Stranger Things: The Game offers the perfect amount of nostalgia [Game of the Week]

With the critically acclaimed Netflix series Stranger Things finally launching its second season, I think now is the perfect time to delve into Stranger Things: The Game.

Stranger Things: The Game — available on both Android and iOS — is a nostalgic video game take on the popular Stranger Things series.

First off, the top-down action-adventure game features classic pixel art that’s reminiscent of older Pokémon and Legend of Zelda titles. The game also uses retro-themed sounds and music, adding even more nostalgia to the experience. Taking things a step further, Stranger Things: The Game even features a game cartridge as its icon.

Players start as Chief Hopper exploring Hawkins Lab looking for the missing boys. Though the game shares some similarities with the show, there are differences as well. For example, in the first chapter Lucas fights an evil scientist.

The game also features a variety of puzzles that require the help of specific characters — Lucas’ long range slingshot or Nancy’s ability to destroy breakable objects. As the game moves along, you’ll encounter familiar characters from the series that join your team. At specific points during gameplay, you’ll notice pathways that you’ll need to make note of; for example little sewer tunnels that only a certain little character can surpass, or a fallen tree that’s in the way and requires a strong hit from a baseball bat to get past.

Each character features with their own moves and special abilities, such as one being able to charge up punches at full health, while another causes enemies to drop hearts quicker. Moving your character requires taping on the display, indicating where you want the avatar to navigate to — similarly, attacking requires the same tapping process.

Personally without choosing the more difficult ‘Classic Offering’ difficulty setting, I found Stranger Things: The Game quite challenging. In terms of the puzzles and enemies, I’d even go so far as to say that the experience can even be a bit punishing at time, though your skills will improve the more time you spend with the game; such as avoiding standing between a bear and its honey.

Stranger Things: The Game isn’t exactly like the show but the creative liberties it takes can be amusing at times. The game also lets users find Joyce Byer’s keys and takes place between the show’s first and second seasons, which means Barb is still dead.

Stranger Things: The Game is available for free on iOS and Android.

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