There are games that come along once in a while with such a universal appeal that with a well-marketed trailer, the whole gaming Populus will be on tenterhooks waiting for said game’s release. Well, Stray, that cat game that you have undoubtedly seen going around on whatever social media you frequent, is well and truly one of those games.
Through the simple premise of allowing players to take control of a stray kitty in a dystopian world, Stray has captivated gamers across the land, had people smashing the meow button, and despite all the memes and the focus on the cat-related features, Stray doubles as a very competent action platformer. You can read my full thoughts about this excellent indie in my recent Stray PS5 review, but to summarise, I loved it, and it was a real surprise how deep and refined the experience was.
So deep, in fact, that the player may be trying to get through one of the twelve chapters on this title and hit a roadblock thanks to a tricky puzzle, a hard stealth section, or an unexplained mystery that you just can’t get your head around. Most chapters are pretty linear and straightforward, but in larger areas like The Slums and Midtown, the player may find that with so much to explore and so many things to get done, the whole experience is a little too overwhelming.
Well, worry not, my little kittens, as I will be giving you the inside scoop on what to expect when you emerge from Antvillage and arrive in Midtown. This mini-metropolis can be daunting without guidance, but with this guide, you’ll be able to zoom through this section like a crazed cat high on Catnip. Plus, if you are still hanging around The Slums scratching your head, we have a full guide for this section too! So without further delay, here is our Stray Midtown Guide; enjoy!
Midtown Story Events Guide
Okay, let’s get started. You have just arrived at the subway station, and your overall goal is to get that thing started and get to the Control Room. However, there is quite a lot to do before then. Thankfully, we have a roadmap that will keep you on course. Check it out below:
The first thing you are going to need to do is to find Momo’s contact, Clementine. If you ask around Midtown, you will learn that Clementine is considered a fugitive and is hiding from the Sentinels. However, if you ask the right folks, they will tell you that she lives in the residency area of Midtown. This can be found deeper in this area, right of the huge hologram monument. When you find it, before you head up to the top floor, you’ll want to talk to the guy with the boombox.
He won’t allow you to steal a Cassette Tape, but if you help knock off the security cameras, he will give you one, and you’ll need it later. So head up the first flight of stairs and climb onto the three security cameras found on that floor. Once all three lies on the floor, head up to Clementine on the top floor. Her apartment is one that is all boarded up and looks abandoned. However, you can hop in through a gap in the window.
This will trigger a cutscene where she will inform you that she has a contact out in Midtown that will help the player recover the Battery from inside the Power Plant in Midtown. She will give you a note to show them to let them know you are legit. Once this conversation is wrapped up, you can head out and down to the ground floor. Then on your way out, be sure to talk to the guy with the boombox and get your hard-earned Cassette Tape.
Getting Your Contact Suited and Booted
Right then, we need to find that contact. When you were asking around the down about Clem, you might have encountered him. He’s the rude guy reading a newspaper in the alley to the left of the clothes store. We won’t be going straight to meet him, though. We have to grab a few things first. You’ll want to first head to the Bar and head to the back room.
Here you will find a guy that has had one too many RAM and Cokes, but you need him up and at ’em, because you can’t access the hat store until he is back on shift. So climb up to the shelves above and paw at the crate of beer bottles until it falls on his head. He gets a rude awakening and sets off to meet his work colleague. The thing is, he doesn’t exactly hustle over there. So in the meantime, you’ll want to head to the clothes store.
Here you will find a guy manning the shop, in direct eye line with a hi-vis jacket. The very one you will need to steal. You’ll need to distract him, and thankfully you have a cassette tape loaded with loud, obnoxious music that will do just the trick. Head into the back room and put the cassette tape in the boombox. This will begin blaring music, and the shopkeeper will head back there to turn it off. While he does, nab the jacket and hightail it out of there, and head back to the Hat Store.
If you have timed this well, the drunken employee should have just had a conversation with his pal and should be ready to get back to moving a shipment into the store. The shopkeeper won’t let you in, but he will let boxes of stock in, so hop into a box and wait for the laborers to move you into the store.
Once inside, grab the Hard Hat in the store display window, and then sneak out the grating on the left by nudging a wood block to open the grating. Now that you have the items needed, head to your contact, show him your note, and then give him the clothing items he needs to sneak into the Power Plant.
When he’s all kitted out, he will ask you to hop in the box, and after some scrutiny from a worker on-site, he will have transported you inside the Power Plant. From here, your goal is simple. Find that Battery. It’s a relatively linear section where you will have to avoid the spotlights on Sentinels, use shadows cast from items on the hanging conveyor belt to sneak past stationary Sentinels, and use a barrel to shield yourself from the deadly lasers blocking the way to the room with the Battery.
