Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical on PC
Just when I thought I had seen it all for choice-based games, Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical changes the classic dynamic with its unique harmonious twist, taking on the role of a decision-maker and lyricist. Instead of the standard choices you may be used to, you’ll control the story’s outcomes through the powers of singing, where the characters will express themselves through multiple musical numbers.
Many of the recent choice-based I’ve been playing have been centered around gods in some shape or form, including Harmony: The Fall of Reverie and Love Shore. However, since the story derives from Greek mythology, it is much easier to comprehend, with notable figures like Apollo, Eros, and Athena. Players will take on the role of Grace, who has recently gained the melodic powers of the Muse after being framed for the death of its previous holder.
While Grace deals with her new abilities, she must uncover the truth behind the previous Muse’s demise, or else she will end up meeting the same fate due to the rules set by the gods. Fortunately, your voice can persuade others to help you with this endeavor, often leading to a battle in song. Your choices here will be presented as lyrics, and you’ll need to choose them fast before the timer runs out.
As someone who isn’t necessarily a musical expert, I was impressed with how well the melodic scenes play out, especially since the voice cast is exceptionally talented with their singing. On top of that, any lyric you choose never seems out of place, almost as if they were written that way. It’s also pleasing to see a change in the standardized decisions, making it more engaging and entertaining through its witty lines and upbeat tunes.
Characters will often break out in song when they encounter a dilemma or feel an intense emotion, in true musical fashion. For example, when you want to side with a particular character, you must sing in their favor, but it can negatively affect the bond you share with the others around you. But if you decide to change your mind, you may get the chance at another pathway later down the line. Sometimes, I wish these choices were a bit more impactful to the narrative to make it feel more meaningful.
Several gods will help you throughout your journey, and it’s up to you to choose which individuals can be trusted. While you may expect them to have an antiquated style, they actually have a more modern look to match the times. I wouldn’t be surprised to see players thirsting over these characters, given that they all could be on the front cover of magazines with their devilishly good looks and fashion expertise.
Not to mention that everyone in the voice cast is well-known for their talents on other famous projects, with the frontwoman Laura Bailey (The Last of Us: Part 2, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Fruits Baskets) as Grace and Troy Baker (Bioshock Infinite, Uncharted 4, the Last of Us series) as Apollo. Many of them are a part of the hit show Critical Role (recurring members or guests), like Ashley Johnson, Felicia Day, and Khary Payton. So, if you’re a fan of the series, you can look forward to their work in Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical.
Aside from the gods, you’ll encounter regular humans, primarily focusing on your relationship with your loyal friend Freddie. I enjoyed building up their companionship, as their conversations feel more natural and genuine compared to past dialogue interactions I’ve seen. The rest of the cast also blends well with the main protagonist’s journey, giving us insight into the mystical side of the world.
You’ll have the option to romance a character, whether they are a mortal or a god. And, considering that there are four potential love interests, players will have more than enough time to meet the one they desire most. Of course, these choices will alter Grace’s storyline as she opens herself up to love, unlocking a different ending each time.
Players can still anticipate classic decision-making mechanics when having a leisurely discussion with a character, so they don’t always have to make a fast selection throughout the story. These opportunities are an excellent time to collect clues to the murder and learn knowledge about Greek mythology. Thus, Stray Gods can be a perfect learning tool for those who want to know more about these gods, but it does include its own narrative spin when it comes to the murder plot line.
The art style is also mesmerizing to watch due to the finely detailed scenery and comic book-like design of the characters. Along with the music, the storyline continues to come to life with all of these elements combined, where Stray Gods truly makes you feel like you are in the front row of a musical.
If you love video games and musicals, then you should march to the beat of Stray Gods to immerse yourself in this canorous world filled with mystical elements. Even players who want something different in choice-based games can change the tune through the unique lyric mechanics. I could definitely see more musicals within the industry in the future, and maybe games like Stray Gods and Hi-Fi Rush could help open the door a bit more.
Talented voice cast.
Unique spin on choice-based games.
An immersive comic-book styled world.
Needs more impactful decisions.
Certain intervals lack gameplay.
August 10, 2023
PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch
Copy provided by Publisher