Running around the various locales found in Stray is a joyous experience. Not only is the game beautiful, with neon-infused, cyberpunk, robot-pottering vibes leaking from every loose pipe and crevice, but you get to play as a Cat. It isn’t an overstatement to say that gaming has truly peaked.
As gorgeous as Stray is, and as endearing as its protagonist(s) may be, Stray is not exactly straightforward. In fact, Stray is jam-packed with secrets and little tidbits that you probably missed on your first time through. Stray is not a big game, but it is very dense, and there’s a lot to see – even more, to overlook.
7 The Fourth Vending Machine
One of the first side activities you get in Stray is when you wander into the Slums. There is a wonderful robot known as “Barterman” who is willing to give you various collectables (all quest related) in exchange for valuable junk. The junk in question is pretty easy to find on a first run, as they tend to be on – or near – the beaten path.
Apart from one – the elusive “fourth vending machine”. This blighter is hidden in such a way that it’s almost impossible to see it from most angles. If you don’t accidentally stumble across it on your rooftop escapades, you are likely to get stumped and give up. That, or you’ll look up a guide and see how someone else accidentally found it.
6 The Midtown Safe
Midtown is one of the best locations in Stray. It’s large, vibrant and full of (artificial) life. It's full of shops, bars, businesses, and robots. It’s densely packed, and there is a lot to see and do – even if you can blitz through this area fairly quickly if you don’t take the time to explore.
One of the more missable areas in Midtown is the hidden safe that exists inside one of the many storefronts. Most of these are blocked by glass, but right at the start of Midtown, there is a place to your left you can hop into. In the back room, you’ll find a safe that you can unlock to find a hidden badge. Very sneaky,
5 Destructive Dominos
Being a troublesome tabby is one of the biggest draws to stray. Knocking over paint is basically your job, and it’s also tied to a quest in the Slums. But there are more things you can do in Stray to make people’s lives objectively worse. Knocking bottles off a bar, or trodding mess through someone's house – that kind of thing.
Most robots don’t respond when you do this, unfortunately, but there is one instance where you can ruin someone's day. In Antvillage, there are two robots playing Dominos. You can walk right past them and life goes on. Alternatively, you can break their hearts by jumping on the table and wrecking the whole thing. Their reaction is priceless.
4 Odd Clocks
Stray’s world is like a distorted shadow of the real world. The robots that inhabit the Slums and Midtown built their society off of the vague memory and idea of humanity. You’ll often find something that resembles a human thing, but it more often than not is slightly warped due to it being an imitation.
Nothing quite encapsulates this like the clocks in Stray. You don’t see many of them, and for the most part, they aren’t the focus of the game. But, robots decided to make clocks because humans had clocks, and they seem to have messed it up. You can see this most clearly when trying to break into Doc's secret room. All the clocks are 17hr clocks. Very unusual.
3 Sneaky Memories
The developers who worked on Stray are sneaky little devils. They knew what they were doing when they added collectable Memories into the game. For the most part, these are fairly easy to find. Most of them are on or near the critical path, so you’ll always get some idea of the extended story connected to B-12.
However, they got sneaky when they placed a bunch of Memories near “points of no return”. Just about every linear/non-hub chapter has its Memories placed eerily close to invisible triggers that, once crossed, can never be backtracked too. Everyone missed Memories in Stray as a result.
2 Three Point Line
Like how Stray warped what a functioning clock looks like, we are going to warp what “Completely Missed” means in the context of this article. In the Slums, there is a basketball near some steps. At the bottom of the steps, is a bucket. Headbutting the basketball into the bucket is the natural conclusion to this scenario.
It’s easier said than done, and missing this shot is fairly likely. You need to have perfect aim, the right run-up, and bop it with just enough force to get it to go where you want it to go. Because cats are not the best at basketball, we are going to assume that most people missed on their first go.
1 References Everywhere
Stray is very grounded in the world it has created. Everything makes sense when put into context, and this makes Stray a very compelling world to explore and absorb. It all makes sense – it just works.
Stray does break character from time to time, and it will drop references to pop culture, such as Skyrim. Now, where this gets interesting is when you assume Stray is not referencing anything for a cheap gag but is implying Strays' world is built on the back of our current world. It’s not a reference if this robot played Skyrim, or found evidence of Skyrim’s existence whilst rummaging.
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