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Cool for cats… and cat people! PETER HOSKIN reviews Stray and As Dusk Falls

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Cool for cats… and cat people! PETER HOSKIN reviews Stray and As Dusk Falls

Stray (PlayStation, PC, £24.99 or included with PlayStation Plus)

Verdict: Feline implausible

Rating:

I’m a cat person. But I’ve rarely had the chance to go one step further (or one word fewer) and really grow to be a cat.

So I’m grateful, this week, to Stray for giving me that probability.

The character you control on this game is, well, a cat. And never some cartoon version, either. But a cat. It looks like a cat. Moves like a cat. You may even press buttons in order that it meows and claws at things like a cat. As an act of feline recreation, it’s sublime.

But Stray doesn’t stop there. It drops its ginger moggie right into a dilapidated future-city where the humans are not any more and only a bunch of pretty morose robots remain. Your task is get back to the surface and help out a few of those robots along the best way.

The gameplay itself is straightforward in a chilled way. You jump from surface to surface until you come across a puzzle that needs solving. It’s less about motion than it’s in regards to the joy of exploring this beautiful, broken world from a cat’s perspective.

Except if you’re fleeing from the zurks, that’s. These are the aggressive, overgrown dust mites that plague this netherworld, and which lend Stray some frenzied passages that I’m unsure it needs.

Still, those parts are, like the remainder of the sport, relatively short — in order that they don’t really take away from the fun of being a cat for just a few hours. For those who’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go and tear up some rugs.

As Dusk Falls (Xbox, PC, £24.99 or included with Xbox Game Pass)

Verdict: A greater class of criminal

Rating:

There’s, nowadays, quite a thriving genre of what we would call Select Your Own Adventure games. Like the kids’s books from the Eighties, they involve making easy decisions about the way to proceed. Do you go left or right? Do you nod hello to that dude or slap him across the face?

I’m pondering of Telltale’s Walking Dead games, the Life Is Strange series, Until Dawn, this yr’s The Quarry…

Now one other title could be added to the list: As Dusk Falls. And it could be the perfect of its kind.

To some extent, it is because it’s learnt from all those other games. Or perhaps ‘borrowed’ is the word. As Dusk Falls deploys all of the tricks we have seen elsewhere, corresponding to percentage tallies to disclose the alternatives made by players around the globe, or multiplayer options, so that you just and a number of other friends can vote on the alternatives together.

And, yes, there are quickfire, button-pressing moments to maintain you in your toes. There’s one scene in As Dusk Falls where you’ve to swipe and mash at the suitable moments to offer your wife a back massage. That feels somewhat silly.

But As Dusk Falls also innovates in a single crucial way: its storytelling. Across six episodes, and a few a long time, it presents a dusty, American crime drama that, were it filmed as a substitute, would not be misplaced amongst Netflix’s classier productions. The writing is top of its class; the voice acting is up there, too.

You care in regards to the decisions you make since you care about these characters and the awful situation they’re in.

Or do you? There’s at all times the choice of going back through As Dusk Falls and making terrible decisions to see the worst that may occur. There are dozens of branching paths — and, truly, I would like to go down all of them.

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