Though it becomes less interesting as it becomes more involved, this cat exploration game still manages to be clever and compelling. In Stray, a cat is separated from their family, and must make their way through a largely abandoned city to get home. To do this, not only do you (as cat) have to jump from ledge to ledge, and onto beams that might then move into more convenient positions (thanks, inertia), but getting around this intricate urban environment also requires you to solve clever situational puzzles in cat-like ways. For instance, you might knock over a board to create a bridge, or knock a can into a skylight or exhaust fan so that you can make your way inside. The kicker being that this city is in the future, and while there are no humans (or other cats), there are lots of hat-wearing robots, including a drone-like one who follows you around and helps you out.
The thing is, neither the cat nor this game needs that drone's help, and even after it gets involved (about an hour in), this clever title gets relatively less compelling. While exploration is still paramount, and inventive, and the drone's door-hacking ability can be used to trick and trap some blobby creatures that really hate cats, the game also has you doing such un-cat-like things as searching for the combination to a safe. The drone explains why the city and its robotic residents are the way they are, but this worked better when we were as oblivious as the cat. Which isn't to say the drone ruins this game, not at all -- the puzzles are engaging, especially where the cat-hating blobs are concerned -- and the bulk of this game is still about you, as a cat, figuring out how to navigate the city. But it's hard not to see how Stray would've worked better if it had lived up to its name.