Stranger Things: The Game is a mobile game released by BonusXP, based on the Stranger Things story following season 1 and before season 2.
The game loosely follows the plot of Netflix’s Stranger Things. There are two game modes: Normal and Classic. Classic is notably for more experienced gamers, and makes your death restart further back (the beginning of dungeons) and enemies respawn after completing the dungeon. You start the game as Jim Hopper, who is first thrust into the Hawkins National Laboratory.
Everything in the game can be achieved by simply tapping the world around you. You tap (or hold down) to move, you tap on objects to either attack, interact, break, speak, etc. and you tap to switch characters. The character movement is (thankfully) fast from the get go, and other characters can help with getting around quicker down the road. The gameplay and art style strongly resembles the older Legend of Zelda games.
You begin the game having only 5 hearts. Each time an enemy touches or successfully attacks you, you lose a point of health. You can regain your fallen hearts by searching random items (attacking them à la Zelda slashing) or through fallen enemies. Attacking enemies usually consists of tapping on them or using certain environmental factors to overcome the foes. At times, you can easily be overcome by a barrage of enemies. Also, while the controls are smooth, there are points in the game where navigating can become difficult when you need to move quickly around and avoid obstacles. The screen follows your movements, and your finger can block off your view as that’s what is leading your character, and make it a struggle, albeit a small one, to avoid enemies at the same time. There are few instructions, but the game is mostly intuitive. There are many puzzles that block off the next step in the adventure. While the controls are simple, there is a certain depth to overcoming the challenging and fun puzzles. You might have to figure out that you need to throw an Upside Down egg at the vine-like obstacles, or lead a bear through a maze, or figure out a way to turn off laser switches in such a manner that you can unlock the next area. There are also many labyrinthian settings that require some backtracking to successfully navigate.
As you adventure through the game, you pick up new characters along the way starting off with Lucas. Each character has their own ability that helps you defeat enemies and complete puzzles. You can also upgrade characters for better effects and stronger attacks.
There isn’t much to say here. You can buy certain items in a shop by spending coins, which are collected throughout the game and are plentiful. There aren’t advertisements. The game is completely free and devoid of any In-App purchases. What more can you want?
The game is viewed from a top-down perspective (bird’s eye view), and uses an 8 bit art style. The retro art style is very reminiscent of the 80’s action adventure games, especially the Legend of Zelda. The app employs a chiptune version of the Stranger Things soundtrack, which works great to set the game’s tone and setting. The style is perfect for the game and invokes feeling of nostalgia. The Upside Down is spooky. The only gripe about the style is that it might not be as enjoyable to a generation that has not experienced the older game style, although it can be likened to a retro pokemon game too.
Like Commitment, this game was not designed for longevity, but rather a singular playthrough, and possibly coming back to rinse and repeat in the future. If you complete it on normal mode and want more, you could try it on classic mode for an increased challenge. They updated the game on October 25th adding Max, in accordance with the introduction of season 2. It’s likely they’ll add more to the game as more seasons and characters come out, and this would be a prime time to replay the game if you wish.
It’s obvious the game was designed with thought. For what it sets out to do, it does very well. There aren’t any major flaws with the game. It might not be a game with weeks of enjoyment,, but it’s a completely free and fun game. If you enjoy mobile games and Stranger Things, there’s no reason not to try this out. The game can even stand on it’s own.