Every year, many players convince themselves that this summer they will catch up. Promotional games are waiting for the data disc to be printed and inserted into the console disc. However, plans usually fall apart because indie developers target this period with their smaller gems. And some of these gems even turn out to be big hits.
This was the case a year ago thanks to the premiere of Twelve Minutes as part of an Xbox Game Pass or Ken: Bridge of Spirits subscription. The second position only debuted de facto in September, after a lot of slides, but this month is often still transitional, so it’s safe to tie this unusual adventure game to the holiday season. Both games took dozens of hours of my life, and the first approach to The Technomancer or Shadow of the Tomb Raider had to be postponed.
Great ideas and even better implemented
Now everything was different. Stray – like the aforementioned Ken: Bridge of Spirits – was very intriguing from the very first promotional material. An interesting concept and finally a breath of fresh air in the industry. I had the opportunity to play the production even before the premiere, because the preparation of a review of the story about the missing cat fell on my shoulders.
Finally, Stray gave me an 8/10 rating. Behind this rating was really good cat control, well balanced playtime, accessible story, beautiful world filled with neon and grime, fun side-actions, and good use of the DualSense controller. The game had its drawbacks in the form of insipid, unforgettable NPCs or a lack of more difficult puzzles, but as I emphasized above, it was something new on the market. It’s amazing that after so many years no one came up with the idea to create a game about a cat, because the interest shown by the players on the network shows that it was very desirable.
Now, having played the game from scratch, I appreciate the title even more. By skipping levels, you can feel this lightness in the gameplay, I would even say, overcoming more obstacles or sharpening your claws, you can even relax and forget about everyday duties. Finding such games on the market lately is very difficult, because most of them flood us with a different number of markers, and explorers usually cannot pass them indifferently. It’s even worse when without doing side activities – often of very low quality – we can’t advance the main story.
Grinding is nothing new in the world of big budget games. Stray completely disassociated himself from this term, and I can say with confidence that the creators did it only for the good. Some also complain about the length of the adventure, but is it 6, 7 or even 8 hours of gameplay if you want to find all the collectibles? Not necessarily, as it keeps mechanics from overeating recipients. A perfect example is a fight with gatekeepers with a lamp attached to the back. We only wear it for a certain period of time and then we just lose it. Thanks to this decision, in my opinion, no one can blame that there were too many such collisions, and therefore they became monotonous over time.
We need these games!
Answering the question in the title: no, we are not crazy. We just wanted a more linear game with an interesting concept. BlueTwelve Studios, in collaboration with Annapurna Interactive, did a great job shooting their hit – not only have we not received a single noteworthy title since the premiere of The Quarry, besides, none of the announced ones has presented itself as intriguingly as Stray. Coming back to holidays 2021, it was the same with Ken: Bridge of Spirits. The game surprised everyone with its “lightness” and attractive graphics, becoming one of the best, and for some, the best “turkey” of recent years.
Stray continues this trend, which is evident not only from critics (the average score for the PS5 version on Metacritic is 8.3/10), but also from players. The easiest way to check recipients’ opinions is through the Steam platform, where, based on over 58,000 entries, 97% of them have a positive response. The result is really amazing and shows that almost every buyer was satisfied with the furry story in the big world of cyberpunk.
Will Sony keep this indie console game promotion series next year? Just a reminder that the Japanese corporation has been helping to break out of Little Devil Inside for a long time, which also seems to be a breath of fresh air in the industry. The game’s premise sounds quite interesting, as in addition to the original-style graphics, the creators will use RPG elements to deepen their immersion in the journey through a mysterious, open world. We will probably see what will come out of this in the next few months.