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  • Writer's pictureL. Sahara McGirt

Review: Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

Developer: Summerfall Studios Publisher: Humble Games Available On: PC (Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox I love musicals. From The Wizard of Oz to The Greatest Showman, I've enjoyed musicals for most of my life. It's an interesting storytelling medium where, much of the time, characters express their feelings and thoughts through song and dance. They're often cheesy, and it's quite silly to imagine if people expressed themselves in real life that way. I never imagined that one day I would be playing a musical video game, however.

Now That's Voice Cast

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical brings together musicals and roleplaying in a medium that surprisingly works, and it works well. With a cast of familiar voice actors showing off their singing range, players who recognize them will immediately be on board with the cheesiness of the characters singing through conflicts. The cast includes Laura Bailey, Janina Gavankar, Felicia Day, Rahul Kohli, Ashley Johnson, Erika Ishii, and more, all showing off their ability to portray emotion through song. It's a fantastic experience, and if you're a fan of any of this voice cast, you'll have favorite songs. If you aren't, you'll probably find some favorites.

Damn, now that's a voice cast.

She's Beauty, She's Graces, She's a Muse??

Taking on the role of Grace (Laura Bailey), a newly made muse, players navigate through a secret world of Idols (Greek gods) and have to solve a murder to prove Grace innocent. In this world of Idols, there is much underlying conflict, and yet, they all stick together like a broken and deeply traumatized family who have only been making each other worse as people for the past millennia. Grace is new to their world, and as she goes about investigating the aforementioned murder, she encounters Idols like Apollo, Aphrodite, Persephone, Pan, Athena, Eros, Hermes, Hecate, the Minotaur, and even Medusa, all with her human best friend Freddie beside her.

Express Yourself

All of the Idols have a chip on their shoulder or are carrying some sort of emotional baggage that has made them closed off from one another. As Grace navigates through this world of idols, she opens them up through her power to inspire them to sing through whatever it is they need to express. Strong emotional beats exist throughout some encounters as these Idols reveal what they've been carrying around, opening up to each other and working through conflict via song.

The magic in Stray Gods is that players get to choose the tone of these musical numbers through color-highlighted choices. These choices affect not only the songs' overall sound but also the scenery of the game's images and the responses from the Idols involved. Grace's responses range from a softer alternative sound to a harder rock or jazzier vocals to even rapping. Yes, Laura Bailey raps. You can check her out at around 04:36 here:

To top it all off, four different albums have been released on platforms like Spotify, Tidal, YouTube, etc., that show the different paths songs can take in Stray Gods. While the game may only 6 hours to complete, if you want to hear some of the other ways songs can take, listening to the albums is well worth the dive into. I already have some favorite paths, particularly when it comes to Persephone's Challenging the Queen and Aphrodite's The Ritual.

Who Do You Love?

Of course, part of Stray Gods' appeal as a roleplaying game is not only in befriending the gods of old but in romancing them, too. Four potential romances are available to take your pick from:

  • Freddie - Grace's longtime best friend. A mortal who has her back even through the dangers of the idols' secret world. She's nerdy, she jokes with Grace, and it's easy to tell she's dedicated to seeing Grace happy. This is the friends-to-lovers romance that is full of friendly teasing but heavy emotional beats later on as the romance is pursued.

  • Persephone - Once Queen of the Underworld, she runs a nightclub that the Idols frequent. She's got a hard chip on her shoulder because she feels slighted by the other Idols over their indifference to her previous suffering. Once through her hard exterior, she's quite protective and even soft towards Grace. Getting through that hard exterior is well worth it.

  • Apollo - For the "I can fix him" types, he's kind of got a surfer dude gone sad and pensive after some sore of traumatic event vibe to him. He's got his own host of secrets, but if you like that kind of thing, maybe you can fix him.

  • Pan - For the chaotic who like being kept on their toes. He's a trickster, so if you decide to pursue him, be ready for lots of twists and turns with him. At least you won't find him boring.

Whomever you choose or don't at all, getting to know the Idols, well, humanizes them. You can also choose not to pursue any romance whatsoever. It's your game.

Bless me, Lady Aphrodite, so I pick the right option.

In Conclusion

As much praise as I am heaping on this game, I will note that Stray Gods does not seem to have been well-optimized for console as there are points where the game would bug, and I couldn't move choices around with the control stick, and the game did crash on me at least 3 times on Xbox Series X. The sound-mixing was also not on point in some parts. Stray Gods relies heavily on sound as part of the game so you'd think the sound-mixing would be better.

If you're looking for a quick bite of a game while getting some good tunes and listening to some amazing voice talent show off their skill via song, I highly recommend checking out Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical. Whether you're a theatre kid or just the casual gamer who wants to check out something different than the games we normally get. I hope we eventually see something like this again.

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