Take wildly imaginative developers, drop a cat into a forgotten cybercity populated by quirky robots, and you get the game. straya surprising work, wildly cute, but which can turn out to be a bit repetitive.
straya game for PlayStation and PC that will go on sale this Tuesday, is the first production of a small studio in the south of France, BlueTwelve, “mainly composed of cats and a handful of humans”, as presented his website.
“Mous” and robots
We do not doubt it from the first minutes: we are dealing here with friends of cats. You control one of these felines, which you follow along in the third person and which wanders peacefully on the surface of the planet when a fall makes it land in an abandoned city of humans. The “soft”, as they are called, have been replaced after a mysterious disaster by eccentric robots, each with a personality crazier than the other. Your clever cat, who has no name and only knows how to meow and purr, will have to multiply the missions and solve the puzzles to solve an ancient mystery and come back to the surface. For communication, he is equipped from the start with a harness that allows him to carry his personal robot, B-12, which gives him directions and gradually recovers his memory.
The robots also do not speak an understandable language. Their electronic modulations must also be translated, in full, by B-12.
The main enemies are the Zurks, who could be described as pink tardigrades the size of rats that devour cat and robots. Nothing to do against them, until you can take them out with a swipe of purple light.
do like cat
Apart from the species of the main character, nothing very revolutionary so far, dozens of postapocalyptic games have the same plot. But we totally assumed the feline identity of our hero. It meows on command, rubs against any friendly being, scratches doors, sofas and carpets. At the bend of a mission, he may fall on a cushion or a comfortable bed and you may decide to give him a nap. Its purr will be ingeniously reproduced by the joystick, just as the texture of what it claws is reflected by the triggers, whose resistance varies.
Like any good cat, he is an ace for jumping from a neon to a roof, sneaking between the bars of a balcony or under a door. He’s been given a few extra options for traveling, like these buckets attached to cables that conveniently allow him to travel great distances.
The sets of this cybercity are magnificent, reproduced in 4K and using the full resources of the PS5. We go from rooftops to alleys that look like they came out of medieval towns, from sewers to apartments where hypnotic lounge music plays constantly. The quests are numerous and evolve according to the sector in which you are. Here, you must note the code of a safe hidden behind a table or on a wall. Scores are scattered and a musician will be happy to play them on his guitar built with a metal can. Vending machines will give you energy drinks, which can then be exchanged with a merchant. Batteries must be removed from their compartment to activate a door or stop a fan.
Saved by B-12
The missions are quite nice and the puzzles are rarely difficult to solve. However, we got a little tired after a few hours of filming in this cybercity, looking for mysterious notebooks, but without clear indications to find them. Nothing worse than this feeling of going around in circles in a game. A studio spokesperson kindly told us that B-12, with the bottom button in the D-Pad, could give us valuable clues. We promised him to relay the information to the readers of The Press.
Finally, stray is a work of remarkable inventiveness, graphically of high caliber and which makes perfect use of the capabilities of the PS5. We feel all the pleasure that its craftsmen have put into it. The script is well put together, intriguing, but can hardly be described as moving or very surprising. One thing is certain, we spend a good ten totally exotic hours there in an invented universe, taking ourselves for a cat who must save the world. This bodes well for BlueTwelve Studio.
Developer: BlueTwelve Studio
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
For PS4, PS5 and Windows PC
Released: July 19, 2022
Tried on PS5 with a copy provided by Annapurna Interactive