Is Stray Worth it on Steam? An In-Depth Look

Stray has received overwhelming acclaim on Steam, with 97.7% of over 100,000 user reviews recommending the indie cat adventure. Based on its impeccable review scores, unique premise, beautifully realized world, accessible gameplay, touching storytelling and reasonable price point, Stray is absolutely worth buying on Steam.

Released on July 19th 2022, Stray has quickly become one of the highest rated Steam games of all time. It currently holds a 97% positive rating from over 101,000 user reviews, with an impressive average score of 8.61/10.

To put this in perspective, this positions Stray higher than beloved AAA titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 (92%) and indie hits like Stardew Valley (98%) in terms of review ratio on Steam.

Here is a comparison of Stray‘s Steam user review stats versus other top games:

Game % Positive Total Reviews Avg Score
Stray 97% 101,693 8.61/10
Portal 2 98% 117,730 8.58/10
Hollow Knight 98% 88,028 8.87/10
Red Dead Redemption 2 92% 147,364 7.96/10
God of War 99% 71,748 8.89/10

In just 2 weeks, Stray has already sold over 1 million copies worldwide. It has peak concurrent players of over 84,000 on Steam, outpacing many 2022 multiplayer releases.

Clearly there is something special about this indie cat adventure that has captured gamers‘ hearts and imagination globally. Let‘s take an in-depth look at why Stray is worth buying on Steam.

A Unique Premise That Stands Out

The entire conceit of playing as an adorable lost cat in a sprawling cybercity is immediately intriguing and original. I honestly can‘t recall many other games that let you truly embody an animal protagonist with such graceful animations and abilities.

As Dexerto aptly puts it, "It’s still mindblowing that a game which lets you play as a cat – knocking things off shelves, walking across keyboards, and generally being a nuisance – exists."

Right from the opening moments when you guide the cat out of a pipe into the neon bathed alleyways, there is a sense of wonder in inhabiting this character. Small touches like brushing against NPCs legs or meowing to get their attention ground you in the feline role.

Stray doesn‘t rely on gimmicks either. The cat behaviors feel intrinsically rewarding, whether it‘s peering out from tall vantage points, squeezing through tight gaps, or uses your agile moves to evade enemies. This is thanks to the impressive procedural animations that brings the cat to life in an incredibly natural way.

A Vibrant Cyberpunk World That Beckons Exploration

While many expected Stray to be a simple cute simulator, the decaying cybercity setting surprised many with its scale, beauty and intrigue. This is a fully fleshed out environment rich with sights and sounds that entice your feline curiosity.

GamingBolt describes the artistic vision beautifully: "Blade Runner-esque, drenched in neon sights, and bustling with machinery and artificial life, the game’s setting is perhaps its biggest star."

I love the clashes between nature overgrowing the technological environment. Trees and vines envelope the urban architecture as glimpses of the old world poke through the metal surfaces. The calming, atmospheric music by ambient electronica composers Loving Vincent also accentuates the melancholic, meditative tones.

There are traces of human life like posters, furniture and personal artifacts that invite you to mentally reconstruct the missing inhabitants‘ stories. Exploring every nook and cranny literally from the street level grants an intimate, tactile experience of the spaces. There is a real sense of place that comes from the environmental storytelling.

Accessible Gameplay That Lets You Immerse As A Cat

Stray achieves a fine balance between gameplay and immersion. The platforming challenges are never too punishing, allowing you to organically inhabit the cat role without contending with complex controls or frequent deaths.

There is a wonderful flow to the movement as you leap between ledges, walk across beams, swing on ropes and climb up surfaces. The game perfectly conveys the feeling of being an agile cat navigating the urban environment.

Puzzles provide light challenges without halting progress too much. Your companion drone B-12 can interface with technology like opening doors, activating bridges, downloading data etc. to expand your options. There is a simplicity and accessibility to the core design that keeps the emphasis on exploration.

According to PC Gamer, "Stray…is focused on letting you be a cat, simulation-style, rather than demanding mechanical challenges from you." Removing gameplay friction amplifies the immersion and cat roleplaying opportunities.

An Emotional Story That Resonates

Beyond the surface level premise, Stray‘s narratively touching relationship between the cat and B-12 has resonated strongly with players.

B-12 provides context to the history of the city through fragmented recordings of its final human inhabitants. There is a pervasive sense of melancholy as you uncover the events that led to humanity‘s disappearance.

Against this somber backdrop, the uplifting friendship between B-12 and the cat offers a heartwarming emotional core. Their witty banters and caring gestures, like B-12 saving the cat from harm, humanizes these non-human characters.

As VGC writes, "Stray’s story, while melancholic, is ultimately uplifting – a wordless tale that says more about companionship than most buddy games manage with endless dialogue." It succeeds at instilling empathy without over-sentimentalizing.

Great Value At A Budget Friendly Price

For an indie game with relatively modest scope, Stray delivers a memorable 5-10 hour experience for only $29.99 USD. With no filler content, repetitive quests or unnecessary padding, everything you do feels meaningful.

The pacing feels well calibrated to tell a compact, poignant story that doesn‘t outstay its welcome. 100% completion clocks in around 9-12 hours including all collectibles and achievements.

Considering most major AAA titles cost $59.99 or more, Stray offers excellent value at half the price for a polished, artistic game that innovates. As IndieGameWebsite writes, "You’re getting something memorable and relatively long for that $30 price tag."

For reference, here is how Stray‘s duration compares with other story-focused games:

Game Main Story Length Completionist Length
Stray 5 hours 9-12 hours
God of War 20 hours 35 hours
Last of Us 2 25 hours 30 hours
Uncharted 4 10 hours 15 hours

Given the quality and uniqueness of the experience, Stray is absolutely worth the price for the content you get.

Why Stray is a Must-Buy Steam Game

In summary, Stray succeeds on multiple fronts:

  • Innovative premise of playing as a cat that is brilliantly executed

  • Breathtaking cyberpunk world that is a joy to get lost in

  • Accessible gameplay that lets you embody a cat with great finesse

  • Touching friendship story between the cat and B-12 that resonates

  • Excellent value with 9-12 hours of polished content for $29.99

These qualities synergize to make Stray one of the most memorable, feel-good gaming experiences in recent memory. It is an artistic triumph that should not be missed by any fan of story-driven games.

With its impeccable review scores, unique vision, and flawless execution, Stray is absolutely worth buying on Steam. Take a leap into this cyberpunk cat world and let its magic envelop you. You won‘t regret this indie gem that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

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