The Crew 2 is an open world racing game developed by Ivory Tower and published by Ubisoft. The game features 16 different types of races ranging from airplanes to dirt bikes to hovercraft and power boats. It takes place in a scaled down version of the United States and allows you to race in big cities or through the countryside and some of America’s most famous landmarks. There are hundreds of races to chose from, each with 3 difficulty settings as well. Completing races will award you with followers (essentially XP for levelling up) and new parts for your vehicle, allowing any vehicle to be upgraded and compete with other higher tier vehicles. You don’t need to be familiar with the first game in order to get stuck into this one. There is some loose story, which is basically irrelevant, although admittedly it has some pretty epic cinematic moments at times.
There are 4 main types of races – Street, Off-road, Freestyle and Pro Racing. Each of those has 4 sub-categories depending on the type of vehicle:
Pro Racing – powerboat, air races, touring car, alpha grand prix
There are also Live Xtreme events – probably one of the games more unique and exciting features, in which you race in several disciplines with an almost seamless transition between vehicles. Once you have completed 50% of each race family’s races you can take on the boss for a chance to earn an ultimate vehicle. There are also hundreds of skill challenges and various other types of races available, including weekly events in which you compete for the highest score on a series of events against other players from around the world.
Overall the game is every completionist’s dream. With hundreds of races, challenges and vehicles to collect – it will keep you busy for a very long time. One criticism was that certain types of race had a lot less events compared to others – street races seem to vastly outnumber all other types of race and it would be nice to see a few more events for some of the more niche vehicles like monster trucks, motorbikes or hovercraft. While the open world is truly gigantic and there are quite a few events and challenges around it, it can feel a little too big and a bit empty at times. The always online mode of the game also means you can’t pause and walk away from a race because you will get kickedd from the server.
The weekly events give players a reason to keep returning to the game, giving it decent longevity (aside from a completionist approach to the game). There are also seasonal events with a new one being announced just a few days ago – adding new races and challenges to take on. The follower and rank system is a nice touch, allowing you to upgrade earnings or vehicle performance as you increase your rank. The full price game is not worth it by any means (over £40), however you can often find it on sale for as little as £6.99 for the base game, if you are on PS Plus Extra it is available for free. The game will keep you busy for a considerable time, especially if you’re a fan of racing games or a completionst.
Hold L1 & R1 (or equivalent) to reset your vehicle onto the road.
You receive car parts after each race so don’t rush to teleport away until you’ve received them.
You can spend skill points every time you increase your rank – invest in skills that gain you more bucks as much as possible.
Don’t spend money on vehicles in the early game and once you have amassed some wealth make sure you buy the vehicles you need for new race types first – aiming to have one of each vehicle as soon as possible.
The New York hypercar race pays the best, however also takes really long, the other money grinding option is the Uber Dam powerboat race, which is very quick to complete.
Remember to pull back on your joystick (tilt back) when using a boat to go at higher speeds, let go of this for more control and better steering.
Use nitro to recover from mistakes or in stretches when you can use a lot of it in one go.
You can get an overview of all completed and uncompleted races from the activity menu, which is easier to navigate than the map.
You can customise your racer’s outfit at Home.
When loot gets sent to your HQ mailbox you need to go to one of the 4 race types HQs (where you buy vehicles) and look for the mailbox section where your unclaimed loot is stored.
Once you’ve acquired good car parts you can start to scrap green and blue parts to generate spare parts, which can be used to tune top tier (yellow) car parts.
Planet Coaster developed by Frontier Developments was released in 2016 and saw a lot of success since then as a spiritual successor to RollerCoaster Tycoon. The game did so well it was followed up with Planet Zoo in 2019. As should be obvious from the title, the game is all about managing a theme park and building some truly amazing rollercoasters. The game’s campaign mode has 12 scenarios with 3 objectives in each. Generally this takes around 10-15 hours to complete, after which you can look at challenge mode maps where you have to manage your own park by starting out with a limited amount of cash and building up from there. Alternatively if you just want to mess around or build without the limitations of cash you can always try the sandbox mode.
