Stray Explores Humanity’s Impact From the (Cat) Eyes of Those Left Behind

Find out what makes Stray a special take an old school adventure game on the latest episode of 99 Potions.

On the latest 99 Potions, we’re reviewing that cat game you’ve probably seen all over your social feeds: Stray. Join expert cat owners Nerium Strom, Fūnk-é Joseph, and I as we dive into what makes this simple and linear game so special despite a few stumbles. But what would a game about a cat be without a couple of those?

(You can also listen to the episode on your preferred podcast player too here.)

Check out the episode above and read our annotated transcript down below.

 

99 Potions – Stray Review Transcript:

Nerium: Hello everybody. And welcome back to another fan by review podcast. This one is going up live. No, not alive. Live to tape, I guess, in a way, features contributor, funky. Joseph, what do you think about

Funke: podcasts, podcasts? You know, I love them. I like listening. Yeah, no, it’s, it’s a, it’s a great time. It’s little voices in my head.

Nerium: Now, a lot of people would say that’s actually a bad thing, oftentimes when that happens, but I’m glad that it works out for you. I am going to be your host for this one as usual, the person who has not played, uh, single second of the game in question, but I am sort managing editor of fan by.com Niam and I am here with the aforementioned folks to talk about stray.

Stray Godi go. Did I hear Godi? Is that what you said?

Funke: Uh, yes. Um, I now do

Nerium: you, do you mean that or is that a

Funke: goof? Oh, that was a goof. I, I think it’s a really nice game. Uh, it’s pretty simple and sweet and accomplishes everything that, uh, I, I expected from it. Um, but I don’t know. It’s like number one of the whole.

Paul: Yeah, that’s on my list though. It might, it might be on my

Nerium: list. Well, if, for people who don’t have it on their list or their radar was however stray is the new, I believe French video game, third person sort of puzzle adventure game, based on what I’ve seen of you playing it. Of it funky, uh, sort of game kind of a, not a point and click really, but like you go around you platform, you jump on stuff, you find items to give to other characters, so that they’ll do stuff for you.

Yeah.

Funke: It’s, it’s a lot of exploration and, and fetch quests, right. Even though you’re not a do, um, you

Nerium: know, cat cats, skin fetch. Sometimes I used to play fetch with my cat Rama, which by the way, as we go around this room, we talked about this earlier, all cat owners here.

Paul: Correct. We are. And, and my cat plays fetch actually.

Oh, really? Still. Yeah. Yeah. If you, if, if you get a crumpled up receipt, Ripley will. Yeah. She’ll, she’ll run it right back to you and, oh my gosh, basically Meow at you to throw it again.

Nerium: Let me try that right now. Cause Rama has decided to jump. It’s almost his food time. Oh, right on. So he’s decided to jump behind one of my monitors.

So I’ve thrown a piece of paper over to the side and sure enough, he’d left to go get it. Great. Oh yeah. Uh, but yeah, the, the, obviously the, the big thing about stray is that you are playing as a cat in a post-human world. Uh, or is it, I don’t, I literally don’t know. Cause I don’t know where the story goes.

Like you two do, but you are, uh, going through a world full of robots that are like, oh, humans are dead. As far as we know, and you need to help them as you try to reconnect with your cat family. That’s how it starts. Right? It’s a, you are this little orange cat, no name as far as I know. Uh, there’s no humans to give you one anyway, but you get separated from your family because of reasons.

Yeah, but

Funke: you, you try to make a big jump

Nerium: and you fall. Okay. What are you jumping over? Just a, just normal thing or is there like an earth earthquake? No, it’s

Funke: just, it’s like a gap and then the metal kind of creeks and you fall and everyone else, all your cat friends are above, above ground.

Nerium: so you gotta get

Paul: back up above ground.

Yep. Yeah. It’s how you start. It’s like, you can see the actual, like natural light in the sky a little bit. Mm-hmm , you’re kind of, I, I guess you’re in these like weird, um, kind of tunnel, like areas, uh, I guess hanging above like the sewers and that’s ultimately where you wind up falling, uh, into the underground city, uh, where the game takes place.

Nerium: Oh, okay. So you have to get down to get. Mm. Yeah, exactly. Interesting. Okay. Just making sure, uh, I saw a little bit of this game, uh, like the, again, we, we talked about the, um, kinda that that’s basically the premise, right? Like that’s, that’s much the game. Does it look like, really change up all that much over the course of the, how long would you both say it took you to beat it?

Paul: Uh, I wanna say maybe like eight or 10 hours sounds about right.

Funke: It took, it took me six, six total.

Paul: Yeah. Wow. Excuse me. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Funke: That is cause I’m a joke gamer. Yeah. It’s cuz I’m a pro gamer. Um, Paul, I can teach you some tips after. Yeah, appreciate. No, no, no. I think the game’s really short. I, I like this, the style of game where I don’t know, it’s it doesn’t blo itself with like a bunch of random quests that I’m never gonna do and kind of just like.

