Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review – Musings on Mythology


It’s a tale as old as time. A young misfit who has yet to find their place in the world and longing for something more suddenly finds themselves mixed up in a magical world of Gods and monsters. This story belongs to Grace, and the stage is set for Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical. It’s time to take your seats for this mysterious and magical mystery visual novel game published by Humble Games and developed by Summerfall Studios.

The curtain raises on Grace, who is uppercase Sad, and her band holding auditions. What role are they auditioning for? They don’t know. They are simply looking for something new and exciting. When Grace is left alone in the space, the exciting new thing finds her in the form of Calliope. It also serves as the first musical number of the game. Once alone, Grace sings about feeling adrift at sea, and on hearing her, Calliope enters the room.

Stray Gods Grace is a-mused
Image Credit: Humble Games.

Grace presumes Calliope is there to audition. Calliope takes the stage, and the two perform a duet, with Grace spontaneously joining in and finishing her previous song. What just happened? How did Grace know to join in and what to sing? Unfortunately for Grace, she will get those answers from Calliope, but not how she wanted. After Grace returns home, a mortally wounded Calliope appears at her door. She apologizes, saying this isn’t how she wanted to do this before taking her last breath. Then a weird golden ball of light rises out of her and enters Grace. Oh, dear. This is clearly about to get even more complicated.

Stray Gods Balances Myths, Narrative, and Musical Numbers

Suddenly Grace finds herself in a world where the pantheon of Greek Gods, now known as Idols, is real, and they are now accusing her of murdering Calliope, who it turns out was the last remaining Muse from myth. The glowing light that entered Grace was Calliopes’ eidolon, essentially a soul, making Grace the new Muse. The Chorus, composed of Athena, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Persephone, decrees that she has one week to prove that she didn’t kill Calliope and steal her eidolon to usurp her.

Stray Gods Calliope's Crescendo
Image Credit: Humble Games.

As is plain to see from the fact that the setup for Stray Gods required 300 words, it is a narrative-rich experience. Once the players are established, and the danger set up, it’s time for Grace to find a way to clear her name, bring justice to Calliope, and maybe get some hot Greek God/Goddess action. So, just how exactly does a musical roleplaying game work?

As a Muse, Grace can inspire, empower and elicit things from people through song. A convenient ability considering she now has to get the truth from a bunch of eons-old Idols, some of whom really do not like her. When Grace influences people to sing, she creates a magical world through the song, complete with set pieces, locations, and other people. Throughout the course of the songs, there will be choices for Grace to make that will influence the next verse and the inevitable outcome.

The musical elements are exceptionally well structured and performed. The game developers have done an excellent job recreating the look and feel of both stage and screen musicals. A little-known fact about me is that I love musicals. Two of my favorite films are musicals, Repo the Genetic Opera and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Back home in England, I saw Wicked in the West End almost 20 times with various casts. I know a good musical when I see one, and Stray Gods is a GREAT musical.

Stray Gods Persephone Path
Image Credit: Humble Games.

The songs aren’t simply shoehorned in, which is a common problem with genre mashups. They make sense within the story and the realms of the characters we know. Grace’s newfound Musedom means that these musical numbers are the only way she is likely to get any truth out of a secretive and unwelcoming (mostly) group that doesn’t like outsiders. The cast handles the tunes with strength, cadence, and feeling. Speaking of the cast, it is stacked.

Stray Gods Features An Impressive Voice Cast

Playing Grace is Laura Bailey (Critical Role, Street Fighter franchise). Apollo is voiced by ubiquitous voice actor Troy Baker who you will know from everything. Calliope is voiced by Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us, Critical Role.) Janina Gavankar (God of War: Ragnarok, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, and Horizon Zero Dawn) voices Freddie, and Persephone is voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Vampire Hunter D, multiple Resident Evil games, and Diablo IV.)

Also in the cast are Felicia Day as Athena, Khary Payton as Pan, Merle Dandridge as Aphrodite, and everyone’s favorite Rent Star Anthony Rapp as Orpheus. My personal favorite, however, was Rahul Kohli as The Minotaur. You will know Rahul from many Mike Flanagan projects and iZombie. Not only is he one of my favorite actors, but he has now played a Minotaur that says “bellend.” Incredible writing.

Stray Gods Reliquary
Image Credit: Humble Games.

While here, it would be an injustice not to talk about the writing. At the helm of the game is David Gaider, former lead writer of the Dragon Age series. Dragon Age is one of the best game series of all time, in my opinion, and features excellent writing and narrative paths. This expertise from Gaider transfers to Stray Gods, with the nuanced characters and humor coming through.

Once the game starts fully, you can choose one trait from Grace that will influence dialog options and insights. They boil down to charisma (green), strength (red), and intelligence (blue). I chose charisma because I have validation-seeking issues. While during songs, you can choose color options other than your chosen trait, during conversations and investigations, you won’t. Depending on your relationship with the characters, you can also select the flirty/romance option.

Initially, I stuck with Apollo because he is also Uppercase Sad, having clearly loved Calliope. However, as a reformed womanizing jock, he was a bit vanilla. Cue Persephone, who is very angry, killed Hades and has previously started a cult in her own name and been an organized crime boss. I choose you, tall angry lady! This decision was also influenced by the fact that she is one of my favorite figures from Greek mythology.

Stray Gods Persephone
Image Credit: Humble Games.

This brings me to whether or not you can enjoy Stray Gods if you aren’t super familiar with the basis of the myths. I love mythology, especially Greek, Egyptian, and Norse, so the characters and their originating mythology aren’t new to me. If it is new to you? Don’t worry! The game does a good job of giving overviews of who everyone is and what they are Gods and Goddesses of. Much of this knowledge comes from Grace’s best friend, Freddie, who insists on tagging along on all of Grace’s dangerous adventures.

On your first playthrough, it can feel like your choices don’t have as much impact as they should, but that is due to the narrative design. It all flows so well, no matter what you choose, that you may think the outcomes are set in stone. Have no fear; Medusa hasn’t leveled her gaze at the story. Your next playthrough will be different if you make different choices.

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is a seamless blend of past and present, myth and reality, and mystery and musical. Plus, a Minotaur says “bellend.”


Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.


Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical Review – Musings on Mythology
By combinging the backdrop of Greek mythology with a strong narrative, impressive voice acting, and memorable musical numbers, Stray Gods makes a strong case to be one of the best games of the year.
Pitch-perfect musical numbers
A new and interesting take on Greek mythology
Involving story
Empathetic characters
Excellent voice cast.
The Minotaur could have said more British swear words.
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Written by Emma Oakman

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