Cyberpunk Cat Game Stray loses kittens halfway and becomes a shooter


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Our kitten sleeps in the grass with a butterfly fluttering around his head.

Screenshot: BlueTwelve Studio / Kotaku

There’s a lot make noise about To roam right now, thanks to it coming out during a rather dry patch for new releases, and more importantly, how can you play as an incredibly cute cat. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people will find this week that he forgets about it very quickly and becomes incredibly… playful. I did not expect that I would play as a robot, for example, destroying mutants.

The following contains spoilers for To roamgame elements (how you play, not why you do it) without delving into the story itself at all.

To roamThe opening is amazing. Without any fussing nonsense, without tiresome cut-scenes, the camera pans gently over four kittens living in the overgrown remains of the dam before positioning itself behind the ginger creature from the collection and puts you in control. The first thing you do is connect with your siblings, each one is a great moment. beautifully observed kitten behavior. The animation is perfect and any decent person would be thrilled with the screen.

Three kittens walk through large pipes in an overgrown concrete structure.

Screenshot: BlueTwelve Studio / Kotaku

After getting some sleep, the four cats set off on their journey, traversing the ruins of what was once a huge structure, jumping from a concrete block to a massive pipe, trotting down railings and poking around in a very cat-like manner. It’s not until you follow your three siblings up one big pipe that the cutscene starts and Ginger (as I call him) scratches, slips, and then falls far, far below. It’s really traumatic!

Waking up in what appears to be a sewer pipe, Ginger is injured, walking with another superbly observable limp before falling and resting some more. At this point, your kitty feels so vulnerable, so fragile, and the player needs to do everything possible to keep the little guy safe.

This is clearly taking place in some future, post-human, apparently, with rusting robotic remains coming your way. Then, briefly at first, you see some rather unpleasant pink-spotted creatures who think they would be at home. Inside. However, they do escape, so you can continue your feline journey, jumping and running for safety, and as a player, desperately wondering how you will reunite the little guy with his family.

Then you will find a flying robot. Now it’s not enough as silly as it sounds, given that being a cat in a world seemingly inhabited only by AI lifeforms would otherwise make it difficult for you to communicate. B-12, your robot companion, appears to be able to talk to both cats and robots, and has the amazing ability to “digitize” physical objects and then materialize them when needed. So yes, he’s a talking inventory.

To roam, is currently becoming a game about a cat in an underground city of robots helping the locals with their menial jobs. And even here I’m cool. You are still—albeit now wearing a huge robot saddle—a cat, and while I haven’t yet met a cat that willingly helps anyone, it’s still fun to play. Your role is really nothing more than finding third-person platform routes to your destination, and jumping through sprawling urban areas offers you more freedom. Even the ability to play the role of a cat, that is, to ignore your tasks and just find cool places to sleep.

It starts pushing for credulity at about the hour mark of its five or six hours, when you collect sheet music for a robot to play guitar at will and search for “memories” for your amnesiac robot buddy by looking at the floating pixel patterns and trying find enough cans of energy drink to buy items in the store… yes, yes, I know this has already turned into game-playing nonsense, but like I said, you do it all by chatting like a kitten.

I would say that after this long section, a little more than half way, To roam abandons almost all notions of being a cat sim and just descends into any other third person action game.

Our kitten rides in a bucket on a zipline between two rows of apartment buildings.

Screenshot: BlueTwelve Studio / Kotaku

You help the robot find the equipment it needs to create a weapon that can counter the Zurks. These are ridiculously named alien blobs that apparently mutated and appeared at some point after the death of humanity. The further you go, the more fleshy webs you see stretching through tunnels and along the sides of buildings, transporting this cute cat into a realm of visceral horror motifs that seem so strangely out of place. They grow eggs, the eggs spawn Zurks, and you need to kill them with purple light.

This is L1 to launch the light beam emitted by the B-12. hovering over your feline body, at which point there’s really no pretense that you’re driving anything other than a car. And you’re destroying what could very well be aliens. in gray corridors. Do you see a problem?

Still later, this transitions to running away from enemy drones that throw a web of blue light in front of them. Enter it and it will turn green, then if you stay too long it will turn red and they will start shooting bullets at you. Bullets fired from floating drones in the gray ruins…

I’m stunned by this. How did the game that so wonderfully gave us a kitten to play with such accurate and delightful observations of the kitten’s behavior end up in this place? This, of course, is not because he wanted something.

The mutant's eyes grew out of the fleshy wall, and our kitten stood before the horror.

Screenshot: BlueTwelve Studio / Kotaku

I would be delighted if all five or six hours continued the same as it began. Just be a cat, exploring an abandoned city, looking for routes through the ruins. Maybe I’ll have to find booze here and there, and maybe I – as a player – can piece together some of the history of the place, to the cat’s apparent indifference. Hell, if this was desperate for science fiction, maybe I’d stumble across surviving computers and traps to dodge like a cat. To be honest, I would ditch the robots entirely, as their real role is to provide quests. But even keeping them, he didn’t need to slide that far down the slippery slope towards the game city.

I won’t even go into how much I hated the ending. It might be another day. Let’s just say my son Still furious at how terrible it was two days later. It really showed how much the game has abandoned the great place it started from, and if you’ve played through the game, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

To roam could just be magical from start to finish. Instead, she’s magical at the start and then slowly turns into the gray robotic quagmire of most other games. At first I played role-playing games! I meowed at locked doors, deliberately going the wrong way to explore nooks and crannies, arrogantly ignoring the urgent task of finding a place to sleep. By the end, I had almost completely forgotten that I was a cat, and may have been a spaceship, for all the difference it made. And it sucks.

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