Filling it with busy work in a way that that just stretches out the experience. But I, I think stray is perfectly length. I, I, I don’t, yeah. Have any complaints about that. There are some side quests you can do to, uh, I guess, lengthen your stay in there, but, uh, yeah, I had fun. It was in and out.

Paul: Yeah. I, I, I wanna say the same.

Yeah. I share those senten sentiments. Exactly. Almost like I feel like for me, I really appreciate the short form narrative driven game that doesn’t really like Funke says, um, kind. Bore you with combat or like things that, you know, just kind of constantly get in the way that I think a lot of games feel the need to include, you know, for the sake of, I don’t know, whatever psychological thing they’re trying to achieve with the player.

Um, but yeah, I, I, I also went outta my way to try to complete side quest and I got every memory except for one, which I’m pretty mad about. So I gotta hit up, uh, oh shit.help, shameless plug to, to find out where that last one is. But. Yeah, I like that. I, I really appreciate when a game respects my time in that way and, and kind of, you know, lets me know that I kind of had an idea of where things were going and, and when it would sort of wrap up soon, which I feel like most games just don’t give you that I always have to rush to like, you know, how long to beat.com and, and figure out how much time am I born into this thing.

Nerium: Not really an option when you’re playing ahead of time of early games. That can be kind of, uh, frustrating sometimes where you’re like, I don’t know what I’m getting into

Funke: here. Yeah. Or especially if you get stuck on a puzzle, I was like, dang, what am I supposed to do for one of them? And I was sitting there like, should I just message Colin, like our guides writer?

Should I be like, what is the solution? But I eventually figured it out.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I feel like, um, the game. Progresses in a, in a really like old school kind of way. Like, it’s been a while since I’ve played a game like this. And, um, I don’t know, I’ve, I’ve kind of felt myself recently, um, longing for those kind of short form old school style, very linear games.

Um, because I, I think a lot of the things I either play now are probably like live games or, you know, games where. You know, it takes at least 60 hours to complete. Um, so it has, it has been, it has been kind of nice to take a break from that and also engage with the story that I found while really simple, really, really engaging and, and beautiful to, to absorb in all the ways the game goes out of its way to like.

Render, uh, you know, like the, from the visuals obviously to like even the score I thought was really, really awesome. Um, the sound design it’s, it’s just like a, yeah, it’s it’s total, for lack of a better term catnip for me where like, , I really like these simple experiences that are mainly there to just tell a story, even if it is a simple one.

Um, cuz yeah, we can get into some of the, the things that we might not have loved about it, but I. Overall, I would highly recommend this game to, to folks who want that kind of experience.

Funke: Yeah. Like I, I, I hear that a lot. Like there there’s such a mentality in games. It feels like for the past 10 years where a certain vocal group of players, like, oh, if I’m paying $60, I want like 60 plus hours in a game.

and it’s like, I, yeah, you can’t attach like dollar value to amount of time. Into a game like that, that doesn’t make it better. If you’re spending more time in an experience like you can spend 70, don’t

Nerium: actually want that. Like historically people just do not finish the games that they play already.

Mm-hmm

Funke: right. Yeah. So like, why, why do you want something longer if it’s not gonna be as fun? Like, I, I would much rather like the, the tight experience that, that stray is and yeah, I, I, the only criticisms I have of it are very small because. It. Yeah. It, it didn’t, it didn’t switch anything up crazy in the story, like by, by the last half, it wasn’t too out of, out of what I expected, but I, I mean, it’s a simple story.

It accomplishes what it wants to do. It’s really sweet. And the attention to detail is, is there it’s, it’s tangible. And I think. Near him. You’ve seen this, I guess, not even, but from playing it, but just through clips, like there’s, the cat shit is accurate. Like it’s so real. Yeah. Like the, the Meow button, like the, the needing on the, on carpets and just that, that little, like those small touches make this game pop and yeah, I, I, it really, uh, it, it shined for me.

There’s

Nerium: like a really good again, just like looking at screenshots and watching the video from you play, uh, during our first bite, which you can find over at youtube.com/fan bite, just to tell you, um, there is a really, really, really strong sense of like, Hand behind the camera, if that makes sense. Sure.

Like the, all of the shots, uh, seem very intentionally framed, like a lot of the, the backgrounds and, and scenes. Um, and like just the architecture of what you’re walking around. Looked like very, very, very deliberate. Like somebody specifically wanted you to see every single. Element of this city from this very particular view, which is oftentimes ver very low to the ground, cuz you’re a cat, obviously that is much shorter than most of the people.

So you have a sort of a worms eye view of all this stuff going on, which is caused not the worms eye view thing necessarily, but just like the general gist of the, um, The character design in the world design, um, in the game has C caused a bit of a hubub today. Now that the game is out, um, which I think we should at least probably mention, even though if I don’t, I don’t think I’m perfectly equipped to talk about it too much, but there has been like people comparing, like the, the look of this underground city looks very much like, um, Calhoun wall, city.

Uh, a lot of characters wear like, um, sort of stereotypical hats, like associated with like rice farmers and stuff like that. Like mm-hmm, um, in a sort of cyber punk orientalist sort of way made by crucially. These are French developers. This is not a, this is not an Asian studio.