The game offers a huge variety of of coasters and theming options. From classic wooden and children coasters all the way to high speed steel winged coasters with inversions and loops. The themes also include classics like pirate, adventure, spooky, sci-fi and festive. The theme editor allow for the creation of highly detailed and unique scenery, there is also a Frontier workshop showcasing some of the finest creations by other players that you can add to your own collection and use in your own parks. The workshop also features various parks and rollercoaster designs uploaded by others, however you may find that quite a few of these aren’t compatible with console due to the more limited performance.
Considering the game came out in 2016 it has held up very well and as the console version was a little more recent it will still set you back around £17-20 if you get it on sale. As for the PC version you can find CD Keys for around £5-10 which is definitely worth doing. The game is an amazing playground in which to let your creative juices flow. The editor allows for some truly awe-inspiring builds and the only limit is one’s patience and imagination. Naturally the PC version will always be superior due to access to the steam workshop – this is issue is slightly alleviated for consoles by the presence of the Frontier workshop, although even then certain maps or builds won’t work on your console. Controls have been fairly well adapted for console, although when creating more detailed props/scenes it can be a bit tricky at times. The new approach to theming and the way props and decorations are created really do make this game stand out and cement is place in a long line of theme park simulation games.
Some props are grid based others can be freely placed – you can tell these apart by the grid in the background of the image.
If a ride’s queue scenery is at 100% you can charge the maximum for tickets (this will still depend on the ride’s prestige).
Sending staff on training courses will boost their happiness, but will also mean you need to probably raise their salary.
You can smooth a ride out by selecting a part and then selecting adjacent ones by holding X (PS) – you can then select the smooth option from the quick action menu.
Free camera allows you to zoom in and look at things even closer.
Make sure your staff rooms are within a reasonable distance for staff.
Use work rosters to manage where and how your staff work – especially useful for janitors.
After around 10 year of operating a ride will become a “Classic” meaning it will be at its highest prestige level – allowing you to charge the most you can for it.
A good rollercoaster with high values and good prestige can charge around $20-25. Whereas flat rides will vary from around $7-15 depending on the ride.
Townscaper is a city building game like no other, made by developer Oskar Stålberg (creator of Bad North as well). The game allows you to build a procedurally generated city. The game is set on a warped grid allowing for some interesting curves and narrow streets as you build your city. The building process itself is also remarkably simple – just tap to add a block, short hold to remove one and long hold to change its colours. The rest is all up to you. There is no objective, pressure or complexity to the game just an open sandbox for you to create your colourful (or monochrome) island city. As you add different pieces existing ones will change leaving behind houses, terraces, gardens and all sorts of little details to discover. You can choose from 15 beautiful pastel colours spanning the colours of the rainbow and make some truly fantastic creations.
Generally speaking, the game will set you back around £4.99 which can seem a little bit steep for what’s essentially a city painting app. However, when you observe the detail and appreciate the effort that has gone into the game you appreciate it more and more. It is a great mobile game and perfect time killer. You can spend hours perfecting and tinkering with your city and 5 mins can quickly turn into 20-30. The decision not complicate the game with actual “gameplay” like resources and management does leave you with a slight sense of longing, but equally helps it preserve its truly zen vibe which will leave you feeling relaxed. It would be interesting to see this with different architectural styles, colour pallets, vibes and building variations – for example a spooky abandoned building or medieval castle. The concept feels like it has infinite potential. If you can get it on sale you can save around 15-20% on it, but either way it’s money worth spent for the zen garden that Townscaper is.
Tap to add block, short hold to delete a block, long hold to change colour to the currently selected one.
You can turn on the grid to see what certain positions may look like – look out for the ones that form the centre of certain warps.
If you don’t interact with the screen for a bit the UI will hide (if you have the toggle on).
Check night mode and mess around with the position of the sun.
You can make a lighthouse by building a standalone tower of 3 or more blocks.
You can make grassy areas by surrounding an area with houses and having the middle free, do so with different colour houses and you will get some nice walls and fences within the green area.