Once inside, there is a simple puzzle to solve. You will need to use the Roomba-like robot platform and guide it to the left of the room. This will allow you to hop into the gated area, and when you flick the switch, this will open, meaning you have two Roombas to work with.
You’ll want to place those two platforms on the pressure plates on the left and right of the room. Then use the barrel you rolled in on to add pressure to the remaining pressure plate. This will reveal the Battery in the middle of the room. Grab this item, and alarms will start blaring, which serves as your signal to head out of this area and take the bucket zipline. This will leave you back in Midtown, near the area you first arrived. Okay, now time to tell Clementine the good news.
Returning to Clem
After the Power Plant, you will want to work your way back to the Midtown Residency area. However, when you arrive, you will find that the area is cordoned off, and Sentinels are patrolling the area. Not ideal, but we can’t let that stop us. Head through the barricade and use your best stealthy cat skills to avoid the gaze of the Sentinels on each floor.
This section can seem a little intimidating, but their movement patterns are very easy to predict. Once you head into Clementine’s apartment, you will find that she is absent, but if you check the note on the wall in the room where she shared her plan with you, you will discover that she has left a coded message for you.
To decipher this message, you will need to search the apartment and interact with certain objects. You will need to find the following items:
- Lava Lamp
- Tray (On the upper level, you need to scratch a cloth to open a drawer to climb up)
This message, when put together, will inform the player that Clementine is in the Nightclub with your Power Plant contact, Blazer. So you’ll need to sneak back through the residency area, and then head over to the Nightclub.
In Da Club
If you have made your way over to the Nightclub, you’ll probably have had a run-in with the Bouncer at the door. The bad news is that this guy won’t let you in, and he’s not up for taking a bribe either. So you’ll need to find an alternative way in. So head down the alley to the right of the Nightclub and start climbing up the trash cans and pipes near where the Cone-head Janitor is.
Follow these around, and you will eventually encounter a guy hanging out the window. Chat to him, and he will invite you in for a drink and a boogie, but no socializing for you; you’re on the clock.
Once inside, you will need to find a way to the upper level, and the only way up is by raising the panels on either side of the DJ Booth, and predictably, the one on the left that you need to use is missing a lever. Well, it turns out a punter in the Club has nicked it from the DJ, and he’s willing to trade it if you can go and fix him a strong drink.
So head to the Bar, and on the counter, you will find a Strange Drink. So grab that and give it to the clubber in return for the Lever. Then place this Lever in its slot on stage and ascend to the upper level.
When you reach this level, you will find a series of buttons that control the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, and your job here is to find a way to maneuver these to grant you a path across. The quickest way to sort this path out is by pressing the far right button, then the far left, and you should have a clear path.
Follow this path around to the room where Blazer and Clementine are. However, it turns out that it was all a setup, and when you arrive, you get zapped by sentinels, thus beginning the penultimate chapter of this game, Jail.
Midtown: All Memories
If you have been carefully collecting Memories up to this point, you will only be a handful away from completing your collection. Along with The Slums, this area offers a large chunk of the total memories on offer, so you’ll have a good bit of searching to do. However, with us guiding you, picking these up should be a cakewalk. So here is a quick Midtown memory location guide below:
#1 – You will get an unmissable core memory when you arrive in Midtown.
#2 – As you are about to exit the Subway, turn right, and you will see a little hideaway. There is a bookshelf that can be examined for a new memory
#3 – In the alley with the cone head janitor. Climb along the path near the blue neon sign
#4 – In the crawlspace in the Barber’s shop
#5 – In the crawlspace of the fast food joint
#6 – In the security room near the Power Plant. (Need to finish the Power Plant section to access this)
#7 – In the basement of the Nightclub. Take the dumbwaiter located at the Nightclub bar to get down there
Midtown: All The Badges
Alongside the memories that can be collected when you visit Midtown, there are a few badges that are up for grabs too. Now, up until this point, badges have been earned either by progressing the story, or by wandering around open areas to collect colorful flowers or Music Sheets.
Well, in Midtown, they are practically handing out badges for fun, provided you know where to look. There are three badges to be found in total, and lucky for you, we know exactly where they have been stashed. Take a look down below:
The Police Badge
To get the Police Badge, head down the alley to the right of the Clothing Store. Then once in the alley, you will find the usual array of air conditioning units and ledges you can climb. You’ll want to climb up those until you reach the top, but don’t keep following the path because it just leads to a dead end.
