Stray - Playstation 5
Stray is an action game with puzzle elements following a cat surviving in a neon-lit, decaying cybercity inspired by Kowloon Walled City. One day, the cat is separated from his family and tumbles down deep inside the underbelly of the city. Looking for a way back, it roams the environments and meets the droids left behind, inhabiting the world devoid of the humans who designed them. The game mixes different types of gameplay in a largely linear experience. The cat navigates the environment by jumping on objects to find a way up or through sections. (Optional) prompts appear where it is possible to navigate and these can be strung together in a fluid, parkour-like chain.
One type of gameplay is through linear corridors, slowly exploring and finding a route. Other sections are fast-paced, involving Zurks, creatures that form groups and try to jump the cat. They attach themselves to the protagonist and can be shaken loose, but only for a while when their number is low. It is possible to die in these sections, so quick navigation is required combined with puzzle-solving. Later on a Defluxor device becomes available with brief use to destroy them using UV light. A third type of section is more of a hub environment with a large amount of freedom. Locations can be explored in any direction, getting on rooftops, sneaking inside buildings through windows and solving puzzles along the way. These sections often have goals locating specific items or droids, but also a lot of optional quests through collectibles and locating memories that provide more information about what happened to the city. It is possible to talk to characters through the B-12 flying drone, which the cat meets early on and is carried on his back. The droid is able to offer hints, light up the surroundings with a torch, translate the environment and can communicate with other characters. There are also items that can be picked up and are stored in an inventory. Some sections incorporate stealth, sneaking past characters or quickly avoiding security droids.
A lot of the gameplay revolves around typical cat behaviour interwoven with the game mechanics. It is possible to meow to attract the attention of enemies, push down items off objects, hide in cardboard boxes and jump on levers to activate them. The cat can also scratch doors to get the attention of those inside. Many of these interactions are also optional, such as lying down to sleep or nuzzling up legs.
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