Stray has become the cult hit of the summer gaming season 2022. You play as a curious cat in a cyberpunk world, jumping from platform to platform and teasing an atmospheric story. Stray won over gamers with its creative concept and cool atmospheres. But after about six hours, the whole experience is over and there isn’t much reason to replay it.
Fortunately, Stray isn’t the only pet friendly game out there. Whether you want to experience environmental stories, explore an unsettling world, or just spend a little more time pretending to be a cat, we’ve put together a range of quirky titles that take inspiration from our furry, feathered and feathered friends. Here are 10 games to play after Stray.
Searching for cats
Cat Quest is one of those games that is exactly what it sounds like. You play as a catventurer in the fantasy realm of Felinguard, wielding a sword and a collection of magical spells, including Lightnyan and Flamepurr. While Cat Quest is a small game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s actually an open-world RPG that lets you explore colorful cities, collect powerful gear, and complete a variety of side quests. Like Stray, you can finish Cat Quest in five to 10 hours, and it has no replay value. But you can always jump into Cat Quest 2, which is the same basic premise, executed on a slightly larger scale.
Here is the dolphin
Ecco the Dolphin came out for the Sega Genesis in 1992. But thanks to digital re-releases, the game is very easy to play on modern systems. Since its debut, Ecco has been a cult classic, thanks to its unusual premise, demanding gameplay and quirky story. You take control of a playful dolphin named Ecco as he swims, jumps and occasionally surfaces for air. Early on, you’ll be exploring colorful bays and seas, battling jellyfish and jellyfish. But as the game progresses, the plot takes a hard left turn into ancient Atlantis, time travel, and Lovecraftian horror. Ecco the Dolphin is much tougher than Stray, but you’ll still be playing as a charismatic animal on a whimsical quest.
Goat Simulator is one of those games that is both incredibly easy and incredibly hard to explain. On the one hand, just read the title. Goat Simulator is a game where you play as a goat and you simulate the things a goat can do – running around, baa-ing, head butting and so on. On the other hand, the title doesn’t give away just how weird the game gets. You can get caught in a racing car with your tongue, blow up gas stations for a “Michael Bay” feat, or set yourself up as an evil ruler on a throne of skulls. Whether you love the game or hate it, you’ve probably never played anything like it.
Journey is probably the biggest stretch on this list, as it’s the only game where you don’t play as an animal. Instead, Journey casts you as some sort of shapeless humanoid figure in a red hat called the Traveler. Like Stray, the game relies on wordless storytelling and gentle platforming challenges to push you through a series of intriguing environments. The big difference is scale. The world of Journey is positively huge, from the distances you’ll cover to the creatures you’ll encounter. The game is more about atmosphere than narrative, but if you like abstract storytelling, there are still some emotional beats to connect to.
If playing as a cat is a bit too quiet for your tastes, you can always try playing as a shark. Developer Tripwire Interactive called Maneater a “sharkPG,” and that pretty much sums up everything you need to know about it. You play as a bloodthirsty bull shark who is out for revenge against a cabal of fishermen who killed her mother. You’ll start out in brackish water, bumping into catfish and fighting off barracudas. But eventually, you can transform yourself into a bioengineered killing machine, taking on great white sharks, sperm whales and other apex predators. The game is much thicker than Stray, but also much more action packed.
Night in the forest
Like Stray, Night in the Woods casts you as a cat in a mostly non-violent, linear adventure. However, if Stray is an experimental feature film, Night in the Woods is an indie hipster film. You play as Mae, a college dropout who returns to her hometown and tries to uncover the truth behind a mysterious kidnapping. While Mae and her friends are all anthropomorphic animals, the story is much more straightforward than the art style might suggest. Night in the Woods is about growing up, building relationships and coming home again – although there’s also some downright sinister stuff going on that helps give the story some action.
In Stray, you play as a cat; in Okami, you play as a wolf. I think this makes Okami a bit cooler by default. Inspired by The Legend of Zelda franchise, Okami introduces you as Amaterasu: a Shinto goddess who adopts the aspect of a white wolf to seal away a demon named Orochi. Inspired by Japanese art and mythology, Okami has a striking aesthetic and lively tone. It’s much more of a traditional video game than Stray, with plenty of enemies to fight, upgrades to collect, and puzzles to solve. But with Stray behind you and Breath of the Wild 2 ahead of you, Okami is an easy recommendation to fill the gap.
Tokyo Jungle is one of those weird PS3 franchises that developed a dedicated cult following but never really caught on with the larger gaming population. Now, gamers have a second chance to discover the game, thanks to its inclusion in the revamped PlayStation Plus lineup. Tokyo Jungle casts you as a variety of animals in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, each of which must scavenge for food, avoid predators and fight for supremacy against other animals. Part survival game, part sim, Tokyo Jungle is a strange hodgepodge of ideas – and if you have a penchant for the strange, it’s well worth a look. While you don’t play as a house cat in the main story, you do play as a lion.
Tunic isn’t so much an animal as a wanderer, as you play as an anthropomorphic fox rather than a plain old quadruped. But if you liked Stray’s minimalistic storytelling and “try and see” approach to gameplay, Tunic offers some similar features. On its surface, Tunic is simply a riff on The Legend of Zelda, right down to the protagonist’s titular green outfit. But Tunic is a little more inscrutable than the series that inspired it, featuring a made-up language that slowly starts to make more sense as you discover new gameplay mechanics. Tunic should appeal to Stray fans who don’t mind a little sword fighting.
Untitled Goose Game
“It’s a beautiful morning in the country and you’re a terrible goose.” The description of Untitled Goose Game is also, essentially, its instruction manual. In this sim/puzzle game, you take control of an unassuming white goose that terrorizes a quiet English town. In each area, you are given a list of objectives to complete – “wet the groundskeeper”, “steal the old man’s woolly hat”, “steal a glass and throw it in the drain” and so on – and you must complete them without collided (a bird?) with the townspeople. There’s also a button dedicated just to the bow, just like the meow on the Stray. The Untitled Duck Game is anarchic and weird, but it’s also surprisingly charming.