One of the very first games ever revealed for Sony’s PlayStation 5 console was Stray, a game where players control a cat in a cyberpunk city populated by robots. Stray’s feline protagonist and eye-popping graphics made it one of the most-talked about games coming out of Sony’s Future of Gaming event, and as it turns out, the hype was warranted.
First and foremost, the developers at BlueTwelve Studio have absolutely nailed what it would be like to move around a city as a cat. The animations are perfect, down to the smallest details. Real-life cat owners especially will come away impressed with what BlueTwelve Studio has accomplished here, as they may be more likely to notice subtle things like the cat’s ears twitching in the direction of a noise. Early in the game, the cat is outfitted with a harness to help transport its drone companion, and it hilariously flops to the ground, refusing to move for a moment. Any cat owners that have tried to put similar harnesses on their pets to take them on walks will recognize this behavior, and it’s the little details like this that make the cat from Stray feel like a living, breathing cat. It helps that the animators went as far as to make the cat literally breathe, of course.
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There is a cliché about video games making players “feel” like they are whatever character they’re playing as, but there’s really no other way to say it. Stray makes the player feel like a cat, whether it’s knocking objects off ledges, walking over keyboards, or scratching furniture. Stray lets players carry out typical cat behaviors even when there’s no gameplay reason for it, like drinking water from a saucer, rubbing up against someone’s legs, and curling up for a nap. There’s even a button dedicated entirely to meowing.
Sometimes these cat actions are incorporated in Stray’s puzzle solving gameplay. While players are free to scratch furniture, walls, tree trunks, and other objects like cats do, this ability…