It’s rare for a game to offer a wholly new perspective for how we can experience a familiar setting, and rarer still for one to so confidently have all of its mechanics designed around it. Stray, an adventure-puzzle game where you play as a cat, manages not only to delight in its presentation but also in the many ways it eschews common puzzle mechanics to focus on the abilities and limitations of its protagonist. It’s a consistently satisfying adventure with a charming story about companionship that rarely misses a beat across its well-paced runtime.
You play as a stray cat that is quickly thrust into an entirely world underneath your own after a mishap that occurs in the opening minutes of the story. Alone in this neon-soaked city that’s beneath a giant, unmoving dome, you quickly befriend a small drone that becomes a trusted companion throughout your adventure, and a vital translator for all the other sentient robots that inhabit the handful of regions you’ll visit. This drone, called B-12, also gives you more options to interact with the world around you, such as being able to hack doors to open them, kill dangerous flesh-eating aliens with a beam of purple light, or illuminate dark and dreary avenues as you explore them.