Equip Master is an early access android game by JYSGames that simply let’s you manage and utilise vast quantities of equipment in idle combat. The premise of the game is to acquire gear through various gatcha means and by completing levels where you fight mobs. As you gather more equipment you can merge it into more and more powerful versions. There are 5 keys stats that the equipment affects – health, defence, ATK damage, fire and ice damage. There are also various resistances, lifesteal, crit chances and speed that can also be affected by your equipment. Some items will also have special abilities that allow you to summon minions or poison an enemy, for example. As you progress you unlock more ways to spend your time in the game like PvP and more ways to collect new equipment. Combat itself happens fully automatically and usually just consists of random weapons and spells being used on enemies. Some items will have special abilities which can make these fights even more chaotic sometimes.
Overall the game isn’t too dissimilar to other mobile gatcha games with various merge type mechanic, however there is something oddly addictive about having incredibly powerful armour (even if it means you’ve essentially equipped 4 sets of boots and 3 chest pieces). There is some sort of storyline that doesn’t really matter as it’s in the levels where you truly get to test out your equipment. Each area you fight in will have various special areas to complete that will add to your idle production capabilities. Some levels will have powerful bosses at the end (some boss descriptions/tips could be more useful). It would be nice to see the game get a bit more visual polish – for example different skins/looks for enemies. There are moments when you do just need to wait a bit to get the exp to level up and beat a level, which prevents you from power-levelling through the game and rather coming back every so often. Grinding resources which let you upgrade your equipment is very slow and the yields from the idle methods can be quite low, even when upgraded. There are plenty of ways to earn gems (premium currency) in game which is always a nice touch as it means you don’t have actually spend crazy amounts of money to properly enjoy the game. If you’re looking for an idle game that will keep you coming back for 5-10minute sessions every few hours then this should scratch that itch.
If you get close to beating an enemy or boss it’s always worth retrying a couple times as the RNG may be on your side the next time
Prioritise spending your diamonds on unlocking more bag space
When merging items try and merge into the highest level item as upgrading items can get very expensive
Upgrade the Equipt Collected quality and Flea Market “Gold Mine” (most likely should just be “Quantity”) and Quality in order to get higher quality equipment for merging
Use your free gatcha pass (or watch the video) on statues once you’ve unlocked them as waiting for the free one can take a while
With the recent release of Slime Rancher 2, I went back to the original to see where it all began and what all the hype was about. As the name suggest Slime Rancher (developed by Monomi Park) is a game that revolves around farming and exploiting adorable (but sometimes dangerous) slimes. You explore the open world vacuuming up unsuspecting and rare slimes after which you bring them back to your ranch where they are stored in corrals and fed various foods in order to obtain their most valuable resource – plorts. Each different kind of slime will drop its own kind of plorts, different plorts sell for different prices and those will fluctuate depending on how many you’ve sold recently and the in-game economy.
If a slime eats another slime’s plorts you will get a so called Largo slime – an extra large hybrid slime of the two types (producing 2 types of plorts) these larger slimes are harder to handle as they can’t be sucked up as you can only move one at a time. The danger with these slimes is that if they eat a third type of plort they can become tar slimes – a destructive and dangerous slime that can quickly decimate your ranch and other slimes. As you progress in the open world you will also find Gordos – special extra large slimes that need to be force-fed in order to unlock portals and keys to new areas of the map. New and sometimes dangerous slimes are discovered as you progress as well – some explosive, others radioactive.
Generally speaking the game will set you back around £10 to £15, although with Slime Rancher 2 being released recently I would expect this to drop soon (the game is available for free as part of the PS Plus Extra tier too). Overall the game takes around 14 hours to complete depending on what you focus on, if you’re not out there overfeeding gordos and unlocking new areas it will take you a lot longer (but then again there’s so much to do on the ranch that I don’t blame you). The game is very good at keeping you busy constantly – the “one more day” moment is definitely there and can easily absorb you for extended periods of time. The game concept is simple but very effective and there are plenty of things to unlock and do – from timed challenges to crafting and research. The open world presents a bit of a traversal challenge and sometimes can feel as if you’re trying to break it with some of the areas you can jetpack to, the ability to unlock portals and quicker routes is also helpful as navigating the fairly big open world can get a bit tedious, especially if you have to go anywhere near water with an inventory full of goodies as falling in water will cause them to all be lost.
