Gaming Review, Genres, PC Game

STAY – PC Preview

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Can you save a life?

Game Info: (Box Display)

  • System: PC, Xbox One
  • Publisher: PQube Limited
  • Developer: Appnormals Team
  • Release Date: Mar 30, 2018

Who it Caters to

Are you a fan of narrative based indie titles? Are games that leave you making choices that affect the story your cup of tea? Then you’re going to love STAY. This indie adventure title will appeal to gamers who live off deep narrative with mysteries behind every phrase and action within. STAY asks a question very few games are willing to ask the player. Can you save the life of a stranger?

What to Expect

STAY is an interactive adventure game where players choose from different dialogue choices to drive the story in branching routes. Each choice affects the character’s “friend” and will change his mood and actions accordingly. Be kind and trustworthy and your “friend” will respond with trust. However, be too aggressive or unkind and he will counter your comments. Choices matter in STAY and making the wrongs ones might lead to a grisly death…
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Story

STAY tells the story of Quinn, a young man who has found himself in a dire and desperate situation. Apparently kidnapped, Quinn finds himself in a strange location with only a computer in front of him. Logging in Quinn soon discovers you, a nameless person who seems to be Quinn’s only link to the outside world. Guide Quinn and try to keep him sane and alive by talking to him and solving various puzzles. Depending on how you act and the choices you make will ultimately guide Quinn to freedom or a fast death. A life is in your hands in STAY.

Gameplay

Here at Honey’s Anime, we’re used to getting strange games to review. Developer Appnormals Team did just that when they graciously gave us a preview build of an upcoming adventure title called STAY. When we began STAY our thoughts were a mixture of intrigued and wonderment and that feeling didn’t change as we played. After reaching the end of the preview build, we think we have enough to tell you about this unique title in our preview of STAY for the PC. STAY is a pretty easy game to play and manipulate. Players assume the role of a random person talking to a recently kidnapped man named Quinn. Using a computer, Quinn talks to you and asks your advice for various situations going on both physically and mentally. It is here where players input choices that lead Quinn to respond in numerous ways. This is also where STAY shows signs of being quite an interesting adventure title to say the least. Unlike many narrative titles—and we mean that when we say it—STAY uses a slew of systems that the player will come to understand as time goes on. Quinn is an emotionally driven man and actions will drive his reactions and choices. On the left of the screen, you will see a slew of various systems. One of these is a status screen and the other is Quinn’s face via a webcam. Choices matter in STAY by affecting not only the multiple ending paths—many of which are dead ends—but also how Quinn responds. Choose harsh comments or rude remarks and Quinn will forgo trusting you and might even be hostile which in turn will make him not want to trust you. However, be kind and helpful to Quinn and you will see him react by taking your advice without hesitation and even reveal his dark past with you. We don’t know how every choice will affect STAY’s multiple endings—which apparently there will be seven scattered across 24 chapters—but we do know that half the fun of STAY is seeing what works and what doesn’t. This is also easily accomplished by having a system that, upon a dead end path appearing, players can simply rewind time via a chapter select input. There are also plenty of puzzles to be solved in STAY. The puzzles we had in the preview weren’t too difficult ranging from rearranging books to form a pattern and fixing a fluorescent bulb but they did add some depth to STAY. We can only hope that later puzzles will be even more complex but even with the simple ones available, STAY was still a lot of fun. Maybe we will see some truly tough puzzles in the final build of STAY. We can only hope as we here at Honey’s Anime always love getting our minds active with tough puzzles…as long as they aren’t extremely tough or unexplainable. Graphically, STAY isn’t anything too impressive but it works for what it is. The simple designs remind us here at Honey’s Anime HQ of older point and click titles but with a bit more detail. Though the strength of STAY comes in not the art but the ambiance and sound. The typing noises of Quinn responding to you and the eerie music make every moment in STAY stand out. Even some of the death scenes—which we only saw a handful of—have impact with explosive noises or creepy tones. Needless to say, STAY’s recommendation of playing alone with the lights out and wearing headphones is something you definitely do. Now we don’t have many complaints with STAY, but we do have one issue and that’s in the form of the status screen. As we mentioned earlier, we are quite aware that Quinn’s emotional mindset is what affects his reactions and you can see this with a detailed status screen but a lot of these elements seem a bit hard to understand. Will having Quinn’s various stats like Sanguine and Phlegmatic—don’t feel bad if you need to look up some of these words—higher mean something near the end or how much do they affect Quinn’s mood. We don’t quite know to be honest but maybe the point of these status elements is to just be more precise with Quinn and make STAY seem a bit more complex.
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Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

STAY is one of those games that leaves you wanting more and more. What will happen if you choose this option or what will happen if you mess up? These are the elements that made our time with STAY engrossing and truly immersed. The feeling of keeping a person you don’t know alive and trying to help them is something very few games do as well as STAY. The preview for STAY only gave us a partial look at the game with several deaths that could be obtained and only one path to succeed. STAY will apparently be releasing in March and all we can say is that we are extremely excited to get our hands on the final product and so should you. Make sure to mark your calendars folks, STAY seems to be a promising indie adventure title worthy of your time.

Honey's Pros:

  • Engrossing story and narrative
  • Unique choices with tons of branching consequences
  • Simple but fun puzzles
  • Ambiance will keep you glued to your chair, especially with headphones on
  • Multiple endings leave us craving for what can happen next

Honey's Cons:

  • Some mechanics aren’t fully explained well
  • Subject material might be disturbing to some

Honey's Final Verdict:

We here at Honey’s Anime might have only gotten a preview of STAY but we’re so excited for the final version coming in March. The narrative, themes and story really had us hooked from beginning to end and we can only wonder what else STAY has in store for those who buy the completed title. STAY might have some rather creepy subject matter which might not appeal to all but if you love mystery games with a twist unlike many other titles, then we think STAY might appeal to you like it did for us. If we get a full version to review for STAY we will indeed bring you guys and girls a full review with our thoughts. Till then folks, for all your gaming previews and reviews be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime.
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