Summerfall Studios’ Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is among the most original video games of the yr. Making a musical is already a colossal enterprise. However turning one into interactive artwork altered by participant alternative? Much more daunting. Whereas it doesn’t come collectively as easily as one might hope, there’s sufficient promise and payoff to make this a profitable experiment.
Nonetheless, Stray Gods doesn’t make a very robust first impression. Regardless of some nice character design and artwork, the dearth of precise animation makes exchanges awkward as characters simply soar from expression to expression. It’s caught in an uncomfortable place, the place there are much more transitions than a normal visible novel, nevertheless it by no means seems to be really fluid. Lack of conventional animation isn’t all the time a foul factor — The Way of the Househusband used a ton of fashion to show its restricted animation right into a energy somewhat than a weak spot — however this turns into an annoyance you get used to somewhat than an enthralling quirk.
Issues get higher as soon as the story kicks into excessive gear. The story mixes Greek gods with a contemporary setting — akin to Fables/The Wolf of Amongst Us — and has a compelling homicide thriller at its coronary heart. On high of that, there are a big selection of musical numbers and a solid that options among the greatest voice actors round. There’s genuinely so much to love right here when you make it previous the offputting lack of animation.
The thought of an interactive musical is kind of bold and is value celebrating, even when it doesn’t all completely work in addition to you hoped. The music consists by Austin Wintory of Journey fame (the PS3 sport, not the “Don’t Stop Believing” band) and lives as much as his excessive customary. The vocal performances additionally impress, with Laura Bailey displaying that she has an outstanding singing voice. All the opposite expertise can carry a tune as properly — Khary Payton’s Pan and Troy Baker’s Apollo are two specific highlights.
Nonetheless, the songs don’t absolutely come collectively. The lyrics are high-quality and get the character’s feelings and factors throughout, however they’re not all that catchy or poignant. The world and what characters need to say in Stray Gods’ regular conversations are way more attention-grabbing than what’s sung. It additionally doesn’t assist that the songs can really feel fairly disjointed musically because of the interactive aspect. Gamers can select the tone for various sections of a music, which doesn’t all the time gel.
When not singing, the sport is a reasonably primary visible novel with some gentle journey sport parts. You’ll decide areas to go to as you examine a homicide, select parts to examine, and who to speak to. The world-building might be the strongest side of the sport itself, with the historical past between characters feeling fairly fleshed out. It’s additionally simply enjoyable to see these larger-than-life mythological figures in modern-day settings.
There’s additionally quite a lot of replay worth right here, because the participant’s decisions influence each the story and the songs. Sure dialogue choices are locked behind no matter trait you select early on. There are romance choices to discover, and the character dynamics at play are genuinely attention-grabbing. With a lot that may change in a run, I wish to see how in another way the thriller can play out. Stray Gods is certainly a sport I’ll wind up giving one other playthrough or two in consequence.
Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review: The remaining verdict
Humble Video games’ newest providing is a very attention-grabbing inventive experiment. Whereas it didn’t go away me considering that roleplaying musicals would be the wave of the longer term, I’m glad Summerfall Studios went for such a wild thought. The finish result’s uneven but nonetheless fairly pleasurable. A compelling thriller is bolstered because of some nice music and powerful performances by its solid. It’s a disgrace that the animation and songwriting can’t match the standard of the opposite parts, however Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical remains to be properly value trying out.
Nice artwork and an attention-grabbing world
Austin Wintory’s music is beautiful
Numerous ambition and nice performances
The lack of animation is jarring at first
Lyrics do not all the time dwell as much as the music
Songs can really feel disjointed
Disclaimer: Our Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical evaluate relies on a PS5 copy offered by the writer. Reviewed on model 1.001.000.