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Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review - Singing Its Praise

EDITORS' RATING : 7 / 10
Pros
  • Thrilling story with exciting and diverse characters
  • Great cast of voice actors
  • Nice balance and timing of choices
Cons
  • Songs are very hit or miss
  • Map controls can be buggy at times

A PS5 code was provided to Zaaz for this review. "Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical" will be released on August 10, 2023, for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

"Stray Gods" is an exciting new game that will have you solving a murder with "help" from Greek Gods. That is, if you choose the right story path because this is story-heavy, interactive fiction. Not only will you need to choose how to answer in certain situations, but you also have the choice in how songs are played (more on that later).

Grace is a human girl thrust into the world of Greek Gods who have been hiding away in modern society. While working to solve a murder, she is also trying to understand her new role and power. That power just happens to include music and a lot of singing. That's right, "Stray Gods" is a roleplaying musical.

What happens to Grace is in your hands. What friends will she make along the way? Will you choose to charm or to be clever? Is there a certain God that catches your eye? No matter what you decide, you are going to enjoy the ride as the story unfolds. "Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical" invites you into a magical world filled with music, strong characters, and a thrilling plot. 

Choices, choices, and more choices

There are so many choices in "Stray Gods." Even with the story taking up a good chunk of the gameplay, "Stray Gods" probably has more options available than most games in the genre. There are non-timed choices you can choose that occur during moments of conversation, as well as timed choices that take place during songs. There are also moments during the game you will have to choose between three traits: Charm, Kickass, and Clever. All of these options lead to differnt outcomes, making it easy to replay and get completely different results and songs.

Even with all of its choices and player decisions, "Stray Gods" find a great balance within the plot. Choices occur within the flow of conversation, leaving you to choose multiple things in one scene. This ability to fit choices in so easily allows you to feel more immersed while making the weighty choices.

The only thing that seems a bit off is that along with story choices, you also have the ability to search through rooms on occasion. In one situation, this makes perfect sense when choosing who to talk to at a party, but it becomes a bit overkill when looking at items in a room. While this may be a common mechanic in other games, it just didn't fit here. It is, however, fun to see all of the game's artsy details.

It's a musical

"Stray Gods" effortlessly finds its way into the niche of Greek mythology musicals. While there are times when the songs are hit or miss, the achievement of writing over 90 songs is impressive. Not only are there different songs based on your trait choices, but each song has multiple variations.

The issue is that a lot of the songs fall short lyrically. This could be the result of taking on such a big task while keeping to balance character choices. Overall, it feels less musical and more like throwing music on top of everyday conversatio, as well as just throwing in random words. Sometimes this seems to work perfectly with certain characters, but other times, it just feels forced or out of place. However, this is not enough reason to give up on the game.

"Stray Gods" might have a few issues, but overall it shines. The composure of the tunes does a great job of making the songs catchy, allowing players to hum them for days. The overall concept of how music fits into the story is also admirably crafted with how they are woven into Grace's abilities to make others sing. This makes even more sense when you realize that every character has their own kind of melody. The way music is built into the plot allows even non-musical players to get swept up in the experience.

Storytelling at its finest

One of the things that makes this game so thrilling is the variety of characters you meet along the way. Not only are they diverse, but they are well thought out. Instead of relying on easy facts most people might already know regarding Greek Gods, each character had something new to offer. For example, Persephone is well known for being Queen of the Underworld, but that isn't where her story ends or even begins. One by one, as each character crosses your path, you can't help but feel a little attached.

So attached, that is, that "Stray Gods" seems perfectly set up to branch out into a full-blown series. Besides the characters, the plot itself is well conceptualized. Everything just seemed to flow together between how characters are introduced, how information is revealed, how choices fit in, and how easy it is to fall in love. Plus, with such an amazing voice cast, at times, it feels like watching an animated series rather than playing a game.

What brings the whole concept together is the art design. With bright colors and bold lines, "Stray Gods" gives off the feeling of a beautifully drawn comic. While having a good mix of choices is great, what really makes this game so worthwhile is all the story elements coming together to create this magical world.

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