Funke: Yeah. I, I, I mean, I don’t know much about the people actually creating the game.

Yeah. But there was like a, a bunch of. Random Asian inspirations, uh, into this. And we, we have a piece, a piece on the site, like talking about this trend, but we kind of see saw the same thing with seafood earlier this year. Mm-hmm uh, or was that late last year? I don’t remember. It was early this year. Oh yeah.

Uh, yeah, but I don’t know that that’s stuff was, was odd and I mean, it’s, it’s worth talking about. Um, but yeah, I, I don’t know. It seems like an unnecessary ad. There’s there’s no reason for it.

Paul: Um, yeah, it, it, it, it always seems to be like a thing when it comes to anything set in cyber punk, you know, settings where there is a template there that it’s pretty much based off of, thankfully, you know, the language and stuff that’s written everywhere is very reminiscent of like, you know, Japanese or, or Korean even.

And so you could see like, some of those influences, especially like in the, in the signs and, you know, the science and stuff, but it never really, um, it never really. Took me out completely, but I, but again, yeah, I think that is pretty important to talk about, but it, I think. Overall, um, the world itself, like I’ve been in such a sort of cyber punk mood lately.

Um, yeah. And not just cyber punk, 2077. Um, I only just recently started playing, you know, know the best cyber punk game, right? Yeah. The, the template, right? No, I’m just kidding, but it’s so good game. I’ll say

it.

Paul: Dang it. Well, I only recently started playing it because of, uh, you know, our, our, our friends over at Norma DFM have started a, a play through with that and, and I’ve been.

Following along because I’ve been so fascinated by it as just like a, a cultural touchpoint, more than anything. Like, I, you know, I have my issues and gripes with it, but I’ve also been watching, you know, a lot of ghosts in the shell recently, a lot of like, uh, standalone complex. I’ve been, uh, even reading some stuff lately and, and it it’s been just honestly inspired by the times that we kind of fucking live in now.

yeah. But. There is something really interesting about where this story goes and what it has to say about, you know, people who are left behind and, and have to sort of figure out how to pick up the pieces and, and rebuild to a degree and, and, you know, without any sort of hope necessarily on, on what comes after, uh, which is something that, you know, if you’ve been around for the last few years is something that we can all relate to.

You. .

Funke: Yeah, absolutely. I, I think one of the, you touched on one of the most interesting parts about this game. Like if, if robots, it proposes a question, like if robots took everything that humans knew after humans supposedly died, uh, they, they also take the bad parts too, like, right. We don’t really talk about that.

Like there, there’s still an economic disparity, like there’s cities here that are, are in. Lower juxtaposition than other cities and they live in poor situations. Uh, and there’s also more policing. Uh it’s the police design is also so good. It’s, it’s like a surveillance camera as the head and then just like a droids body.

Um, it’s, it’s a crazy cool design. Um, but yeah, all of these things factor into like you just thinking about, wow, why, why are these human or why are these robots suffering the same? Failings that humanity has suffered. Um, right. It’s it’s all twisted. Honestly.

Nerium: It’s very narrow Toal

Paul: oh, big time. There was so many moments where like the music would swell and like, you know, you’d be overlooking this really big, you know, beautiful Vista.

And I, I, that came to mind immediately. It was like, you know, those same notes, which I love

Nerium: mm-hmm uh, we should probably, I, I, I think most people are who. Are familiar with this game can either, you know, see this aesthetic for themselves and the trailers, all that stuff. What is the game play like Funke, when we did the first bite, it seemed like you maybe unlocked some combat type stuff.

And I’m kind of curious if that starts to branch out in any kind of unique ways or what we saw is basically

Funke: it, that was basically it, uh, spoilers for spoiler, but it fizzles. Right after that. Um, and I’m, I’m honestly glad, oh, that’s

Nerium: literally the, the, a combat sequence in the game. It’s not like it doesn’t become a big thing later on.

No,

Funke: no, it like, at the end of that sequence, when I ended the call with y’all, uh, the thing broke the, oh, the purple UV light that destroys the little head crabs, uh, just fell off and then the Rubo was like, dang, we can’t use that anymore. Zs. Is that what they’re called? Yes, the Zs. Um, but yeah, I, I mean, I.

Really like the combat sections too much. I preferred just jumping around. I, I would’ve preferred more. Maybe even like a wall run. It sounds silly, but like some more parkour stuff, you know, like if you’re, if you’re a dextrous cat, show me that, like, I would rather skill treat for that than like a gun on my back.

Um, and also like later on, there’s still, I guess you’re still running away from robots that are trying to kill you, but it’s. I, I, I don’t know. You, you can’t fight back. So it still feels like a very much a, a fast platformer, uh, yeah. Through the

whole

Paul: game. Yeah. There, there are the sequences where you’re just kind of being chased very like uncharted, like, or you just have to run through, or honestly crash.

Bandi co like. Were you just like running through a thing and just trying to make it in time to push X in order to, to get to the other platform or whatever. But yeah, I agree. I, I, I mean the combat, you know, if you wanna call it that the combat sequences were were fine. They, they, they didn’t really challenge me in a way that I felt was, you know, particularly gratifying, but mm-hmm , I appreciate the fact that they took a swing and, and really built a game around.

