Advent Calendar RPS 2022, December 21

If you want to open the door today on the RPS Advent Calendar, you’ll have to jump and pull the handle or scratch the door until someone comes and opens it for me. Unfortunately, you don’t have an opposable thumb today – but you’re much better at climbing, which should help.

You are a lost cat in a big city. Of course, that’s lost!

Stray proves that a cat smart enough can solve most of the world’s problems

James: Why aren’t there more games where you play as a cat? It was perfect: whenever we started playing something completely new, we would sniff around the environments, attack any strange things we thought we could capture, and If there’s a loose object next to a ledge, you know we’ll push it out to see what happens. Basically, we act like cats.

Stray understands that humans and cats’ desire to explore (and nap) aren’t all that different. And luckily, the ginger tabby you control for eight hours with its tight pacing is made by nature to climb. Have you ever been a little confused when you spotted a kitten jumping ten times its own height or performing a perfect leash over a thin fence without missing a step? You’re doing it almost continuously in Stray, with a smarter, smoother, and more satisfying contextual travel system than the “jump to the conspicuous yellow handheld” climbing system that has become. become the industry standard for action adventurers.

The cat itself is a lovable, nameless character filled with personality through some great animation.

The cat itself is a lovable, nameless character filled with personality through some great animation. Any chubby mom and dad will notice the little twist before taking the leap, the way their hips exhale when they’re panting, or the focused trot when they’re walking briskly. And many of the interactions exist just for the sake of being a cat, doing cat things, like scratching the sofa or sleeping on cardboard.

If you’re not a cat person, that’s okay, as there’s a lot to get out of Stray besides cooing with the beloved little orange kitty. Exploration is a consistent focus, but Stray is never afraid to introduce new elements – stealth, puzzles, outright platforming, even a little bit of shooting – then trade them for something else before it’s released. becomes too repetitive. If anything, I wouldn’t mind taking a little less action, please. Blowing up parasites with UV light isn’t nearly as fun as wandering the neon-tinted streets of Stray’s ruined walled city, gliding through tin roofs and fighting off remaining robot inhabitants.

Don’t get me wrong: I love this game. It’s affirmative and tense, funny and sad and so, very atmospheric. This is the only game, in my two decades of playing and game-changing, that I’ve started, ended, started over, and finished over in the space of a week. Anyone who enjoys single-player adventure, even if they don’t have a soft kit, should give it a try.

Get lost on the High Quality setting, showing a street scene illuminated by leon lights.

Rebecca: What I like most about Stray is the adorable cat and I’m not going to offend your intelligence by pretending that I feel differently. My second favorite thing about Stray, though, is how often it changes things up. I love action adventure games under 10 hours that cover a variety of episodes, of which Stray is a prime example. This is a game that rarely asks you to solve the same math problem twice, as you move through different city districts where different rules apply. So even if you don’t like something (I’m personally not a huge fan of some of the chase parts), chances are high that you’ll still find plenty to love while dancing. through rooftops without being hindered by a clumsy human. body. You won’t convince me that this is anything less than video game escapism at its best.

Stray is also one of the few surprising video games to date that makes me cry, given how many games I play are tagged with things like “rich story” and “emotional”. Specifically, that bit at the end. You may know a little. The best part, however, is that my partner sees me sad and tries to cheer me up by explaining that a cat can’t really understand what’s going on. Of course, this pushed me from oblivious to active sniffling, because the cat doesn’t even understand what’s going on. Yes, that might not go as planned, but it makes for a funny anecdote.

In case you also find yourself overwhelmed with emotions with this game, I simply cannot leave you without one of my favorite YouTube videos from this year, which uses MATH and SCIENCE to determine if Stray has a happy ending. Obviously there will be spoilers, but if you’ve finished the game I’d recommend checking this one out. James immediately declared it the title when I shared it with RPS Treehouse, and if that’s not recommendable enough I don’t know what it is.

Katharine: I’ll tell you what you should see. This adorable GIF, over and over, until the end of time. Nothing.


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