Instead, keep an eye out for a window with metal bars and a blue glow emanating from inside. Jump through here, and you’ll find a dead robot that can be looted for the Police Badge.
The NECO Badge
The NECO badge is an item that can only be acquired if you progress the story enough for you to get inside the Power Plant. Once inside, you will encounter an NPC who has lost his keys. Your job is to proceed further into the factory and find those.
Do this, and when you have made it through the first area with hanging items on a conveyor belt, hook right, and you’ll find the keys on the floor. Then proceed back the way you came and deliver them to the robot, who will then reward you with the NECO badge.
The Cat Badge
Then finally, we have the Cat Badge. This is a badge that is safely stored in a locked safe inside the booth near the subway where two NPCs are having a heated conversation. If you climb up the shelves in the back, you will find the safe. The solution to this puzzle is found by translating a code using the poster found on the lower level, but we are busy cats with things to do.
So for you impatient kitties out there, the code is 8542. Crack that safe open, and the Cat Badge will be yours; and if you have collected all previous badges, you just completed your collection, congrats!
Midtown: The Extra Achievements
Then before we wrap things up on our adventures in Midtown, we need to talk about all the hidden trophies and achievements that can be earned within this chapter. There are actually quite a few that can are exclusive to Midtown. So if you are one of those players that crave 100% completion, take a look down below:
First up, the player will need to make it through this entire chapter without being so much as spotted by a Sentinel, never mind being zapped by one. This means you will have to stay out of their line of sight at all times and be super stealthy. This sounds hard, but in reality, it’s a very attainable trophy.
The Power Plant is the first area you will encounter Sentinels, and their paths are very easy to read. The only stumbling block can be falling out of the shadow when moving with the conveyor belt, so don’t dawdle when walking in tandem with the hanging objects.
Then when you get to the Midtown Residency, when the police have decided to search for Clementine, you’ll need to watch the movement patterns of the robots on each floor. The bottom floor has robots that will look left to right, so just wait for them to turn their gaze, then move. On the second floor, you will want to move in as if drawing a question mark.
Up and right, then left and left again. Just watch for the robot’s movements as they will be patrolling up and down each corridor. Then on the top floor, use the beam in the middle to get past the static guard, and be aware of the patrolling Sentinel on the other side. Repeat this process on the way out again, and when you exit the Residency area, the trophy will pop.
Then the second unique achievement tied to this area is Scratch, a trophy that requires the player to scratch a record on the DJ booth when in the Nightclub. However, when you enter the Nightclub, you will find that there is no Vinyl on the deck. Well, that’s because it’s inexplicably on one of the tables near the Bar to the right of the stage.
So go and grab that in your mouth and take it up on stage, place the Vinyl, and then proceed to scratch that record. What will you call yourself? Cat-Vicii, Marshmeow, maybe Deadmeow5. The possibilities are endless!
Question: What Games Are Like Stray?
Answer: If you want an in-depth guide on what games are worth trying out if you like Stray, you will benefit from checking out my fully-fledged ‘Games Like Stray Guide.’ However, for all you eager gamers who need the info now, here are some great suggestions to try for yourself:
• Untitled Goose Game
• Endling: Extinction is Forever
• Tokyo Jungle
• Lost Embers
Question: Can The Sentinels Kill You In Stray?
Answer: Yes, in this whimsical, cat-related romp, you can be zapped and killed by robots. It’s a little dark for some younger players, and no one ever likes to see a little fur-baby in pain. However, the good news is that getting zapped is pretty easy to avoid with a mix of stealth and speed. Plus, if you do get zapped, the checkpoints are pretty generous, and you get a trophy for dying nine times, too. So it’s not all doom and gloom!
Question: What Does The Battery Do In Stray?
Answer: After Midtown wraps up and you find yourself in Jail, you may be wondering what the point of getting the Battery from the Power Plant was anyway. Well, once you break out of Jail, you will find yourself in the Midtown Subway again, and if you head down to the lowest level, there is an area where you can place the Battery. This will power the Subway and allow you to travel to the game’s final destination, The Control Room.
Go To Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200!
So if you followed this guide to the letter, you should have all the collectibles in Midtown, have all the associated trophies, and should find yourself in Jail. Not exactly the payoff you might have envisioned, but we assure you, it’s all part of the story.
Midtown is a huge, neon-soaked area, and it can be tricky to navigate. However, we hope that this guide makes everything lots easier for you. You are on the home stretch now; keep going, little feline hero! As always, thanks for reading Indie Culture Insider!