Not needing that combat in order to, to become engaging. It’s interesting how, like, there, it’s tough for me most times, unless I’m really digging a game that has like skilled trees and combat like control where like I’m reading every page that I find in email correspondence. Like, because I just wanna learn about, you know, that world.

Yeah. It’s, it’s interesting how. In stray. I was also doing that and I didn’t really feel the need to, to, you know, fight things or, or feel like I needed a constant skill check. Like there, there were, there was a really interesting, I don’t know, to me, these kind of games really speak to me as someone who like really appreciates that for me too, a way to.

School of design of like less is more, um, you know, literally designed by subtraction where like, you’re trying to literally piece things together yourself, as someone, as an outsider yourself and trying to just really absorb everything that you can from, from like, like Funke was saying before, like from the, the structures that the, the robots have sort of inherited from humans.

Mm-hmm , um, you know, the, the. Everything, every little piece, every sign, every, every little like interaction between NPCs was, was fascinating. You know, it’s like, I don’t know. I, I, I found myself really going out of my way to try to find those memories. And when I did, I was so excited because it was a new little piece of, of lore that I could discover about a world that like, you know, ultimately it’s really sad.

It’s a re it’s a really sad story about, again, what happens to the, to the folks who are the ones, keeping everything. You know, standing mm-hmm and you know, it’s and then when the people who basically control it all, when they, when they dip, it’s like, oh shit. Yeah. Like what happens to, to

Funke: us and what pass down?

Like, what are the ideas that they think, oh yeah, that’s normal.

Paul: right, right. And it, and it doesn’t really like, ultimately, I guess, minor spoiler alert. It doesn’t have a ton to say about it, which I think is one of the, the parts about the game that I wish there was a bit more of, but I, but I still think the experience itself and like the, the questions it brings up and, and the, the way it presents certain, you know, uh, visual metaphors and stuff.

Like, it’s really interesting. I, it was really striking to me. Um, as someone, you know, from similar environments like this, where, you know, you don’t necessarily get those same funds in, in your neighborhoods and, and you see how it impacts the people that you grow up with. Yeah. Um, it was really jarring at one point to like run around a corner and see like a cop basically, you know, stopping someone and frisking them and like, You know, that was it, it brought up some feelings, you know, and, and seeing that from the perspective of, of a cat of like this small little cat, um, yeah.

It really, it really makes these moments, these small, you know, intimate yet pretty traumatic moments. Um, so much larger than life because in, in your case they happen to be it’s, it’s really, it’s a really fucking cool game. I don’t know. It’s, it’s hard for me to like put into words sometimes, but even the idea of exploring a space in that size and being able to reach places and crawl under things, it’s like, it’s awesome.

I don’t know. It’s like every kid’s dream, you know, it really

Funke: is like, and, and you said Paul, it doesn’t explicitly say or finish its thoughts on these subjects, like policing and, and poverty and stuff like that. But it, the. Present its to you, it, it really makes you think about it and it comes to your own conclusions.

Uh, which, I mean, it’s not hard to realize that these things are bad, but like when, when you see a bunch of robots that are break dancing or they have to stop break dancing because they, they installed like three security cameras. Just around them and one of your side questions to like disable those cameras.

Um, and then they, they teach you a new song. Like if you do that, yeah. Like they do a little break dance, they teach you a song and you can play it on a cassette in another area. Uh it’s it’s great. And, and, and it’s those little moments. I actually had a question for both of you near and Paul, what. Has there been a, a cat game like this before?

Because I know games, industries, like memory is very short and I am coming into it fairly recently. So I’m like, has this happened before links with like a word blinks? I blinks a time. Can’t

Nerium: also everybody always that here is where I take Umbridge with, with fake blinks fans. Fake blinks fans always wanna talk about blinks and the importance of blinks and how influential blinks was, but they always say blinks the time cat it’s blinks.

The time sweeper, please,

Funke: please, please. Is he not a time cat?

Nerium: I mean, he’s a cat, but I don’t think that I don’t think that’s relevant to his time traveling abilities.

Funke: true. True.

Nerium: Uh, ESR games where you play as a cat, like fully I’m sure there, I’m sure there are like things out there. Like there’s probably some Japanese game that never came out in the United States where you did stuff like this.

Um, there’s also like. Cuba war there’s

Paul: like, what was that? Tokyo jungle? One Tokyo jungle, like Pomeranian at first or whatever.

Nerium: Yeah. Tokyo jungle had some stuff like that, but that, you know, in a, in the sense of being a game like this, where it’s like a big open world, not open world necessarily, but like a big puzzle game with like a sort of hub world where you move around and go help people with things.

I don’t think that has really existed in, you know, modern memory mm-hmm ,

Funke: but that’s such a, it’s like. Such a simple, yet perfect idea for a game. Like, yeah. Perfect pun intended as ne was saying earlier, like the shots seem so engineered for each step. You’re taking to be picturesque and to be screenshot able.