The game is a fun and generally relaxing experience, exploring and discovering new areas can seem scary but is also actually quite chill as even the more dangerous slimes can be vacced up quite easily or you can always run from them. Even if the farming element gets a bit repetitive, the open world and lore take you on quite the adventure. If you’re after a chill farming type game with some really cute slimes then it’s definitely worth checking out.
Unlock the jetpack early
Feed a slime its favourite food for a double plort yield
Feed a gordo its favourite food and you only have to feed it half the amount of food
Tars spread faster at night
Complete daily quests for cash and special rewards
Get the water tank upgrade early and always keep it full – water instantly kills tar slimes
Phosphorous slimes only appear at night and will die if exposed to sunlight
Farming largos allows you to get 2 types of plort from one corral
Store and sell plorts when their price is high (when you sell a large amount the price will then drop for some considerable time)
Get a farm going early on
Getting high walls or a net on your corral can help prevent slimes from escaping (they will try to escape if there’s food nearby)
Do not give a largo a third type of plort or it will become a tar
You can unlock new areas to expand in by unlocking the overgrowth or the grotto (you can take care of phosphorus slimes in there without a solar shield
Completing quests for other ranchers on their ranch can eventually unlock even more area to expand to and other special prizes
Empire of Sin, published by Paradox Gaming is a strategy simulation game with turn based combat. You play as a 1920s gangster during the period of prohibition, competing with other gangsters for control over Chicago and running your various rackets. Rackets range from speakeasies to casinos and brothels and a few extra special buildings. The key resource that you need to ensure you have a steady production rate of is alcohol. You upgrade your breweries and the quality of alcohol to ensure a steady flow and good profits. As the game progresses and you get into the politics of it you can begin to make trade agreements, pacts or go to war with other mob bosses. You hire a team of various gangsters and when you engage in combat it plays out like a turn based XCOM-style battle.
The game allows you to build a badass crew of gangsters from a big roster of unique characters from a variety of classes and in a variety of tiers (differing in price and abilities). Each of the gangsters will have relations to others or can even develop them while you’re in a crew – for example they may fall in love with each other or if you kill one of their friends in a different crew they may refuse to work for you for a while. As you progress in the game your gangsters will unlock new skills, you will find new weapons to equip them with and their loyalty to you will improve.
Ultimately your aim is to take over Chicago by either killing all other major factions or finding ways to buy them out and establish control over all neighbourhoods.
Overall the game will set you back around £15 (or around £5 on sale) and while the theme and characters are quite cool, the game falls a bit short in terms of delivering on player experience. The combat gets repetitive extremely quickly, there’s little variety in the environments you fight in. The game makes you grind other mobster’s rackets and districts, slowly building up your empire but after a certain while you are just spamming upgrades on your rackets and fighting the same fight in the streets and enemy rackets. There are also various known bugs in the game which tarnish the experience even more.
Winning the game feels like an incredibly long grind, it would be nice to see more variety in environments and a bit more diversity in enemies and scenarios. The characters, their dynamics and their personalities are an interesting element of the game and could be built upon. There is DLC which adds an extra racket and new playable gangsters and weapons, but for £10+ it’s a considerable additional cost. Overall the concept, characters, art and theme are good but the repetitive gameplay and a buggy experience, I wouldn’t pay more than £5 and the game offers little replay value (it is free on PS Plus Extra at least).
