Stray is the latest independently developed effort to come from indie publisher Annapurna Interactive. Developed by the clever folks over at French outfit BlueTwelve Studio, Stray is an arresting cyberpunk adventure that puts players into the soft toe beans of a wayward cat that is trying to find its way home through a world overtaken by sentient machines. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, we thought so too which is why we’ve conjured up this handy guide that tells you everything you need to know about Stray.
Stray Release Date
Stray will be released on the 19th of July, 2022 – whilst a delay from its original intended release date of October 2021, this means we’ll be able to get our hands on Stray sooner rather than later.
Stray will be released on PC via Steam in addition to PS4 and PS5 console platforms, meaning so long as you have a reasonably capable PC or a PlayStation console from the last decade or so, you’ll be good to play Stray when it releases later this year. Stray very recently received an age rating from the Korean rating board, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect Stray to release sooner rather than later.
What Sort Of Game Is Stray?
Looking something akin to a sketch from the Netflix dystopian animation anthology show, Love, Death & Robots, Stray began life as a prototype demo known as HK_Project which essentially was little more than (an admittedly stunning) short demo of a stray cat leaping and bounding around a neon-lit, Hong-Kong cityscape.
A single-player, third-person platforming adventure with puzzle solving elements and a focus on nimble traversal, Stray has players exploring a frankly massive range of different environments that largely subscribe to the cyberpunk design ethos with plenty of twilight hours, neon-hued signs, reflective puddles and robots – lots of robots. Aided by a friendly drone called ‘B-12’, Stray has our fearless feline collecting items, avoiding enemies and roaming a neon-stained, decaying cyberpunk city as they attempt to get back home to their family.
How Does The Platforming Work?
Platforming in Stray is a mixture of dynamic and scripted leaps, climbs and hops. Essentially, though you are free to take to the air whenever you like, particular leaps from one platform to another can be accomplished by simply being in the local vicinity and waiting for the appropriate prompt to appear. Now while this may seem at odds with the otherwise freewheeling agility that Stray appears to preach elsewhere, these more prescribed feats of agility appear to crop up in particularly fast moving sequences which might prove aggravating to traverse if full agency was provided to the player. Simply put, developer BlueTwelve Studio looks to have nailed the movement and finessed agility of the not-so-humble cat extraordinarily well to say the least.
What Puzzles Are There?
Between our furry protagonist and its trusty B-12 robot drone, Stray presents our duo with a wide variety of conundrums to solve. Largely predicated around resolving physics based puzzles to progress further in the game world, Stray’s cheeky cat can hold onto items in their maw and spit them out to progress.
One such example has our plucky pussycat picking up a plant pot by its handle before spitting it out to jam an extractor fan, allowing them to progress as a result, while in another, the cat can use its paws to push down planks of wood to create a makeshift bridge. Further afield, other puzzles require the cat and B-12 to work in tandem, with the latter activating out-of-reach switches for the former which in turn open up new pathways to proceed through the area.
How Does The B-12 Robot Drone Work In Stray?
Much more than just an oddly adorable NPC, the B-12 flying drone essentially acts as an interface of sorts for the cat, allowing it to access areas and parts of the world that its thumbless and fingerless paws wouldn’t be able to permit. From activating switches, hacking into systems, collecting items and shocking dormant systems into use, B-12 soon proves to be an invaluable companion for our curious feline.
Is There Combat In Stray?
As a fairly small cat lost in a world surrounded by all manner of androids and forgotten creatures, it should perhaps come as little surprise that there’s no direct combat in Stray – though later in the game your trusty B-12 robot drone can be upgraded to destroy smaller robotic creatures that attack our precious protagonist. Instead, the bulk of your time will be spent avoiding trouble, exploring, solving puzzles and scratching up furniture.
How Stray Brings Out The Playful Side Of Cats
Happily I can report that Stray takes full advantage of the fact that, well, you’re a cat and thus permits you to do all manner of cat-like activities. Whether it’s clawing the side of a couch into absolute ribbons, or purring and rubbing yourself against the legs of Stray’s android denizens, Stray is clearly a labour of love for a development studio that describes itself as “a small team from the south of France mostly made up of cats and a handful of humans.” Sounds like the future of game development to me.
Will Any Expansions Be Released For Stray?
As yet, neither publisher Annapurna Interactive nor developer BlueTwelve Studio has confirmed the existence of Stray DLC, since presumably they’re too busy trying to get the base game finished in time for a Summer 2022 release. However, given the expansive possibilities of Stray’s ruinous cyberpunk slumland and the ancient forgotten worlds hinted at that lay beyond, there’s definitely potential to expand the game beyond its initial offering.
Where Can I Watch The Latest Trailer For Stray?
With the Summer 2022 release window of Stray rapidly approaching, publisher Annapurna Interactive has yet to put out a shiny new trailer for Stray. However, the most recent trailer for Stray, which was released last year, is a gameplay walkthrough that goes into a fair amount of depth surrounding Stray’s platforming, exploration and puzzle solving gameplay beats.