Uh, and I was just like, spaming the screenshot button, but this game. Feels developed for this age of web where like, I mean, everyone’s always loved cats on the internet, but like these systems in which people can spread that joy and that love like tweets and, and sharing directly from console and, and cutting content and putting it on TikTok, like it’s popping off on all of these networks online.

And I think just because it’s such a simple. and, and well executed idea that it just works and it makes me happy to see like a project like this succeed. Uh, quite honestly. Yeah. It’s been,

Nerium: it’s been succeeding and then some for, I don’t know, whatever reasons people found out about this game in, cause it’s.

the people like cats. It’s true. I mean, cat lateral damage was a game that where you played as a cat and you know, that that’s like not really a story driven game in the same way. That’s more like a goat simulator kind of like destruction game. But like that game did not sell the way that this game is selling.

This game is top of steam, top sellers list for like, even when it was like presales, it was selling, it was out selling games like Skyrim and stuff like that, you know, like on sale and whatnot, people really, really, really wanna

Funke: play this cat game. It’s definitely because of the, the, the art style, like how it’s trying to be very realistic and it can go a bit more, uh, fantastical with the robot designs and the droids, but with the cat, like that looks like a frigging cat, like, especially on PlayStation five or like a really good PC, the whiskers, like all of that is, is really well modeled.

And it’s a very small team. So like, they should be very, very proud of that. Also the environments. Ah, they’re

so

Paul: good. Yeah. Now even like the, the, you know, the sort of stuff that I usually would kind of like scoff at like, oh, what a gimmick, but even the sort of like, you know, the haptic feedback on the, the triggers and the, the vibration on PS five and like the, the Meow coming from the controller speaker and stuff, like little things like that were, were kind of a neat addition to everything else going on in the game, which, which, you know, I think the game in a lot of ways, Like leans on a lot because it reminds me of, you know, other anti permanent published joints, like, uh, you know, um, God, what is it called?

The outer wilds. And, um, you know, like just the idea that a game can exist without combat and you can advance through that game. Um, you know, to a degree like there’s, there are still parts, there are still parts where you have to sort of en engage and, and potentially get hurt and die and restart at a checkpoint, which is, which is kind of like the old stuff that I didn’t really love, but it was fine.

It never really felt egregious in any way, but, um, yeah,

Funke: just those being able to, those were also my least favorite segments. Like those ones were like, you can. And you see like a dead cat there. And you’re like, uh, I thought this was like kind of a sweet, like relaxing game.

Paul: Like there are stealth portions where like, they, weren’t my favorite, like, and I love stealth games.

Like, I, I love stealth games where like, you have choices of like what you can do and how you can accomplish a, a specific task. But these were just kind of like, you have to get around it kind of things that were more annoying than anything, but

Funke: to have the option when you play so many games, Like we play so many games this year, every year.

Uh, and so many of them result in violence, like you using violence to complete the task and to win. Uh, it, it is refreshing to see game it’s like, no, why don’t you just be a sneaky little guy and steal a hat from a store instead of like fighting all these guards, like just dress up with one, like get, get a robot to dress up as one, and you can steal the hat or like knock over some paint cans to open this area up for you.

Uh, mm. It’s it’s really like it, it makes you think like a cat and I’ve never had to think like a cat. I’m always like, man, go Jah, which is my cat’s name. Why’d you knock that off the table, but now you get it now. I it’s fun. And there’s no consequences. And like, everyone is just like, still happy with you after you knock shit over.

Like I say, my.

Paul: Also you don’t, you don’t care about that.

Nerium: They had to invent like weird little head crab, monster retch and clank enemies to, to attack and kill the cat because they know that nobody would ever actually intentionally harm a cat. Right. Nobody with a human mind. But

Funke: yeah, it’s just really, really sweet in it’s problem solving and, uh, just all the way around.

It’s it’s very careful in, in the way it tells this simple, straightforward.

Paul: did you, did you, um, get all the songs for that guitarist in that like alleyway area?

Funke: I got like three or four, I think. I don’t know if I got all of.

Paul: Yeah. So like that, that was one of my favorite parts of the game where like kind of exemplifies what I really appreciate about it, which is you’re, you’re exploring the space and you’re trying to uncover these little gems that you can then present to people for context.

And there’s a guitarist and in this sort of alleyway area where, um, you know, he just kind of strum, you can also. Press triangle near him to like sleep, just roll up into a little shrimp ball and, and take a little snooze, which is nice. And you’re purring. And the, there are moments like there are like these really quiet moments in the game that give you a chance to sort of breathe and, and, and take it all in and, and just, you know, kind of, uh, Marvel at the, the technical things happening, right?

Like the lighting and the, the really cool graphics. more than that, just like the actual world itself, like what was built and like you, you can sort of let your imagination run wild about like what this space was probably used for and what memories were made here. And, you know, that are now just forgotten completely.

And, and, uh, so you’re taking, you have to find these pieces of sheet music and bring them back to this guitarist and he then just plays them for you. And it’s this kind of like, Interesting moment, where again, you can sort of sit there and just listen, or you can curl up into a ball and, and sleep next to him while he plays.

