The idea of taking control of a cat might be a little terrifying, but Stray gives you an all-new experience of exploring the world from the eyes of a cat. Although the world in which the game is set can seem dark, Stray isn’t anywhere close to a horror game.
By definition, Stray is a third-person adventure game inspired by several past open-world titles. The game starts off with a colorful opening scene set amidst greeneries, where you take the role of Outsider, a small ginger-colored cat, and explore the world with your fellow feline friends.
It’s only after the opening scene when your cat gets separated from the rest of his mates that the game goes into dark mode. Despite this, the journey you embark on with your cat is a beautiful one that gets you through a strange, vast dystopian city. The story is straightforward and like many adventure-themed indie games of the past, you play a lost adventurer trying to get back home to his family.
For the most part, playing as a feline character can be a light-hearted experience. When you’re not indulging in in-game action, you can role-play your cat to do cat things like scratching, curling up into a ball, or drinking from any source of water.
You do run into threats that can be pulse-quickening at times. You will need to dodge through Zurks which are small pink-colored tick-like creatures and Sentinels which are tiny evil bots that patrol the underground. The only way to escape them is by outrunning them and squeezing in through tinier holes.
In some scenes, Stray does flirt a little with horror by putting the cat in strange streets with flickering lights and props that can be threatening. The plot, however, undermines this dark setting as you meet and interact with robots and other beings who share stories and even help you through the course of your journey.
So, if the one thing that stopped you from playing Stray was that you thought it was a horror game, it’s anything but. It’s likely one of those adventure games you’ll cherish for a long time.