Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical review wallpaper
August 10, 2023

Sound awakens sensuality and imagination in our Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical review!

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is a sleek, sexy urban fantasy musical roleplaying extravaganza of both your dreams and mine. Is it absolutely stacked with the finest talent of both the video game and acting worlds. Will you intermingle and merge with the twilight world of faded Gods, and the nightscape of a city on edge?

If one of the descriptors for a game is “Armed with the power of spectacular musical numbers….” there’s no way I can say no.

If you have an interest in interactive, ever-changing narratives, an alt-comic book art style, and the panache of the world of musicals, then I cannot strongly recommend this game that absolutely bursts with passion, enough. It’s also available August 10th on all major platforms. Find out all about it in our Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical review!

What is Stray Gods about?

The concept of Stray Gods is this: you play as Grace, a university drop-out, purposeless and adrift in life. She is given the power of song by Calliope, a Muse and Goddess. Much to the bad luck of our hapless heroine, Calliope dies in her embrace, which has the rest of the Pantheon of immortals – The Chorus – out for the scent of blood. She has one week to prove her innocence.

The Chorus – Persephone, Apollo, Athena, and Aphrodite

As you delve into this urban fantasy world, you ricochet off of Gods and Goddesses from the Greek Pantheon, as you race to find out the truth of Calliope’s death. As is typical in a visual novel, at key moments you get to make narrative choices that influence who you trust, who you befriend, who you love, as well as who will make Julius Caesar’s assassin and betray your faith.

But what you don’t see in your typical visual novel is…fully orchestrated musical numbers by some of the best voice actors in the business?

The Cast of Stray Gods

Our 5 main cast is breathed into glorious life by a cast that spans both the acting and videogame spheres. Grace, our lost girl, is played by Laura Bailey, (known for The Last of Us 2, Fruits Basket, Critical Role). Her four romanceable options are the muscled Apollo by Troy Baker, Freddie, her mortal best friend, by Janina Gavankar, Pan, the horned goatman by Khary Payton, and Persephone by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.

Other big names include: Ashley Johnson (also of Critical Role fame) plays Calliope, Allegra Clark (Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Dragon Age: Inquisition) as Hecate. See the major cast list down above.

Backstage on Stray Gods

Stray Gods is the flagship title of a Melbourne studio called Summerfall Studios, which was first created in 2019. It was originally known by the title Chorus and was crowdfunded on The Creative Director, David Gaider, is most known for being the former Lead Writer for Dragon Age, as well as a veteran of the Bioware series.

In terms of large international talent, Stray Gods has both Troy Baker and Laura Bailey from America. Baker voices one of the main romanceable options in the game, the Lord of the Sun, Apollo, and also helms the Voice and Performance Direction for Stray Gods.

Baker is a powerhouse in the voice acting and videogame industry, having done voice work for animation, such as Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach etc, as well as video games such as The Last of Us, Final Fantasy, and Uncharted. Not to mention his involvement in Critical Role, for all the Dungeons & Dragons fans out there.

Similarly, Laura Bailey, who plays our lead Grace, is also a heavy hitter, having done voicework for a range of different animations and video games, as well as being key in Critical Role, too.

The Music of Stray Gods

The Head Composer is the Grammy-nominated Austin Wintory, of Journey and Abzu fame. In terms of talent closer to home, this includes artists like the Australian band Tripod (made up of musicians Scott Edgar, Steven Gates, and Simon Hall), as well as pop-musician Montaigne (Jessica Alyssa Cerro).

I’m a massive fan of going to the theatre. Entering that heightened world of pathos, full of colour and light, is such a rush. (Particularly partial to the ballet, but Phantom of the Opera will always have my heart.)  So when I heard that Stray Gods primary influence was the pizzazz of Broadway, it immediately piqued my interest.

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review – Story

“I just…I wish I knew where I fit. Everything I set upon ravels at my feat”

This is one of the lines Grace sings in her opening song, Adrift. She’s a 20-something with no direction in life. And when you’re stuck in that spot, it can be utterly debilitating. Feeling like you’re being squeezed tighter and tighter, with no end in sight, just despair. Anyone who’s been in Grace’s situation can deeply empathise with her.

Summerfall Studios intended to create a coming-of-age story about hope and finding oneself in a chaotic world. Grace is lost and lonely, struggling to find her place in the world. One of the taglines for the game is ‘…an epic tale of gods, magic, and a millennium-long journey to rediscover one’s purpose…’  

Using Greek myth as a jumping point for fiction has been popular for a while now in the pop culture zeitgeist, with Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief being a smash-hit for YA fiction in the 2010s (countless others have followed its wake: The Song of Achilles, Circe), 2020’s Hades for videogames, and Lore Olympus for webtoons.

Summerfall Studio’s interpretation of Greek myth is unique enough to Stray Gods seems to target an older audience, but teens can enjoy it too. The game deals with themes such as suicide ideation, depression, PTSD, trauma etc. There are lighter moments, but it is a Greek tragedy with Drama™ (and lust).

While the depictions of these themes aren’t extreme, it’s still a focal point of the game. The Gods in this game seem to also be lost, wandering through the twilight of the weight of decisions made thousands of years ago. It’s still a sexy, beautiful – alive – game, but its main themes are serious.

I (unsurprisingly) chose the hunky Apollo – shining Lord of the Sun and God of Prophecy – as my lover, on my first playthrough. You’d expect him to be, well, brilliant. But he’s sullen, weighed down by the grief of losing Calliope, and his own prophecies ensnaring him. You slowly unravel the threads that bind him, as you do with all the characters that you choose to get closer to.