But they all have these sort of, um, small stories to tell these pieces of music. And sometimes they’re not all my favorite, but it was still kind of cool to see, to, to think about like, who made this music and like, what, what is this talking about? And like, yeah, just that constant. You almost feel like it’s an archeological dig you’re, you’re constantly sweeping up stuff and, and finding new things to, to look at and analyze it’s it’s it’s really cool, man.

I don’t know. Like, I, I love, I love this kind of simple and again, it might be too simple for folks for some folks, but like, if you, if you open yourself up to it and, and you’re willing to let you take it there, like yeah. You know, or let it take you there. Like it’s, it’s kind of rewarding in a lot of different ways.

Mm-hmm

Funke: I, I really like. Songs in general that use rest and silence in, in effective ways to make the other parts pop. And I feel like stray does this very well. And it reminds me a lot of, of life is strange as well. Um, like when something big happens in the story, there’s usually a moment where you can just sit.

And listen to music in life is strange. Mm-hmm and just like reflect on everything that’s going on and maybe plan out some future conversation paths you want to take. Um, and just like, honestly, just take in the world and absorb it all. Um, and, and, and throw you into that character’s mind. And SRE has a lot of moments like that.

Two where you can just curl up into a ball and just relax. And normally there’s like either you’re beside them, a musician who’s playing sheet music. That is really, really good. And made me wanna look up the soundtrack and listen to it like yesterday as well. Um, or it’s just like in another character’s room or right after a big race, uh, you or a chase scene, you did, uh, those moments really just like meld your mind into the cat mindset and just be like, Mer.

Because like, while you’re curled up, you can still Meow, even though you can’t do anything else uh, and that shit just hits like, yeah. And, and as Paul said, like, there isn’t anything explosive or real big twist, I’ll say, but it’s nice to enjoy something. Like, like just, that is what it is, trying to, what you see is what you get, you know?

Yeah. What you see is what you get. That’s a good way of putting it in ear. yeah, I, I, I don’t need, I don’t need something. So off the walls bonkers, it’s nice to just play through that and, and be happy with my time with. It would

Nerium: almost be more predictable to me if they tried to do a twist in this game, cuz it feels like something where it’s like the humans are actually alive and the humans are cats and they turn their bodies into little robot cats and you are a robot, but for real, cause all the cats are actually dead.

Not the humans, you know, like if they tried to pull something like that, I almost feel like that would be cheap. But like the idea of just like, Nope, you are simply experiencing this world as it comes through the eyes of a character who. Uh, is an outsider and interacts with it in a way that makes, that gives you incentive to do different, interesting things in the.

Paul: Yeah, it, it’s also nice to just play a thing, especially in a cyber punk setting that like Funke was saying, like, doesn’t need to be this, you know, have these world ending stakes. Right. Like I think a lot of times that that can either push or, or drive players or, or people absorbing this content to wanna see it through to the end, but, you know, um, I guess light spoilers, but the game doesn’t.

Do that. And, and I, I, I love it for that. Like, even thinking about how a lot of cyber punk stuff is unnecessarily horny in, in some ways, because, you know, especially when it comes to games, like I was talking about 20, 77 a while ago, but there are, there are times, or, you know, just egregious examples of moments where you’re like, did you really need to go there to, to, to really, you know, tell, say, tell the story you wanted to tell, or was this just sort of like a kind.

Dick and fart, fart joke that you wanted to get across salacious for no reason, like yeah. Or did just wanna be horny for, for horny sake. Um, and the game doesn’t put that on

Nerium: a screenshot that will sell, right. Somebody somewhere said this game will sell X more copies. If we. Tell people that there’s titty in it.

Right, right. Not titty because you believe in the titty and try and want the titty. But because you, you know, you know, for mercenary

Paul: reasons, it’s said dressing mm-hmm mm-hmm . Um, but, uh, yeah, the game doesn’t do that, which I appreciate it. It’s kind of, it doesn’t need to go there and it’s still manages to tell a really heartfelt story, you know, simple one, but still one that, like, I don’t know, again, touches on a lot of the stuff that we’re currently going through and, and, um, kind of speaks to a, to a sort of like hope that, um, A lot of games either.

Um, I don’t know, stumble into, or don’t quite necessarily stick the landing quite as well, mostly cuz you know, there, there are four legs ears, so that helps. But I think in, in, in strays case, I think like having, um, having a game that communicates this idea of hope and, and what it can look like to rebuild and, and make sense of the failures of, of a system is like, I, I, I needed that right now personally.

Funke: Yeah, I feel that very hard. Well, awesome. I mean,

Nerium: I think we’ve probably said most of what we need to say about straight. The one thing I do kind of feel like it’s worth. Grabbing onto here that we haven’t really gone into super specifically. And maybe, maybe we can say more after it, just so we don’t end on a mild bummer, but like, oh, you you tell me if it’s a bummer.

Um, I know people out there were asking like how, how badly can the cat get hurt and can the cat die and stuff? And it didn’t seem like it was actually too over the top to me when I was watching you play Funke.

