Now I’m a cat person, so when the video game “Stray” came out for the Xbox, and with an excellent introductory price I jumped at it.
And after 10 or so hours of game play I have to say that I 80% absolutely love this game – the atmosphere is terrific, the movements of the cat are totally convincing and the story line engaging with really good puzzles – not too hard but still a worthwhile challenge.
I 20% absolutely hate this game. There’s a story mechanic about these mutated garbage eating bugs called Zurgs. And they will attack you and kill you. And the only way to avoid this is to run, bash buttons to shake them off or do some fancy joystick twisting to aim a death ray at them. And all of those things I am crap at. I really, really dislike “button mashing”. That’s not what I signed up for, its hard, frustrating and even worse, the repeated deaths and re-spawns completely take me out of the game. All that time and effort the developers have taken to build that atmosphere, the environment modelling, lighting, movements and background music are totally wasted when you just die again and again, going back to the same point.
And it is so unnecessary – the puzzle solving, cat manoeuvring, exploring aspects of the game are great and all that I need. Don’t make me do repeated button mashing trick runs again and again, it doesn’t add anything, it just makes me mad! So mad I even threw my controller into the corner and all the bits fell off it!
To be fair, there does seem to a be game feature that after 9 repeated failures the challenge becomes considerably easier (lives of a cat, geddit?). Sometimes I’ve been moved directly to the end of the segment, sometimes it seems that the potency of the zurgs is much reduced. But still, those 9 failures have taken me out of the game zone and I don’t like it, need it or want!
Please leave puzzle games as puzzle games and not button mashers!