You don’t have to romance the four date-able options, you can keep them as friends, or just as easily turn them into enemies, depending on the consequences of your choices. Choosing one dialogue choice might just as well alienate you from one character as it endears you to another.

It’s a Greek tragedy with Romance and Drama! Characters will play off each other like firecrackers. For example, in one scenario in the early game, you encounter Persephone – Running a nightclub. The God of Eros comments on Persophone’s ‘Underworld’: ‘The Hope. The anticipation. The connections. To me, it’s like lightning.’ 

This retelling of Persephone is no shrinking wallflower. We all know the classic story of the sweet flower girl Kore, abducted by the Lord of the Underworld, Hades, made his wife by force. Well, here Persephone slew her husband for his abuses, usurped his kingdom, and was punished for it. She’s frozen in her anger, unable to move ahead.

As the game continues on, Grace becomes a breath of fresh air for these beings so burdened by their pasts. An agent of change and hope for these stray, roving Gods. And sometimes I think that’s the only act of grace that exists in this world – friends or lovers helping you kick down that door, to push you forward.

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review – Gameplay

The music becomes the story. Grace – you, the invisible conductor – can change the lyrical tone through dialogue choices during a song sequence.

No two playthroughs of this game will be the same. There is a timer that accompanies these sequences, but it can be turned off. Of course, you have your usual dialogue wheel for regular decisions, but timed choices during song sequences are the most engaging parts of the game. You can get different story endings based on the choices you make.

You have the traits ‘Charming’, ‘Kickass’ and ‘Clever’. Essentially, you can choose what kind of personality Grace will have in certain dialogue choices. Charming is being empathetic and caring, ‘kickass’ for sassy and an in-your-face attitude, and ‘clever’ for knowledgable, more sly. What trait you pick here will inform what dialogue options you can pick.

These traits also all have different musical aspects attached to them. During a song sequence, you can pick one lyric choice to change the tone of a song. ‘Kickass’ is rock-punk with guitar, ‘Charming’ is more jazzy, and ‘Clever’ is strings. As you progress through a song you can change its tonal direction and the overarching story along with it.

For example, if you chose the ‘Kickass’ lyrics (coloured red) option during a song, Grace’s lyrics and the musical tone become more aggressive and forthright, with a guitar making its way into the instrumentals.

Grace’s power literally assists her in ‘inspiring’ others to confess their desires, their secrets. This murder mystery just got a whole lot easier to solve, am I right? You can mix and match these aspects to get a near-infinite variety of musical delight (and character insight!) from this game.

When a music sequence starts, the visual background changes according to the song. Lots of visual metaphors accompany the songs, which I loved. For example, in an apartment, Pan, a shifty God, offers Grace his ‘help’, and starts to tempt her; the room changes into a single tree surrounded by lanterns and a field of lotus flowers. This ‘scene change’ in response to the music is very Broadway, and helps with an abstract sense of immersion into the character’s internal worlds.

Similar to other point-and-click games, you can travel around the city and click on locations and items to find out more as you try to find the true murderer. I had no particular issues with the controls on PC, though I’m not sure what it’s like on other consoles. As the gameplay itself is mechanically simple, there shouldn’t be any challenges for even the more casual videogame players.

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review – Music & Audio

The musical atmosphere is intoxicating throughout. It goes from sombre ballad to jazz, to punk rock, to high-handed operatic. Stray Gods’ songs take inspiration from a variety of genres, so you’ll never be bored here. Music unlocks a rich pool of emotion, whether it’s grinding to the beat at a hot rave, or letting your imagination be swept away by a classical orchestra.

The game’s opening song, Adrift.

Some pieces of music are burned so hard into my memory that hearing the first few bars will instantly blip me back to a specific memory. Stray Gods also uses music as an emotional shortcut, so to speak. The game isn’t particularly long in playtime, so to get the audience worked up enough to care, song is the speediest way to do that – you can force your way to someone’s heart. You go through the whole gauntlet of emotions with Grace, and you truly do feel for her.

The driving force of the game, to me at least, was the sheer talent on display by the voice actors. Voice acting and being able to sing aren’t always mutually exclusive skills, but there’s nothing to worry about here, as the sheer strength of the vocals on-call here is ridiculous. The songs demand your attention. It does feel as if you’ve been dropped from real life into a fully interactive stageplay at the tips of your fingers.

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review – Presentation

Stray Gods’ visual design does feel like Melbourne. At times grungy, at times art deco, sometimes … crumbling ancient ruins? Yup, that’s Melbourne. Bold colours and bold lines catch the eye, and the fashion design ranges from mythical flowing robes, Greek togas, classy formalwear, to gothic, to alt-kink chokers and leather.

All the drip the characters wear very much caught my eye. Seriously, the visual direction is A +. If you want to play a moving, interactive alt-comic-book, similar to Gravity Rush, here you are.


This heady mix of visual novel and musical will sweep you off your feet. You love musicals? You like visual novels and dating sims? This is one of the best on the market, and its premise of Build-a-Musical during mid-song is something I’ve never seen attempted before. Utterly Fantastic.

So, why should you play Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical?

  • You were/are a theatre kid
  • You enjoy games that short, so nothing on the 100 + side of time-consuming
  • A star-studded voice cast will soothe your ears and soul

But why shouldn’t you play Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical?

  • As usual with visual novels, no complex gameplay mechanics here
  • You’re not up to playing a game with heavier themes to do with mental health
  • Musicals aren’t your jam

A review code was kindly provided by Humble Games for the purpose of our Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical review. If you enjoyed this review, check out more of our reviews and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about Stray Gods!

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