Use taxis to travel around the map
Don’t rush into hiring too many gangsters, but at the same time their cost remains at the level it is when you first hire them (or goes down) so hiring higher tier gangsters early is better
Don’t overextend – secure and upgrade neighbourhoods before adding more
Focus on thug-run neighbourhoods – they are easy to take over and won’t affect standings with other mobsters
If you kill a gang-leader their districts will all become thug owned, initially with 0 rackets – if you take over the thug depos you will get the district clean with all rackets immediately purchasable
Remember to check the black market trader every so often
Make sure your gangsters have health items equipped
When on the streets try to ambush enemy guards to get an advantage
Focus on your character’s bonuses and types of rackets that they scale from
Try not to anger the police – don’t kill officers and don’t be afraid to bribe them
Graveyard Keeper developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild is an indie game that revolves around managing a graveyard (much like the title suggests). The game is comparable to Stardew Valleyin many ways: the aesthetic, the fun characters, the crafting, combat to name few. Graveyard Keeper starts you off in a world you are unfamiliar with (you’ve come from present day) , it seems you are stuck in some sort of medieval fantasy world and you need to figure out how to return home to the present day. As it turns out you are the new keeper of the village’s local graveyard, after the previous one mysteriously disappeared. You are introduced to various characters in and around the village and their weekly schedules and quests (the game has 6 days with various events or NPC appearances being tied to each one).
Over time you develop and fix up the old graveyard and your house, you unlock farming, beekeeping, wine and beer making. As the graveyard gets nicer and filled with better “quality” people you will unlock the church which is where the game really takes off. You will be tasked with doing a weekly prayer, this will help you generate faith which leads to the most powerful unlocks in the game. Doing tasks and work generates points – there are three types of points – red (generated by wood/stone/metal work), green (generated by doing farming work) and blue (generated by researching things and high level item crafting). These 3 types of experience points are used to unlock things in the research trees, and there is quite a good amount of things to be unlocked.
The game is incredibly addictive. It has that typical element of “just one more day” or “just one more task” that keeps you on it for crazy amounts of time. What makes the game even more clever is the way the days work – often times quests will require you to do something that’s basically 5 days away, meaning that you have to wait almost an entire week to complete a phase in a quest (during that time you’re obviously doing other quests or tasks). This has the effect of keeping you super busy all the time, following NPCs schedules and working around having a corpse delivered to you every so often as well. The game’s aesthetic is well delivered and can be very eerie at times (especially when the fog roles in). It’s perfectly matched by the sound design of the game and some of the rather dark and funny humour.
Graveyard Keeper will generally set you back around £10, which at first may seem like quite a lot, but the game really offers quite a lot, it’s also cheaper than competitor Stardew Valley. If you can grab it while it’s on sale for around £5, then you’ve got yourself a steal; it’s worth noting the game is also free with PS Plus Extra. While the game’s ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered and there are 3 DLCs that attempt to answer those, each of the DLCs will set you back around £7-8 and add a variety of new stories and gameplay mechanics (like being able to make zombies to automate tasks). The game is highly addictive and will keep you hooked for a considerable amount of time – overall the story can take around 40 hours to complete, but that could easily stretch towards 50-60 depending on what you end up doing.
Get the teleport stone from the Dark Horse tavern as soon as you can afford it – it makes moving around the map so much easier
Try to only put high quality corpses in your graveyard, red skulls reduce the appeal of a grave
Focus on opening the church in the early game so you can unlock the weekly prayers – these will generate faith for you and unlock the church basement where you can do alchemy and craft new types of items
Meet Clotho to unlock the alchemy workbench and skill tree
For a perfect 12 skull corpse you will need to have unlocked and use the various embalming injections
Blood and fat always remove 1 red skull, organs will account for a random amount of red/white skulls in each body, flesh will always remove 1 white skull
The Quarry lets you set up a little base where you can mine iron, stone and marble for extended periods of time – just make sure you have enough materials to build the workstation and storage there
Save blood – there’s a late game quest (and speed potions) where you will need quite a lot of it
The dungeons save your progress – so if you’ve killed half the mobs on a floor and exit it, that will be saved when you return
Throwing bodies into the river is ok, but if you have a poor quality body you’re better off burning it as you still get the burial certificate
Once you unlock alchemy and the tier 2 bench get speed potions – but only take them after you’ve had a sauerkraut (as it increases the duration of buffs)
Gravestones and fences generate a lot of blue points when being researched
You can purchase books containing a specific number of red/green/blue points from the astrologer
Maneater is the spiritual successor to Hungry Shark that we’ve always wanted. Developed by Tripwire interactive, the game lets you take control of a mutant shark and wreak havoc on the local wildlife and humans in a satirical version of Florida where the waters are rife with toxic waste and pollution. The game is narrated by comedian by Chris Parnell, which makes for some fairly comic moments.
