Stray, the long-awaited game in which you play as an unnamed ginger cat, has finally arrived. Explore the grungy walled city with its vibrant cyberpunk dystopian setting and robot citizens. Discover the mysteries behind Walled City 99 and assist its citizens in their tasks as you pitter-patter around on your little pink toe beans. Knock stuff off of surfaces, nuzzle friendly folks, tear up every scratching post you see, or use the dedicated meow button to get attention. Stray does justice to its main character and ensures that the novelty of controlling a cat is not only enjoyable but remains so for the duration of its playtime.
Playing as a cat is a treat. The animations are cleverly done, the sound effects match up, and you can make the cat do the zoomies. You can even use the dedicated meow button during some cutscenes! Blue Twelve Studio made controlling the cat exactly what one could have wanted. Large vertical leaps, little paw slaps when knocking things off ledges, and purring (which you can feel through the DualSense controller) are all accounted for and the developer has stayed true to the experience they envisioned, even if it was at the expense of more gameplay freedom and challenge. I think it was the right decision.
When I wrapped up my first play-through of Stray after about five hours, I was pleased with the overall experience. I went back and cleaned up the few remaining collectibles and even did a speed run and beat it in under two hours. The game was never stale and I enjoyed playing as a cat and meowing at all of the robot denizens of Walled City 99. I liked finding out about the history of the world and the humans that once inhabited it. Stray isn't a very deep game, but it is enjoyable. If you like cats and simple adventure games with cool settings, Stray may scratch your itch.
Objective Assessment: 7/10
Bonus: +1 for purrfect cat animations and sound effects. +1 for good pacing and never overstaying its welcome.
Penalties: -1 for being more style than substance. -1 for almost no challenge.
Nerd Coefficient: 7/10
Posted by: Joe DelFranco - Fiction writer and lover of most things video games. On most days you can find him writing at his favorite spot in the little state of Rhode Island.