Funke: That shit is said. It’s I don’t know. I didn’t think it would ever be able to die like that. Um, but it, I, I don’t know.

I don’t wanna speak for you, Paul, but for me it was rough to see, especially there’s a lot of segments where either like a certain kind of robot can kill you and that it shoots like electrifying darts into you, like four times TAs, you, yeah. TAs, you, and then you die. Or these Zs, which are these alien type.

Little crabs that can jump onto you and suck your blood until you die. It is, it is kind of intense. I, I, I think pre or stray, I almost call it pray. uh, stray does gross otherworldly shit pretty well. And I was, I wasn’t expecting it.

Paul: Yeah, there, there’s also like, so that stuff didn’t really, I mean, it might sound like a monster after this, but that, that stuff didn’t really, really bother me as much.

Um, I, I like, you know, it was like, oh, that’s, that’s so sad, but I, you know, it does it didn’t, it didn’t really linger with me, but there, there are like some pretty. Nasty. Uh, I don’t even know how to say it, like kind of body horror kind of stuff at some points of the game where like, cuz there are certain parts of the, the world where like this, you know, this weird sort of monster style infection, fungus thing is growing, which is where the, the SRKs come from.

I think mm-hmm so seeing that kind of like gooey sort of, you know, gory. Texture like stringy all over the place and kind of oozing and moving that, that, that was a little unsettling. So I think if you have any, like, I don’t know if, if that stuff makes you uncomfortable, just be aware going into it, but you don’t really linger too much, which is, which is good.

I mean, that’s the point of the game, right. You’re trying to get through and, and move on. But. Yeah, that, that disturbed me more than the actual, like, you know, cat getting tased or whatever.

Nerium: Hmm. That’s interesting. Cuz just from what I saw of it, and again, I have not seen most of the game, but to me it very much, it just seems so cartoony.

It seems so like I, I mentioned earlier, so ratchet and clank level, like the, even the desserts are just like the, there are these big, weird frogs with a big goofy googly eyeball. And when they jump onto the cat, it’s not like they’re like tearing it apart or anything like that. It’s like they jump on the screen, goes red and the cat falls over and there’s not like they don’t linger on.

Right. Um, but that’s

Funke: interesting. It’s it’s it was stressful for me, like in those segments, cuz you can’t even jump, you can just steer left to. Right. It really does feel like a crash band, cute style game. Um, but you, oh

Nerium: sir, you can’t independently jump in this game. Can you, you

Funke: uh, no, not unless there’s a legend in front of you.

Huh? That was just,

Nerium: that was so interesting. That’s such an interesting design choice to me of like doing the win Waker style jump mechanic. I pretty

Funke: much they, yeah, they said that or at the preview event, they were saying they wanted to make the platforming as simple as possible. And introducing like a regular jump would, would mess that process up.

Um, yeah, by making players think that they could jump on things that they maybe weren’t allowed to mm-hmm um, so it just makes things more straightforward. In that sense, but it is frustrating in those, those chase sequences, when the Zs are jumping on you and I’m like, oh shit, like, let me just drop this guy off fast and then you die.

And it’s like, uh, I don’t like all this.

Paul: It’s actually, uh, interesting. You brought up Zelda because I, there was like, to me that was like a direct connection to this game was a direct connection to me to something like of time or majors mask. Like when I first sort of encountered these small confined spaces that felt like, you know, P people were living there and, and NPCs were kind of going about their routines and you could interact with them.

But only to a certain degree, like it reminded me a lot of like major’s mask and, um, I don’t know. I thought that was like a really cool template to sort of build a game like this off of where, you know, you don’t necessarily have to be the hero. I mean, you are to a degree, but you’re not this like, You know, this, this adventurer with a sword and shield on your back.

Like, it, it, it is, there is a sort of like interesting tone. It strikes when you’re like meowing at a thing. And they’re, they’re, they’re talking to you, but they’re also talking to the, the little droid that, that, that, that, you know, companies you B12, I think is their name. Um, but yeah, I don’t know. I, I like, I, it made me wanna revisit a majors mask or an a of time because they’re, they, they share, they actually do share more DNA than I.

Other, you know, with other games. Yeah. I think we

Nerium: can probably actually just wrap up this whole pod, unless you all have something specific you want to get to that we didn’t touch on already. It sounds like a cool game. I wanna play it. Yeah, you should.

Funke: Mm-hmm I, I definitely recommend it. I, I think it’s nice.

I think if you like cats you’ll enjoy this, especially if you not like you don’t consider yourself a gamer, I feel like this is one of those games you can just like pick up and play through. And it it’s not as high intensity that it it’ll put a lot of people. Um, I think it’s a great welcoming game.

Paul: Totally. Yeah. I couldn’t agree more and I’m, I’m actually gonna be going to that Chinatown pop they have going on in New York. So I’m gonna swing by that and, and report back. Let you let y’all know how, how it goes.

Funke: Yo, send those picks. I, I definitely wanna see that. Oh,

Nerium: yeah. Yeah. Well, uh, last, last, last question from me since we are getting up there.