You start out the game as a full grown shark on the hunt for some human flesh and quickly encounter your arch nemesis – Scaly Pete. A rather absurd character Scaly Pete is a professional shark hunter who you engage in battle with and sadly defeats you, only to find a baby shark inside your stomach, which manages to eat his arm and escape. This is when you really begin your adventure as this newly born baby shark. You quickly learn how to eat and survive in the harsh environments around you. You can upgrade your shark and it’s abilities in mysterious caverns marked by fairly lights.
As you progress through the regions you take on bigger and bigger wildlife and you can also eat your way up the list of Shark Hunters in order to unlock other special upgrades. You quickly begin to realise that this is no ordinary shark and that you are actually creating somewhat of a monster.
Overall gets repetitive towards the end, but still quite satisfying to play. The game is very easy to complete and if you’re playing on PlayStation, it’s one of the easiest Platinum Trophies you can get. There are various CD Keys where you can get the game for around £5 or up to £20. It’s free with PS Plus Extra. It’s hard to justify more than £10 for this game, especially without the CD as it’s quite basic and quite repetitive, it’s also extremely easy to complete. However when it comes to senseless violence and being a fun sandbox game, Maneater really excels. Simple concept, crazy upgrades and Chris Parnell’s narration make this a very amusing game that will keep you busy for around 8-12 hours depending on whether your 100% it. The Truth Quest DLC only adds an extra hour or so of gameplay.
You can explore all landmarks in the first areas quite easily – do this to gain access to the Shadow upgrades
There’s a sewer pipe with a grate (Teen) connecting Fawtick Bayou to Dead Horse Lake – I had issues finding a way out of the first zone as I just kept missing this
The bone build is best for taking on boats
Don’t be afraid to mix and match various body parts – the shadow jaws, electric fins and bone for the rest make a nice versatile build
For the final battle with Scaly Pete use the electric fins to dodge and disable his torpedoes – this makes them very easy to pick up and tail whip right back at his ship
You can always hide in a grotto, no one will try to get you there
When taking on tougher enemies try to avoid their attacks and study their moves to find an opening during which you can attack them
Once you’re an adult you can grab and fling stuff with your tail whip – a carefully aimed such shot can open gates or be used to hit targets/prey
Melvor Idle developed by Games by Malcs and published by Jagex brands itself as a Runescape inspired idle game. The premise of the game is quite simple – a huge variety of interconnected skills that you can level up in various ways. The list of skills includes things like woodcutting, mining, smithing and farming with even more being available in the premium version. You can grind these while you afk or idle, as each skill level increases you can unlock more aspects of it. All the various skills are interconnected – the items you get from one may be used on another skill, which then in turn will impact or allow you to do something in yet another. From crafting items to fishing there are plenty of ways to make money in the game.
The premium version will unlock quite a few additional skills that will allow you to develop even further, explore new areas in combat as a Slayer. It adds some pretty interesting elements like summoning which can give you the ability to enhance the yields from other skills each time you complete them. The combat also has a surprising amount of depth with a variety of enemies and areas to fight in, dungeons to take on and even Slayer quests that challenge you to take on specific enemies.
The full version of the game will set you back around £8.99 but for that you do get quite a good amount of new skills to level up. Getting the premium version early in the game pays off as a lot of that early loot can be used to level up a lot of the other abilities. While it does feel like it is a bit on the expensive side it does provide quite a lot of additional gameplay so it can be somewhat justified. 15-20% cheaper would make it an obvious choice.
