Game Review | Stray Gods is Ambitious But Can’t Carry A Tune
Summerfall Studios’ upcoming game, Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical, had the gaming community buzzing with its unique premise—a choice-based musical set against a modern-day backdrop of Greek mythology. The game follows Grace, a musician accused of murdering Calliope, the last of the Greek muses. While the concept promises an intriguing blend of storytelling and music, the execution of the musical aspect leaves much to be desired.
The idea of integrating player decisions with musical compositions is intriguing. Grace, the protagonist, interacts with other characters in song, uncovering the truth as emotions escalate. This mechanic, while conceptually captivating, falls short in practice. As the characters burst into song, the narrative is devoid of the suspense that usually surrounds these moments, as the singing effectively eliminates any semblance of secrecy or subtlety.
Stray Gods stands out for its creative take on Greek mythology, portraying deities in modern settings. Persephone, the queen of the underworld, runs an underground club, while Eros dons bold leather attire. The writing, apart from the musical component, is praiseworthy. Grace’s strong character challenges the established gods’ hierarchy, making interactions engaging and meaningful.
However, the game’s dialogue and choice systems hinder its potential. Players select one of three personality traits for Grace, but these choices rarely impact her character’s overall development. While the game touts itself as a roleplaying musical, the predetermined nature of Grace’s personality leaves little room for true player agency.
The musical numbers, though promising, miss the mark. Despite boasting prominent voice actors such as Laura Bailey, Ashley Johnson, and Troy Baker, the songs lack the memorable hooks and emotional resonance typical of successful musical compositions. The music often takes a backseat to the vocals, resulting in a lackluster musical experience that fails to capture the essence of a true musical theater production.
In Stray Gods, the idea of influencing the flow of a song through dialogue decisions holds potential, but the music’s execution falls flat. The mismatch between the ambitious musical concept and its execution highlights the challenges of merging different artistic forms within a video game. While the attempt to blend roleplaying and musical theater is commendable, the nuances of crafting a compelling musical experience seem to have been underestimated.
Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical appears to promise an innovative combination of choice-driven narrative and musical elements holds immense potential. The success of this indie game could pave the way for more experimentation with integrating various art forms into interactive experiences, sparking creativity within the gaming industry.
The case of Stray Gods underscores the complexity of creating truly interactive musical games, and it will be interesting to see if future projects can strike a better balance between narrative, player agency, and musical execution. While the game’s musical misstep is evident, the core ideas and story still offer a unique gaming experience that could resonate with those who appreciate modern twists on classical mythologies. Can Stray Gods rise above its musical setbacks to deliver an engaging and harmonious adventure?