4 reasons why the cyberpunk cat game Stray could be the next big indie hit

Players explore a futuristic city as a cat in Stray (Image via PlayStation)
Players explore a futuristic city as a cat in Stray (Image via PlayStation)

Stray is one of the most anticipated and unique indie games coming out this year. The title is set to be released in less than a week, and fans are excited to step into the game's cyberpunk world. Considering the hype surrounding the game and whatever is known about it, Stray could easily turn out to be the next big indie hit.

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The title was first announced in June 2020, with an initial release date set later that same year. The game quickly garnered a lot of interest because of its unique protagonist, a ginger cat. Though it saw multiple delays that pushed its release to the middle of 2022, the interest and anticipation surrounding the title did not wane.

The developers have already provided a glimpse at Stray's gameplay and its mechanics. This article lists four reasons why Stray might hit it big when it finally releases on July 19.


Stray might just be the next fan favorite indie game

1) The protagonist is a cat

The biggest reason behind the unprecedented excitement and anticipation surrounding Stray is the unique protagonist of the indie title. The game will have players step into the furry little paws of a ginger cat that gets separated from its family at the beginning of the game and tries to make its way back to them.

Playing as a cat provides players with an out-of-the-box experience that mainstream games usually lack. The developers have captured feline grace and movement by basing it on the five cats in their studio. They have tried to bring to life the various mannerisms and shenanigans of cats that people are acquainted with.

From meowing and scratching to nuzzling and napping, players will be getting to live out one of the cat's nine lives through Stray. The choice of such a protagonist also ensures that players get to experience an urban setting, especially one doused with a cyberpunk aesthetic, through the eyes and capabilities of a cat.

The trailers have already shown a focus on verticality as the cat leaps from AC vents to pipes and sheds. This opens up an exploration experience that will be novel to many.


2) The companion drone

Considering the impossibility of the cat itself talking, simply having one alone for the whole ride could have turned out to be a lonely and truncated affair. Various gameplay mechanics would have been difficult to properly integrate into the game, given the limitations of its protagonist.

A companion drone is an excellent choice that ties in with the futuristic setting of the game without robbing players of their experience as a cat. Early on in the game, players will come across B-12, a small drone that accompanies the cat throughout the journey.

The drone's abilities are integral to the full exploration of the game's world. It has the ability to store items, translate the language of the robots in conversations or on signs, and engage with them.

The companion drone B-12 will accompany players during the journey (Image via PlayStation)
The companion drone B-12 will accompany players during the journey (Image via PlayStation)

B-12 will point out the current objective if the player calls upon him. B-12 will also provide a torchlight for the dark areas of the city and an unlockable ability will allow it to fight against the tick-like Zurks at a later point in the game.

An adventure game requires a unique, nuanced protagonist and a lovable side character with their own story and motivation. For now, Stray has both boxes ticked.


3) The humanoid robot population

The gameplay trailers have showcased the anthropomorphized robots of Stray's world, and fans have loved it. Given that it is a futuristic setting in a forgotten, desolate city, humanoid robots are a perfect choice. They react upon meeting the cat in various different ways.

Both developers and the gameplay clips have assured players that there are various robots to meet and greet during Stray's playthrough. From a lovable grandma who knits clothes out of spare parts for others to a guitar-wielding musician, players are in for a treat.

A nuanced set of NPCs with their own characteristics provides the perfect setting for players to immerse themselves in.


4) The cyberpunk aesthetic of the city

Talking about the setting, Stray has hit the nail right on the head with its choice of a city with a cyberpunk aesthetic. Inspired by Kowloon Walled City, a place that has always fascinated the BlueTwelve Studio co-founders, the setting tries to showcase a condensed area of living that is the perfect playground for a cat.

The world of Stray is largely inspired by a cyberpunk aesthetic (Image via PlayStation)
The world of Stray is largely inspired by a cyberpunk aesthetic (Image via PlayStation)

The colorful neon signs and string lights, both of which were seen in the trailers, add to the ambiance and the atmosphere. The forgotten city is a place of darkness and terrifying tick-like creatures. But these lights provide a sense of contrast and warmth, hinting that there is hope and that life survives. The addition of humanoid robots furthers this intrigue.

A still of the game world (Image via PlayStation)
A still of the game world (Image via PlayStation)

Given the unique choice of a protagonist, Stray will focus on verticality and how the cat can traverse the space. While leaping from one point to another or squeezing through gaps, players will also be solving puzzles and uncovering the truth about the city. The game's description on the PlayStation website emphasizes the importance of exploration and discovery:

"How do the plants still grow without sunlight? Where did the robot alphabet come from? What happened to the previous inhabitants of the city?"

From the looks of it, Stray has all the right ingredients to make a great game. It remains to be seen if it all comes together as the perfect mix for players to thoroughly enjoy. Whatever the case may be, everyone will surely enjoy meowing incessantly and scratching carpets, walls, and sofas.