Overall the game is highly addictive, the sheer amount of skills to level up and the way they are all interconnected make for a really good idle experience. The combat also adds another layer to the game, especially for more active play. The game is well thought out, simple and really delivers in terms of depth. As far as idle games go, this one is definitely worth checking out and will keep you coming back for ages.
Sometimes you need to scroll down once you’ve selected an option to see more details
Mining is a good skill to focus on initially as it links to smithing, which is a great way to make money, armour and other useful items
Coal is really important in a lot of smithing recipes
You can get coal from firemaking or mining
You can get seeds for farming from woodcutting (via bird’s nests) or from fighting farmers in the farmlands
Check what upgrades you can use your bars (or other items) for before selling them off
Don’t bother with armour upgrading until you’re at least with Mithril armour or higher level
You can view your pets and their bonuses from the completion tab
If you need to improve your block/attack rating for new gear you can just grind an easy mob for an extended period of time
Try and get the Amulet of Looting as early as possible from the Spider Forest dungeon
Stray developed by Annapurna Interactive is an adventure puzzle game that has been in the works for some time. Before you proceed, this review may contain some light spoilers – so if you want to fully fresh experience avoid the screenshots and maybe go play it first. Announced a couple years ago, the game really got cat lovers around the world hyped. The game lets you take control of an adorable kitty in a post apocalyptic world where humans no longer exist. After a misadventure with your fellow kittens you end up deep underground in a forgotten structure where you find some rather strange larvae (known as Zurks) and a hidden city of friendly robots. On your adventure you befriend a little drone, known to you as B12. The drone seems to remember a time when humans existed and the things they used to do. The robots in the city, known as Companions have adapted to the underground way of life, but some of them yearn to return to the Outside once more and to see the sky once again.
As you find out more about this world and the Companions you are tasked with collecting various items, exploring parts of the city and ultimately making your way to the outside. The core gameplay loop focuses on really satisfying puzzles that are delivered in a variety of ways: from jumping (parkour or is it catcour), to following cables, pulling levers, stealthily avoiding enemies or completing tasks for various Companions. The story takes you on a captivating adventure in a beautifully designed and crafted world with amazing attention to detail.
While it’s not the longest of games (first playthrough may take around 4-5 hours depending on how much you mess around and explore) the game certainly delivers in charm and story. The beautiful world, satisfying puzzles and amazing story will make you want to complete it while at the same time wishing it doesn’t end so you can explore and learn more. The game does also autosave quite frequently which allows for shorter play-sessions. The simple controls and short playtime also mean that you could hand it to a “non-gamer” and let them enjoy the experience (although they may need a hand with the Zurks). The game will currently set you back around £25, but I expect we will see it in some sales later this year, but even at this price it is worth getting. For PlayStation extra members it is included in the available games at no extra cost. There are currently some speculative rumours around an Xbox release, but it will be some time away with the earliest being October, some estimates even saying 2023.
Overall Stray is a beautiful game, with a captivating story and really satisfying gameplay. It goes above and beyond being simply a cat simulator (although it does that pretty well). It is a pretty unique game in terms of allowing players to see the world form the perspective of a cat which will make it a firm favourite amongst cat lovers (maybe also dog lovers alike). It is really hard to fault the game and it even has a bit of replay value in the music sheet or plant collection side quests and the memory collection element. The game also provides a solid base for the speed-running community and it will be interesting to watch some of those attempts as get better at it. I’d highly recommend checking this game out.
Follow red painted air conditioning units with orange streamers
Follow orange lights, cables, wires or arrows
You cannot go back for the music sheets after leaving the slums to go into the sewers
Hide in boxes to avoid sentinels, or in other areas where you break their line of sight
Scratch things when you can (pretty much anything that isn’t a carpet will lead to something)
The purple, yellow and red plants can all be found within Antvillage
Meow to distract/attract enemies
B12 can remind you of your current objective should you forget
Your backpack will light up if you can interact with nearby objects/NPCs
Interact with vending machines in order to be able to get all of the Barterman’s items
Talking to companions can give you hints or other objectives that will help you along the way