Stray Gods is developed by Summerfall Studios, based in Melbourne, Australia. A multi-format title is available for PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation.
Stray Gods hits all the right notes
Initially, my interest was low when the trailer for Stray Gods was released. I already had a backlog of other titles that I wanted to dedicate time to, thanks to several new releases. However, upon watching it, my perspective shifted completely and I found myself wanting it eagerly.
Step into an enchanting urban fantasy realm where music and adventure intertwine at every corner. Boundaries between reality and the supernatural world seamlessly merge, creating a mysterious and treacherous domain. You assume the role of Grace, who has recently inherited the gift of song from the Last Muse, just moments before her demise in Grace’s embrace. Endowed with the ability to unleash captivating musical performances, Grace must swiftly prove her innocence in connection to the untimely death of the Muse. The Chorus, a formidable group of mythical gods, stands ready to administer punishment if she fails. Will Grace succeed in unravelling the secrets surrounding the Muse’s demise and emerge victorious? Or will she meet a tragic fate at the hands of the unforgiving Chorus?
In order to explain how Stray Gods works, it is important to mention that the game falls under the visual novel genre. The storyline progresses as players make choices during dialogue, ultimately influencing the story’s outcome. Gamers are given three role-play options for Grace’s behaviour: charming, clever, or kickass. These choices unlock specific dialogue options for Grace to use when questioning the Idols. You can still pick your own path despite the unlocked dialogue. There are additional dialogue options available that allow you to engage in a romantic relationship with one of the Idols or your knowledgeable best friend Freddie, who has joined you on this mythological adventure.
It reminded me a lot about the episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer called “Once More With Feeling”. In that episode, a demon compels the residents of Sunnydale to break into song at random moments to express the hidden truth. I wouldn’t be surprised if Summerfall Studio saw this as an inspiration for Stray Gods.
They Live Among Us
Thousands of years have passed since the Greek gods were idolised. The gods now live among humans, concealing their proper form and abilities. Pulling characters from Greek mythology Grace must work to find out what truly happened her life depends on it.
In the world of Stray Gods, several Greek gods take centre stage. The esteemed Athena, Persephone, Apollo, and Aphrodite make up the Chorus. There are numerous other gods you meet along the way.
Grace uses her powers to get characters to sing in big musical numbers. It is these songs that have the potential to influence the direction of the story. Pan introduces himself to Grace right at the beginning of the story by allowing Freddie to see his horns. This is something that Athena expressly forbids so it is unsure of what Pans’ motive behind this is. Fortunately for Grace, Freddie’s knowledge of Greek mythology proves useful despite the danger it puts her in, which she seems unfazed by.
Graphics & Audio
In Stray Gods, the scenes are presented in bold colours, resembling a visual novel. The game blends 2D and 3D imagery to create a beautiful environment that highlights the characters. However, the heart of this game is its music. Renowned artists like Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory create the musical numbers, and an amazing ensemble cast brings these songs to life, making players feel like they’re truly there. Every decision made affects the storyline, allowing players to craft a unique musical experience. The voice cast includes Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, and Felicia Day, and their performances are so impressive that players may not recognize their voices.
Although some of the musicals may feel cringy, the story’s progression and investment in the characters keep players engaged. This title may divide fans, but it’s a unique game where music forms the biggest part. Rahul Kohli delivers a standout performance as Asterion, and his singing voice is perfect for a shy and clumsy serenade. The selected music is expertly tailored to perfectly align with the chosen style, and the transition between each segment is impeccably smooth, enabling a natural and effortless progression into diverse musical landscapes without interrupting the tempo.
In some segments, players may find themselves mediating an argument between two rivals, deciding who gets to state their case, or using emotional appeals to win someone over. The music feels like an evolving debate, with Grace and her partner trading verses. Players listen attentively and wait for the right moment to direct the next segment, ultimately enjoying the final product.
Stray Gods isn’t a long game, coming in at around 7 hours. It feels right for the style of the game and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It will require multiple playthroughs if you want 100% completion then you can expect to double that. I played through for a second time just to see the changes by picking different traits, although largely the same some conversations were better and it helped to fully understand the story in its entirety.
Stray Gods surpassed all of my expectations, the big musical numbers alongside its captivating story had me hooked. I am aware of several bugs that were in its original release however, I didn’t experience any in my playthrough. This could be partly due to patches that have been released since its original release. The characters are unique and fun to interact with, my personal favourite character is Asterion, the Minotaur who you can’t help but love, especially with his interactions with ‘Kate’.
This is why Stray Gods is awarded the Thumb Culture Platinum Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.