You’ll need these nine tips in our Stray beginners guide because while any seasoned traveller will tell you that the best way to explore a city is to get lost in it, you’ll quickly find this isn’t always the best course of action when you’re a cat in a world full of robots. The Walled City is a ramshackle cyberpunk maze teeming with secrets and side quests that can be easily overlooked as a four-legged feline. It’s also not without its dangers, and you’ll find yourself going from harmless mischief-making to fleeing for your life in mere moments.
That being said, our Stray guide for beginners has you covered with top tips to ensure you navigate the darker corners of the Walled City with ease, as well as some advice when it comes to hunting down the many collectibles scattered throughout this action-adventure game.
Meow to progress and distract enemies
If you’re stuck, don’t be afraid to call for help – literally. Early in the game, your meow causes the electrical grid to short briefly: a string of lights will flash in the direction you should be going and a neon arrow will briefly flicker. You’ll even hear its electric crackle, so you can always find a helpful hint no matter where it is in the environment.
Once you’ve found B-12, you can ask them for guidance if you’re unsure about your current objective. However, meowing still comes in handy by drawing the attention of the Walled City’s more militant inhabitants, leaving you free to slip past guarded entrances. Most importantly, it’s also very cute.
Look for signs to find secrets
Stray’s environment is teeming with clues about where you have to go next. Keep an eye out for neon lights and signs with arrows in particular. Even if they’re not on your direct route, it’s likely they will lead you to something of interest.
The stray and B-12 will notice important items
The Walled City is overflowing with junk, so it’s easy to miss important objects. Thankfully, B-12’s backpack will light up when you’re near something they can interact with, such as initiating dialogue or hacking terminals. The eponymous stray will also look at points of interest and key items in the environment, so it’s always worthwhile investigating what’s grabbing his attention.
Use the city’s verticality to find collectibles
The joy of playing as Stray’s wandering protagonist is that it gives you the freedom to traverse ledges and reach new heights. If you stay on the ground your whole playthrough, you’re guaranteed to overlook key items, characters and collectibles. You’ll also miss out on some stunning views of the Walled City from above. Let’s be honest, curiosity never really killed the cat…right?
Talk to everyone you can to find clues and hints
Stray doesn’t include quest markers or a logbook, so if you’re planning on fulfilling every request in the game you’re going to have to hunt them down yourself by speaking to everyone you can. Even if the cybernetic citizen in question doesn’t require your assistance, more often than not they’ll give you some clue as to the whereabouts of particular characters or how to access blocked areas. Don’t forget that you can also show items you’re carrying and hear what they have to say.
Sharpen your claws to uncover hidden areas
In Stray, the world is your scratching post. No pesky humans will scold you from going to town on an antique rug, but the ability to mark your territory doesn’t only exist to add a little more feline flavour – it actually has real utility. Clawing at a curtain will often pull it down, revealing a handy shortcut or access to an entirely new area, and pawing at a closed door will sometimes cause the robotic resident within to open it, allowing you inside.
Interact with every vending machine for currency
Take care to interact with every vending machine you come across in the Slums, and not just because of how authentically animated the plucky feline protagonist is. Energy drinks serve as currency to the robot population, and overlooking the vending machines will cause you to lose out on trading with the Barterman later down the line.
Survive the Zurks by planning your route
If you’re about to enter an area swarming with Zurks, take a moment to look around and find your objective before jumping down. Mapping out your route beforehand will allow you to easily outmanoeuvre the pesky critters while ensuring you don’t end up running into a dead end.
While you may not be able to go toe-to-toe with the Zurks, you make up for it with speed and agility. For a start, Zurks have a much wider turning circle than you, so use that to your advantage. In order to evade them while trapped, try your best to position yourself so they’ll all bunch up as they pursue you. One large group of them is much easier to manage – especially once you receive the Defluxor.
Don’t explore too far ahead or you could get locked out of areas
Stray encourages you to stretch your legs and explore, but it is possible to explore too far. Each chapter of the game takes place within a different area, and if you’re not careful you might stumble upon the next area prematurely and find yourself locked out from where you came. Ensure that you’ve completed all outstanding requests and puzzles before drifting too far out of bounds – otherwise, you’ll have to restart the chapter all over again in order to complete them.
We hope that these Stray tips will serve you well as you navigate the many twists and turns of the Walled City. If you’re yet to see the world from a cat’s-eye view, be sure to check out our Stray review and appraise yourself of the Stray system requirements before taking the plunge.