Stray shedding its PlayStation exclusivity on August 10th means only one thing: Xbox fans are about to embark on one of the most heartfelt indie adventures of all time. And it’s about time, too, what with the Series X|S lacking in fresh exclusives and ports lately. Question is, who will be setting out to retrace the same old paw prints, and who will be adopting the whiskers for the very first time when it comes to Xbox later this month?
If you fall into the latter category, then chances are you’ll need one or two tips to help put you on the right track. Although not the longest game in the world, Stray does come with its own fair share of challenges and secrets. So, if you’re after a few pointers to help you put your best paw forward, then be sure to read on. Here’s everything you need to know before starting fresh in Stray.
5. Let the Neon Guide You
On-screen clutter is next to non-existent in Stray, which is something of a double-edged sword, as it provides a more immersive experience, but at the cost of losing out on some pretty useful features. Fortunately, the open world does provide a subtle hint—a smidgen of neon that, more often than not, will indicate where the next objective in the story is located. At no point is this mentioned, but as you’ll come to learn, most places you’ll explore will be outlined by a neon sign or brightly lit beacon somewhere in the distance. Therefore, if you ever find yourself lost once entering The Dead City, try and keep an eye out for anything that’s evidently neon.
The good news is, every objective leading up to The Dead City is paved out before you, so you needn’t worry about getting lost during the preliminary phases. For everything else that comes after the prologue, the neon signage will serve as your primary guide.
4. Don’t Forget Your Claws
The vast majority of puzzles and secret locations in Stray are annoyingly easy to miss. And while a lot of rooms and holes will be visible to the naked eye, most of them will have one or two curtains, blinds, or shreds of wallpaper covering them up. Therefore, when it comes to progressing further into the world, the solution is, more often than not, to either scratch or claw away at something in order to dive deeper.
That brings us to our next tip: explore everywhere. As there’s no advanced UI or navigational training, chances are you’ll need to search every nook and cranny in order to find the next point of interest. If a prompt to scratch something pops up, then it’s always worth doing — even if it just to sharpen your claws and give you a short breather between tasks.
3. Brush Up on Lore
Your companion in Stray — a micro bot named B-12 — will provide you with only a shred of lore during your time in The Dead City, which will often unlock during key moments in the story. But to get a clear understanding of what happened in the events leading up to the city’s eventual downfall, you’ll need to unearth clues—snapshots, if you like, which you will find dotted all around the metropolis.
There are a total of 27 key memories to find in Stray, all of which can be unlocked after the events of Chapter 3. To flesh out the backstory and fill out all the memory nodes, you will need to examine items around each area, as well as interact with certain inhabitants. And while no two memories will ever be the same, odds are, each one will be located in either a piece of old machinery, or as part of some old street art. And so, while it isn’t a mandatory thing, digging out memories will definitely give you a much clearer idea of how the world operates in its fractured state.
2. Absorb the Atmosphere
As daunting as The Dead City sounds on paper, in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth, and that’s why you should aim to experience it is much as possible. In The Slums, for example, there are several robot NPC, few of which have backstories and abilities that anyone who darts through the story will be likely to miss. For example, there’s a budding musician tucked away in one of the back alleys of The Slums—a musically inspired solo act who wields the correct tools, but lacks the sheets and notes to produce so much as a sound.
When you’re out exploring The Slums and other populated regions in The Dead City, aim to speak to everyone you find — even if they’re asleep or preoccupied with another task. Chances are, one of these bots will either have a story to share, an item to loan, or some words of advice for your future exploits. Don’t be shy, basically, and interact with everything that comes within clawing distance.
1. Just Meow…
You’re a cat — so you ought to take full advantage of the fact by taking any opportunity you can to either scratch, purr, or meow, as triggering any of the three will often unveil certain cutscenes, dialogue, or events. That isn’t to say you should spend three straight hours meowing at every inanimate object for the sake of it, but doing so when in new and unexplored areas will definitely boost your chances of finding something.
The good news is, there aren’t a whole lot of buttons to push in Stray, so you needn’t worry about navigating hundreds of different options throughout your adventure. If you’re interested in unearthing every aspect of Stray, though, you’ll want to make full use of these few options as much as you’re able to. It’s a short game, true, but there’s also a lot to unpack — if you’re willing to go the extra mile, that is.
So, what’s your take? Do you have any useful tips for newcomers to the Stray universe? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.