Arts & Culture

Cyberpunk with Cats: “Stray” is a Summer Hit

Percy Bartelt, staff writer

Photo still of “Stray” by BlueTwelve Studios retrieved from their press kit on IGDB on Sept. 15

As if video games couldn’t get any better, BlueTwelve Studio, a small developing team from France, brought forth a unique concept: a post-apocalyptic universe with no humans in sight, only robots to take their place as mutant bacteria plagues the earth. The only living creature that is known is a little stray cat. 

With its release in the middle of July, fans were immediately elated at the fact that “Stray” centers around a cat, and so far, the game has a steady 4.8/5 audience rating on Google talking about their positive experience in this new visually gorgeous universe with a cyberpunk aesthetic. Fans reported that this game has about four to seven hours of gameplay – depending on what you do with its main plot versus doing just cute cat things – but they also find the main storyline to be much deeper than anticipated out of a game about a little cat. As for the overall beauty of the game, it has an “unreal” running engine, an optional (and unofficial) ray tracing mode and a heavily detailed environment. You can tell that every little detail was placed with care and intention of making a realistic world, even without a certain mysticality or the high-tech innovations of other forms of sci-fi media. 

Without giving away heavy spoilers of the game, this game follows a tabby cat who ventures with the rest of their furry family through a dilapidated city overgrown with nature and no other living beings in sight. Along their journey, the tabby cat is separated from their family and eventually stumbles upon a hidden city full of robots living their lives as humans would; they call themselves the Outsiders. They talk about the times when humans were running around, and they dream of a better life for themselves. A turning point for the protagonist is when they find a lab overcome with harmful mutant bacteria called Zurks and is given a little cat-sized backpack! Arguably the cutest thing in the entire game. Inside this backpack is also a little bot drone, no bigger than the cat itself! This robot, referred to as B-12, helps the cat protagonist understand the new world around them, solve intricate puzzles, and is especially helpful when it comes to language barriers with the robot inhabitants. Strangely, B-12 seems to have very human-like qualities and attitudes. Overall, a cat traversing a cyberpunk universe with a robot companion is better than anyone could have asked for!

Every aspect of this game truly is amazing, in my personal opinion. From the post-apocalyptic universe, to the concept of robots taking human societal roles and especially having the main protagonist be an adorable cat, this is top tier video game design. It’s even better when you find out that the cat had an actual cat voice actor. And yes, there is a ‘meow’ button. “Stray” is a definite must-play and can be found on the PS4, PS5 or Microsoft Windows.