Stray preview: Playing as a cat never looked so good

Misplaced preview– Stray is a PlayStation console-exclusive title where you play as a cat in a robot-populated cyberpunk world as you try to find your way home. Stray is the first game developed by BlueTwelve Studios and published by Interactive Annapurna, and I recently got to watch a small game of the game to see how it goes.

Misplaced preview

Help a cat find the way home

During my preview, BlueTwelve Studios didn’t say much about the game’s story outside of the fact that you play as a nameless cat who finds himself in a strange new place and must find his way back.

You can’t create your new cat in any customization, which is a shame, as many people would have loved to model their cat in the experience.

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Although much of the story is being kept under wraps, we learned that the cat will be accompanied by a small robot called B-12 which is used to communicate between the cat and the robots that populate the world. But of course this communication is more for the player because B-12 can’t talk to cats.

As you explore the world, you respond to quests and requests from robot citizens, who in turn will help you reach your home. BlueTwelve Studios promises plenty of in-game collectibles that help provide some backstory to the world. I was able to see some of these collectibles in plant life and even graffiti on the walls.

The platform is automated to make it smooth

Stray is a platformer at heart, and chat traversal is relatively automated. From what I could see and how it was explained, instead of just jumping to whatever platform you wanted like in a traditional platformer, whenever you get close to something that can be jumped, a prompt will appear indicating a jump action.

It looks simple, and it looks simple, and from what I’ve seen, it’s a great way to approach platforming, so you don’t spend so much time trying to jump on things that have no purpose.

The cat can also pick up small objects and use them to solve puzzles. In my demo, we saw the adorable guy picking up a metal basket and carrying it to a large fan when they dropped it to block the fan from passing. This is just one small puzzle among many others, some of which will be much more elaborate.

The cat can also do things you’d expect, like sharpen its claws on couches and rugs, meow loudly, and even take a nap whenever you want. What’s so impressive is that all of the cat’s animations were hand-crafted by a single animator for the studio, and no motion callouts were used.

Run, hide and fight the Zerk to survive

Combat was an important issue raised during the demo, but was not brought to the fore. However, we were introduced to some of the game’s enemies called Zerk, which look like little crabs with only one eye.

Their origin is unknown, and I have not been told why they were after the cat. The game also features stealth elements allowing you to avoid detection and use objects in the environment to distract enemies. You’ll also be subjected to plenty of chase sequences, and we were able to witness one with the cat running away from the Zerk in the sewers.

Unfortunately, our presentation was short and little could have spoiled the story. We were told that the game would take between seven and ten hours to complete and around twelve hours to collect and experience everything. It will not feature any load times or screens outside of starting the game and respawning if the Zerk catches you.

After watching the 30 minute presentation on the game, I was totally sold on Stray. While it would have been great to see a bit more of the game, like the combat and stealth sequences or some of the more complicated puzzles, what I saw was more than enough to leave an impression.

Playing as a cat looks fantastic and looks even better. The unique world of cyberpunk is thrilling, and I can’t wait to explore it and uncover all of its secrets when I get my hands on the full game.–F5E

Stray is set to release on PS5, PS4, and PC on July 19, 2022.

About Jason Zeitler

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