Stray Review

Wild stray cat, you're a real gone guy.
Stray review Header
Stray review

Stray has been right at the top of my gaming wishlist since it was announced in June 2020. It fits that PlayStation exclusive mould of off kilter games with weird concepts but blessed with a glossy polish – think Death Stranding, Heavy Rain, and the like – and while Stray is much smaller than both those titles, clocking in around ten to twelve hours to finish, it is just a lavish and utterly charming.

The game begins with the cat, who renames unnamed throughout, waking up with three kitty chums and doing cat things. It’s a lovely way to get the player to bond with their avatar, play fighting with one kitty, and snuggling up to another. A brief snooze later and the foursome are off on an adventure that acts as the tutorial, jumping over things, climbing up pipes, stopping for a drink of water and scratching posts. You are a cat and despite the futuristic setting, that’s all you ever are. You don’t get super kitty powers or cybernetic cat enhancement, you’re just one small cat versus the world.

Separated from his pals in rather heart-breaking cutscene, our fearless feline finds himself in a cyberpunk city populated by robots. Thankfully you soon meet up with B-12, a tiny robot that accompanies you for the rest of the game. B-12 acts as a translator allowing you to understand the other robots, and he also acts as a backpack, storing items that are required for quests. While B-12 does help you on the way and can give suggestions what to do, you are left to work out exactly where to go and what to do by yourself. There is a lot of wandering around and exploring, making use of your innate agility to scamper up ledges to reach the roofs or slide the small gaps.

Stray review Exploration

There are three larger hub areas with multiple quests, but you don’t need to complete the side quests to progress. That said, there’s no indication as to which activities you do need to complete to exit each hub area, so I ended up doing most of the side quests anyway. Between the hub areas there are puzzles, chase sequences, and stealth sections that, just for once, make hiding in a cardboard box the logical thing to do. There’s a lot of text to read as all the robots speak in their own language, but the visual storytelling is excellent, conveying moments of sadness or joy through actions rather than words. I wasn’t expecting a Fleabag moment in a video game starring a cat, but there is and it’s guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.

The only way you can really fail is by getting too many bites from weevil-like creatures that inhabit certain sections of the game or by getting zapped by police robots. The platforming is rather like Uncharted in that your hero may look like they are in danger, hanging by the finger tips claws from a ledge, but it’s just an illusion and you will never fall. a quick tap of the stick and you are safe.

Speaking of Naughty Dog, BlueTwelve has created some visuals that give The Last of Us Part II a run for its money. Dank sewers stretch off in the distance and cyberpunk cities are richly detailed. The lighting and reflections on PS5 are absolutely gorgeous and I spent a lot of time just soaking up the magnificent views. The music and audio is also suitably electronic and switches between jaunty tunes and dark, foreboding thrums in the more tense areas.

As the story progress, more characters are introduced and I found myself falling even more in love with the stray. BlueTwelve has captured being a cat purrr-fectly, from the backwards jump and hiss when something unexpected happens to using your paw to slyly push an item off a ledge.  The game also features the best use of a DualSense ever: You can curl up for a sleep and when you do the DualSense purrs like a warm furry kitten in your hand. It is beyond adorable.

My main criticism is that the solutions for a couple of quests are rather random and you stumble across a resolution rather it being logical. The lack of map also makes things slightly difficult – there are sign posts for shops, but sometimes you’re just asked to go find a character rather than a location.

It’s rare to find a unique game these days but that’s just what Stray is. Playing as a cat makes you, well, play as a cat. Sure, you can go and find that doohickey for the next quest, but there’s some flower pots over on that shelf that are just begging to be swiped to the floor.

Playing through the kitty cat adventure of Stray is an experience that's filled with joy and delight. I loved it, and so did my cat.
  • Unique feline adventuring
  • Looks absolutely gorgeous
  • Emotionally involving
  • Great use of the DualSense
  • Puzzle logic is a little random
  • Occasional difficulty spikes
Written by
News Editor, very inappropriate, probs fancies your dad.


  1. Can’t wait for this.

  2. I hate cats, lol

    • This…. might not be the game for you, then…

      • They could have given us a choice of playing as a cat or a dog. It’d end up like it was with Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey where you had a choice, everyone played as Alexios and various websites kept trying to convince people that the other choice was the better one. Except it’d be everyone playing as a dog while people try and claim cats are better.

  3. I wish i could be as carefree and wild.. might check this one out :)

  4. I’ve given it a go and it’s decent enough so far. Looks quite nice. Sounds good, apart from the annoying cat noises.

    But yes, the solutions to the puzzles (if you can even call them that) are a bit random and mostly consist of accidentally finding someone. And the jumping is terrible. Looking in the right direction? Press X to jump. Look a couple of pixels off? No jumping for you. Don’t want to risk missing a jump? No problem. You can’t miss. You can jump safely (if you’re looking in the exact right direction) or not jump at all.

    And the controls are weird. X should select things, not square. And square to skip through text, and then circle to end?

    So far, it’s fairly decent idea, but falls down on the implementation a bit. A solid 7/10 PS+ game. Or wait for a sale if you’ve not gone for Extra/Premium. Plus the cat’s a dick, knocking shit over all the time. I guess that’s cats for you.

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