Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review

Grace and Apollo singing in Stray Gods
Grace learns about inner truths through song

Quick Info
Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
Developer: Summerfall Studios
Publisher: Humble Games
Release Date: 10 Aug 2023
Time played: 7.8 hours

Developed by a Veteran Crew

Back in 2019, Stray Gods was known by another name: it was called Chorus: An Adventure Musical and the team behind the game, Summerfall Studios, were raising funds through the now defunct crowdfunding platform, Fig. The project raised $690,079 USD and one of its backers was yours truly. The game was originally set for release for the end of 2021, but like many projects during the COVID-19 era, it was delayed and ended up being released in August this year. The game had its name changed in March 2022 to Stray Gods: A Roleplaying Musical and this coincided with the team signing up with publisher Humble Games.

There was a good reason I backed this game and a good reason it made the 10 Most Anticipated PC Games of 2021 List here on Choicest Games. I like visual novels and musicals and this game promised to take heavy inspiration from both. The team involved in its development are also people I deeply admire and respect such as David Gaider (lead writer on the Dragon Age series), Austin Wintory (composer on Journey and The Banner Saga) and Laura Bailey (prolific voice actor with credits in many video games and anime).

Screenshot of Grace deciding whether to side with Persephone or Apollo
Sometimes you'll have to make decisions that have lasting effects

It's Greek Mythology but Not as We Know It

In Stray Gods, you play the role of a young singer named Grace who feels quite lost and directionless with respect to her life. Shortly after calling it a day with respect to auditions for her band, she meets someone called Calliope and from that moment onwards, their fates are intertwined. Calliope is later murdered but not before she stumbles to your apartment and transfers her soul or essence to you, prior to her passing away. You see, Calliope is actually a Muse, part of the Greek pantheon of deities, which means Grace now assumes this role. However, you don't really have time to get accustomed to being an immortal before the "Chorus" (a group of Greek deities that run the show) accuse you of murdering Calliope and it's up to you to gather enough evidence within a week to prove your innocence and perhaps determine who actually committed the crime.

The reinterpretation of Greek mythology kept me coming back for more. Similar to the musical "Wicked" or the Telltale adventure The Wolf Among Us, Stray Gods toys with your preconceptions which keeps things fresh and exciting (actually another thing this game has in common with The Wolf Among Us is the comic book art style as well as the very purple palette).

Screenshot of choosing your trait
Choosing a trait will unlock certain conversation otpions

Screenshot of Orpheus in the Underworld
No can-can dancing to be seen

Choose Your Own Song-Venture

Gameplay-wise, Stray Gods plays a lot like a visual novel: you'll be given a choice of different locations to visit from a map screen and at each of these locations there will be characters you can talk to using conversation trees. Where Stray Gods differs is the inclusion of musical numbers. As a Muse, Grace can reveal a character's inner truths through the power of song. Choosing how the song progresses will result in different outcomes such as determining who wins an argument or even whether someone lives or dies.

You can choose how a song progresses by picking from three styles: Charming, Kickass or Clever (similar to Hawke's personality system in Dragon Age 2). You'll get an opportunity early in the game to pick your primary style and while I don't think it makes any difference during the musical segments (i.e. all options will be available to you) it does have an impact on which conversation options are unlocked during the "normal" parts of the game. This system works reasonably well and rewards replays although picking different styles during a song can be somewhat jarring at times, meaning it's probably preferable to pick one style throughout the entire piece.

In terms of the music, Austin Wintory has done an exceptional job considering the sheer number of pieces he had to compose. The songs are often humorous and insightful as you'd expect from a good musical. A particular favourite of mine is one that becomes a leitmotif for Grace and Calliope called "Adrift" (check it out below). The voice cast is also exceptional with even a couple of the actors having previous experience in musicals. Initially, the only thing I could criticise about the audio was the volume of the voiceovers as they didn't seem to be normalised. Thankfully there's been a patch since I last played the game meaning that issue has now been resolved.


While Stray Gods occasionally sounds discordant if the player happens to pick musical passages at random, you've got to at least respect the unique and innovative gameplay mechanic that enables you to experience musicals in a new medium. Even if you're not that keen on musicals though, at the very least, the game is a high quality visual novel with memorable characters, great voice acting and an interesting take on Greek mythology.

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