June's State of Play update gave us a deeper insight into the world of Stray, an action-adventure game that sees you taking on the paws of a backpack-wearing street cat in a cyberpunk-themed metropolis. And, to be fair, its reveal had us thinking, particularly about games with a similar tone. What it also had us thinking about—wouldn't you believe—was feline heroes, furry bandits, and post-apocalyptic barren wastelands with mutated folk populating its borders. Funny, that.
While Stray won't be releasing for a few weeks yet, there are still a number of decent alternatives that tick a few similar boxes that you can check out. And when we say alternatives, we're narrowing our scope on games that let you fill the boots of an animal so you can go scooting around a world of some sort. Let those requirements be the starting point for the following five. The rest, well, they're just bonuses.
Biomutant is an action-adventure game that takes you to a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with mutated animals, all of which rely on one thing: the Tree of Life, an ancient landmark that breathes life into the whole world. However, after a disaster threatens its existence, two opposing tribes are forced to decide what to do with it. Your position, as an outsider, is to join forces with one of the tribes, and make the final decision.
After creating a character in Biomutant, players can embark on an epic quest around the various regions of the dying world, using karma to sway the balance of power. You can, of course, side with the tribe that only wishes to destroy the Tree of Life for the sake of acquiring new land, or stand against them, doing all in your power to restore the roots from whence it came. For every choice you make, the world around you yields to the consequences.
4. Tokyo Jungle
Now, there have been some odd games come out in our time, many of which have left a worryingly cold impression. Tokyo Jungle, for one, springs to mind, and we're not entirely sure whether to laugh about it or cry. Though, from a newcomers' perspective, it definitely piques your interest, and it certainly possesses all of the qualities that would usually make you want to venture deeper inside the rabbit hole.
This free-play adventure game takes you to a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, a place where humans have fizzled out and only nature remains. Animals have taken the city by storm, and it's your job, as either predator or prey, to go about your day and survive the bitterness of a collapsed civilization. So, if you have ever wanted to be a Pomeranian in a lion-infested dystopian future, then by all means—Tokyo Jungle welcomes you.
Okami is a stunningly elegant adventure game that blends cel-shaded cinematics with a treasure trove of Japanese mythology and folklore. Although released way back in 2006 for PlayStation 2, its legacy remains somewhat relevant in this day and age, which was made clear when it received a well-deserved Switch port in 2018. And boy, it's a timeless masterpiece that deserves a whole bunch of sequels, for sure.
Okami takes you on a journey through a cel-shaded version of old Japan, a place where folk look to a sun goddess by the name of Ameterasu. The tale itself, which follows the goddess in her white wolf form, explores the history of classic Japan, and how the region was rid of darkness through the gesture-system known as the Celestial Brush.
Fe is a platform-adventure game that lets you brush paws with a fox-like hero, one that only wishes to rid the ultraviolet forest of its hostile entities known as the Silent Ones. With the use of song, melody, and rhythm, players can follow the kind-hearted cub as he sets out to assemble the habitants of the forest to help drive back the looming threat.
Over the course of the relatively short journey, players will have to connect with the creatures of the forest and learn new melodies. For every melody harmonized, a new ability is crafted, which, in turn, can be used to drive back the evil spirits that tamper with the natural ambience of the woodland haven. It's short, but incredibly sweet and remedial.
1. Ghost of a Tale
From the Pixar and DreamWorks veteran that brought you some of the greatest animations in the world comes Ghost of a Tale, an action role-playing game that sees you taking over the tiny claws of a mouse named Tilo. Set in a medieval world overrun by anthropomorphic animals, the heroic little mouse sets out to unlock the secrets that taint the land. A little something like Stray, only with a colony of rats and spiders, you could say.
There's a lot to love with this quirky RPG, even more so now that it has paved its way to the Switch and other modern hardware. Plus, if you enjoy games that rely on stealth and puzzle-solving to steer the narrative, then you'll most definitely see it as a home away from home. At least, that's how we'd view it.
Stray will release on July 19 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Will you be picking up Stray? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.