyberpunk style future full of robots and neon.
Early on, my Stray cat meets a small, floating robot buddy, B-12. The robot translates all the robot language, hacks, shines a flashlight, provides hints and later even wields a weapon. Progression all the extra gameplay elements this added was unexpected. B-12 even gifts the cat a small back pack to store inventory and a little carrier for the robot buddy.
It’s great teamwork between the cat and B-12. That little robot enhanced the game past a great cat game. I loved the game, but the ending stopped sooner than I’d like. The cat never even found the other … well maybe it’s just a perfect setup for a sequel. It’s almost guaranteed a Stray sequel or DLC happens, considering it’s Annapurna’s most successful published game. I can’t wait.