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Game review: Stray Cat redefines the adventure genre with the look

<em>Rogue</em> The unnamed star of Pose poses in its new world of wonders, mysteries and riddles.”/><figcaption class=

in great shape , the unnamed star of lost poses in its own strange, new world of mysteries and riddles.

Annapurna Interactive / Blue Twelve Studios

The indie gaming genre of “silly animal quests” has produced a slew of fun and unique experiences. We’ve loved pantomiming in the form of the following: Hell-raising goats, car-driving bears, and (if you’ll allow it in style) bread crumbs on the move.

But three years ago, untitled goose game brought the genre to its climax. Its production value, accessibility, and distinctly dry comic style was a notable step up from the typical “messy barnyard beast” gimmick, and the result was a breakout hit. At the time, I quietly thought: Where else could video games featuring unexpected animal heroes go?

Answer given by this week lost, is quite compelling. This brief yet memorable adventure is a sophisticated take on the concept, as if it were created by an arthouse film studio. It descends somewhere between the terrifying, atmospheric exploration of the first half life And the childhood craze of the classic Studio Ghibli movie. And it stars a cat: not a surrealist talking cat with bulging eyes and Acme-brand hammers, but a puzzle-solving, blinking, tiny-hole-finding cat on four paws. screams and always gets on her feet.

Importantly, the developers at new studio BlueTwelve nail a significant contrast. The developer’s realistic take on a pet virtual cat, as much as its aesthetic in its controls, somehow fits perfectly into a surreal underground world full of robots, neon lights and mysteries. In fact, this contrast helps the game attract humor one moment and kindness the next—which is one of the many reasons I recommend playing. lost Right now.

did you say meow?

I’ll admit, I’m tempted to put my all-time favorite cat pun on this review, but that would betray the game’s integrity. lost More than the kind of meme explosion you might expect from a “video game starring housecats,” though if it just makes you feel better, the names of the game’s achievements and trophies are a whole lot of moaning. . (When your unnamed cat is trapped at one point, an achievement lights up with the phrase “al-cat-traz.”)

lostK’s zero-dialog introduction suggests that players are in for a different experience, one where you—and your dedicated “meow” button—traverse an empty world with little feedback. Fortunately, the game changes its scenery, and you eventually plunge into a world (yes, on all fours) with its own language and social norms.

in great shape , “Does anyone know where the catnip store is?”

Annapurna Interactive / Blue Twelve Studios

Conveniently, one of its inhabitants takes a liking to you, then discovers that it can open up communication between you and everyone else… if it slips a high-tech harness over your body. As a cat, you immediately hate This thing, and you obviously struggle, the way you’d expect any cat to be forced by an owner to, say, dress up like a character. firefly, (“Who’s my little meow-colum Reynolds? Are you!”) But after a few whispers, you make peace with the device because it opens up your ability to understand what’s going on. However, the harness doesn’t turn your noise into words. This thing only provides one-way communication. This is one way to stick to the Gordon Freeman archetype.

Your presence tells everyone who can escape this sunless, underground world – because you’ve somehow been able to escape some of the evil monsters found among the environmental checkpoints. “can you help us?” There is a common avoidance between the people you chat with. As a cat, you can get into places people you meet can’t, so you’re often asked to move around and find lost objects or sometimes puzzles. Investigate the world around you to solve such problems as deciphering a code for a safe.

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