It’s I don’t know if you’ve noticed, you’ve looked outside. It’s hot out it’s summer. Mm we’re. In the we’re in the dog days where, despite the playing a cat game, not a lot of the other video games coming out right now, July 20th, pretty close to game of the year season. Oh, pretty close to game of the year season for the purposes of this, uh, segment that I’m doing here, funk.

Funke: It is, I was about to say it is .

Nerium: Where would y’all you don’t have to like, put a hard number on it, but like, you know, do, is this a contender for your top 10?

Funke: Okay. Uh, absolutely. Um, Yes, but there’s also, there’s not many games right now. And I don’t know if that’ll change before the end of the year. Um, but I did really like this game, if it’s on my top 10 or not, I, I, I still like it.

Paul: Yeah. I, I, I feel the same way. I think it has a good chance of ending up on my list, you know, my, my top 10, but I also, I really don’t play as many games nowadays, like for, for coverage. So I, who knows, but I definitely, you know, again, share funky sentiments about like, I think if you’re interested in this and you want to, you know, if you like the sci-fi cyber punk setting, I think it’s still absolutely.

A play through. Um, and I, I think it’s available to like PS plus like the top tier subscribers, if I’m not mistaken,

Nerium: middle tier and top tier middle tier. Oh God, Paul, how is that? That whole fucking thing.

Paul: God. Yeah. Um, so I mean, you might already have it or have a chance to add it to your library already if you, if you have that.

But I still think like, regardless, I think it’s worth checking out. I think it’s a really neat little story. So,

Nerium: so $30 PC PlayStation, four PlayStation five. I think everybody here played it on PC. Not PS five. You played on PS, PC. You were on PC. Okay. Ran. Okay. On both. Yeah.

Funke: Yeah. I just think my PC’s probably getting old, you know, there’s a couple of moments where it just like frames dropped, but oh, opt, but only during, I think when I was taking screenshots, but everything else was really.

Nerium: You ready for that 4,000 series, those Nvidia new Nvidia cards. You’re gonna get a 40, 80,

Funke: I don’t know anything about a computer. my friend built this for me and I was like, yep. Ah, can you make sure the beeps go, boo?

Nerium: Thank you. Mm-hmm

Funke: make sure. Yeah. Make sure it’s shiny and cool.

Paul: Yeah. Tune up, tune up the graphics on level five.

Funke: yeah, enhance.

Nerium: Well, we will all go beep and boot our cats on the nose after, uh, we are done with this podcast here, which is, oh, Hey right now we’re gonna wrap it up there. Thanks everybody for stopping by and telling me about stray as well as all the listeners out there about stray.

Paul: Anytime,

Funke: of course it was a pleasure.

Thank you for having us.

Nerium: It’s always, it’s always wonderful to be on a podcast with y’all. Uh, and it’s always wonderful to hear all of you enjoy our stuff. You can tell us how much you enjoy our podcast over at fan by dot HASA. That is the discord community for fan by.com. You can also, uh, go to iTunes, Spotify, any of those good places and, uh, rate and review us.

If you really, really like. However, if you just, uh, enjoy 99 potions and other video game related stuff at fan bite, tell a friend that is, uh, currently our best way of, uh, spreading word of mouth. I think Jordan was pretty open about this on a previous episode of channel F, but it’s just kind of a situation of like, Hey, we don’t have a lot of money for advertising around here.

We’re owned by a major corporation. They don’t give us any of that for, for our stuff necessarily. So you. Word of, mouth’s still the best way to promote our things. Yeah. Let your friends know. Yeah. Right. Interview the pod. Right. And review the pod, all that good stuff. You know how it goes. You listen to podcast before beyond that.

Uh, where can people find you on the

Paul: internet? Paul? Uh, you can find me at poly. Mayo is P O L I M as in Mario, a Y O oh. As in

Nerium: Mario

Funke: mm-hmm ah, like Chris. Exactly

Paul: economical, Mario,

Nerium: where can people

Funke: find you funky? Uh, on Twitter at Funke fly, F U N K E F L Y or on Twitch with the same username where I don’t have a schedule, but I’m gonna be streaming.

Ooh fun. I’m playing some metal gear salad too. That’s a pretty good game.

Nerium: You can also follow our wonderful other producer who is actually doing the production on this pod, sitting in with us, uh, Jordan Mallory at Jordan underscore Mallory. Uh, you can follow me on the Twitter at. Oh, Jordan is only taking notes.

Sorry, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna steal valor. I don’t wanna be, I never wanna steal valor and I never want give valor to somebody who doesn’t, uh, deserve it. Paul’s going to be producing this episode. Jordan was here,

Paul: uh, running Jordan stepped up though. Appreciate it. J

Nerium: very much stepped up after a very hectic morning.

Yeah. Yeah. Came in last ass second to come and help us. So you should go follow him on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter at Mirum and E. I U M S T R O M. And you can follow fan by media, on Twitter at fan, by media. And for now we’re putting this review in the rear view, AO, but we’re always looking forward

Funke: here.

Paul: Bye.