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627: Stray

Posted: January 1st, 2024, 9:32 am
by JaySevenZero
Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions for Stray for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder that where the feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but keeping it brief is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mostly reading out essays. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

Re: 627: Stray

Posted: April 6th, 2024, 10:14 am
by Hyperdeath84
Stray is the perfect game to relax with, despite its post apocalyptic setting and creepy enemies. Its gameplay is just engaging enough to carry you through while being simple enough that very few people are going to struggle with it. I found the story melancholy in a warm kind of way. I think the cheerful robots you can encounter and playing as a cute cat who can do cute things adds to the sense of charm, and that's what Stray is about for me.

Three word review: cute, charming, melancholy

Re: 627: Stray

Posted: April 7th, 2024, 10:35 am
by Jobobonobo
Having grown up with cats throughout my childhood, the idea of playing as a plain old cat in a post-apocalypse certainly appealed to me. The cat itself is a really endearing creature, the little trills and purrs bought back lovely memories of old pets. The beginning the game where you are with your cat friends and you are rubbing up against them and grooming them was a nice relaxing prologue to the dystopian landscape you find yourself in. Another nice detail the developers captured about cats is their propensity to cause chaos such as tipping various objects over the edges of tables and interrupting a Mahjong game between two robots. The city itself looks amazing especially when you look at it from the windows of the control room at the end and seeing the sun stream in was a stunning finale to its narrative.

One thing that really stood out to me in this game is the completely gorgeous soundtrack. It absolutely drips with atmosphere and suits the world perfectly. Some of my favourite things to do was just sleep in a spot as this ethereal music played and the camera slowly zooms out showcasing the brightly lit urban jungle you are trying to escape.

Also worthy of comment are the Zurks. These were the perfect antagonists to your little kitty. In other games such as Metroid, Doom or Halo these would be minor irritants easily dispatched with your arsenal of weaponry. Not so here, you can’t fight back and they are deadly in large numbers. Being mutated bacteria also gives them a unique uncanny valley feel to them. They move, behave and sound like animals but something about them just feels off. The sections involving the Zurks were probably the biggest surprise to me as the game would turn into more of a survival horror trying your best to navigate hellish environments without being spotted by these abominations. The sewers with the flesh walls and giant eyes did a great job of making me want to leave this place as fast as possible. It felt great when you get the Defluxor and could finally deal with the Zurks but its propensity to overheat means that you are far from invincible using this weapon and so the Zurks always remain a threat in some form.

Stray was a lovely little title that runs at the perfect length. It has a story to tell and it doesn’t bog the game down with meaningless fluff. If you want a sci-fi world with a simple but effective plot and a cute protagonist, then Stray comes highly recommended.

TWR: robot saviour kitty

Re: 627: Stray

Posted: April 19th, 2024, 1:27 pm
by TheAngryWalnut
I thoroughly enjoyed Stray for the few days I spent in its world. One aspect I really want to highlight here though isn’t its protagonist, but another of its characters - that of the city itself. The beautifully detailed, gritty setting was a joy to roam, in no small part because of its resemblance to Hong Kong. Having lived in the city myself, I found exploring Stray’s dystopian cyberpunk streets positively nostalgic, and just wanted to flag what a wonderful job the developers did!

Re: 627: Stray

Posted: May 2nd, 2024, 5:35 pm
by MarkHoog
While this game didn't get me as hooked as a game where you get to play AS A CAT should, it was a nice little adventure to decompress with in between some longer open world affairs. It's also quite a casual game, some tense chase sequences and dour post-apocalyptic world building aside. Cat owners might get an extra bonus in the form of their own feline companion (Dale Bartholomew Cooper, in my case) trying to punch our 'purrtagonist' on the screen.

Now can we please get a Cat Mode in every open world city game from now on?

Re: 627: Stray

Posted: May 9th, 2024, 2:09 pm
by caponeadam
Despite releasing in 2022, I was following the development of the game from 2015 after seeing a tweet from one of the developers showing a little clip of Stray. There was no art direction, no hint of the neon Hong Kong urban sprawl that we would come to identify the game with. Back then, it was mostly just a collection of primitive grey cubes and cylinders but what stood out to me was lush fluid gameplay of the cat controls. During most of the development, the videos that surfaced suggested the game was all about creative traversal and platforming.

Once the project was taken on by a publisher a few years prior to release I noticed a lack of updates, it felt like there were at least a couple of years with no updates at all. When the game did eventually resurface I would be lying if I said my heart didn't sink a little, I can only imagine that the reality of creating a platformer with such natural fluid cat movements made a frustrating platformer experience in playtests that at some point they made the decision to remove some of the freedom, such as making jumps more automated. There was probably a decision to either A) keep the platformer but reduce frames, making the animations more snappy or B) remove some control from the player but keep the lifelike movement of the cat. I think they made the right choice, the mainstream success of the this game was always going to be about having those natural relatable cat movements and mannerisms.

It wasn't the cat platformer that 2015 me fell in love with. That said I absolutely adore the aesthetics and unique vibe of the game's world and cannot wait to see what this incredibly talented team do next.