The Review of Stray

After being in development for seven years, on July 19, 2022, Stray hit the screens of cat lovers and gamers alike. Between its immersive story, the beautiful soundtrack, and the fluffy protagonist, it’s no surprise that many fell in love with this game.



      In Stray, you play as a cat wandering a futuristic dystopian world. The main goal in this video game is to reach the player’s family on the surface of the city, beyond the concrete sky after they fall down to the bottom of the structure. The city, only addressed by the name ‘Walled City 99,’ has been closed off from the rest of the world for a very long time. A large dome covers the sky, and the walls go up almost 14 stories. The player is trapped at the very bottom of this structure with only one way to go- up. 


      The story in Stray is left somewhat vague. After the player makes their way to an abandoned part of Walled City 99, nicknamed the ‘Dead City,’ different street lights lead the player to a lab, seemingly abandoned. There, the player helps an entity stuck in the computers to control a tiny robot, B-12. The player’s new robotic friends claims to be helping a scientist, but they can’t seem to remember much else. The pair then team up to make it to the surface, with B-12, the small, flying robot that follows and aids the player, helping to translate spoken and written language. The main inhabitants of Walled City 99 aren’t humans, no- they are robots called ‘companions,’ self-aware beings who seem very human-like, living in the remnants of what humans left behind after a plague destroyed the population. From drinking at bars, buying clothes, and an unjust social class, these companions seemed to learn a lot from their human creators.

      As the story continues, It’s revealed that B-12, the player’s companion, is the very scientist he claimed created him. Due to the plague, the scientist tried to transfer his consciousness into a robot so he could find a cure for the disease before it took his life. Unfortunately, something went wrong, and he was stuck in the computer’s database for hundreds of years, until the player came along. Throughout the game, players learn more about B-12 and what happened in the city before the humans perished. 

      One vital point in the story is the origin of the Zurks, creatures that serve as a deterrent for the player’s goal to reach the surface. The Zurks were biologically engineered bacteria, created to dissolve the trash created by the city, however, they mutated and evolved over time, eventually becoming an unstoppable force of creatures eating through both organic and inorganic material. Their only weakness is ultraviolet radiation, something almost unattainable for the inhabitants of Walled City 99.

      Another pivotal story point is the Outsiders, a group of robots dedicated to reaching the outside world by whatever means necessary.  The player meets the members of the Outsiders throughout the game- Momo and Doc, who the player meets in The Slums, Zbaltazar, who the player meets in Antvillage, and finally Clemintine, who the player meets in Midtown. All of these characters help the player achieve their goal of reaching the surface. 

      B-12 and the player finally reach the control room of this dome trapping them, and one by one, disable all the safety locks, which hurt B-12 in the process. When B-12 finally gets the chance to open the city, he explains that he has to use his remaining power to close the city, and will most likely go offline. He also says he has faith in the robots, and he has faith in the player, thanking them for being his friend. In a heart-wrenching scene, the little robot loses power and falls to the floor, giving his life so the player can reach the surface. 


     The music in Stray has a very different feel to it, almost an ethereal sound, mixed with a futuristic, dystopian tone. The background music was soft when it needed to be, and helped convey parts of the story. The way they scored the chase scene near the beginning of the game was a fan favorite, the quicker pace of the music mixed with the minor key, slight dubstep twinge, and the way it cuts abruptly all adds to the anxiety of the chase, and of seeing the creepy, crawling ‘Zurks’ for the first time. 

     Based on where the player is in the game, whether it be The Slums, Antvillage, or Midtown, the music always fits the area and the main character’s mindset. The Slums has a sneaking, quiet feel, Antvillage has a serene, calming score, and the bustling city of Midtown has a more futuristic and positive tune. In addition to the amazing soundtrack, there is also a character in the game who adds a certain charm to the soundtrack, Morusque. 

    Morusque Is a character in the slums who plays a guitar, made of a gallon jug and other junk materials. Throughout the Slums, eight different music sheets are hidden, and if the player retrieves them, she plays them for the player. Morusque’s music is so unique to this game, and It’s so comforting to hear the collected music sheets being played, like a reward for the work that went into retrieving them, and doing all the other tasks in The Slums. Overall, the music in Stray greatly contributes to the story.


      The gameplay in Stray is mostly beginner friendly, and the controls are very simple. There’s not a lot of skill involved, which some of the more seasoned gamers won’t enjoy as much,  However, because Stray is a story-focused game, it doesn’t affect the player’s experience much. 

      One thing the developers on Stray worked hard on is ensuring that the feline protagonist actually acts like a cat through its mannerisms. From scratching up carpets to knocking paint cans off a ledge, the player gets to truly feel what it’s like to be a cat. The cat in Stray was actually based off of BlueTwelve Studios’ producer, Viv and Koola’s cat, who was also originally a stray. The protagonist was also voiced by an actual cat, Lala. All of these details were the perfect icing on the cake that gives Stray It’s charm. 

Authors Note

      Overall, Stray is one of my favorite games of 2022. Not only does it have one of the most unique and compelling storylines, it also has outstanding music, graphics, and details that will keep me coming back to this game. As someone who first picked up a controller at the age of eight years old, Stray has quickly become one of my favorite games, and this game was definitely worth the seven year wait.