Stranger Things: 1984 Review

Stranger Things: 1984 Review

It’s Dangerous To Go Alone

BonusXP initially released Stranger Things on November 30, 2017, as Stranger Things The Game, free of charge on Android devices. It is still available for download on the Google Play Store, but Netflix has revived and rebranded the game for their brand-new, in-app gaming library. So yes, therefore, while the game is technically free, you cannot play it without an active Netflix subscription. There are no additional fees, either, or in-app purchases.

The Stranger Things cast will join everyone in a loose retelling of the events depicted in the show’s scripts. While Netflix and the developers only intended the game to be a promotional piece for the show, its clean, stylized retro action adventure art style derives from a promotional piece. The bubbly, 16-bit sprites remind me of the performance of SNES games based on the Zelda series. A melodious remix of the show’s theme song greets us at the restaurant’s menu. Developers clearly have a strong affinity for the genre and style. The settings are easy to understand: enable or disable sound, reset your save, view the show’s credits. Accommodate between normal and classic difficulty. The latter is for the video game enthusiast who enjoys retro challenges. Time to jaunt back to the 1980s!

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Hopper wakes up at one thirty-five AM to a phone call that causes immense alarm. She receives a message in an immediate, letter-by-letter text informat (similar to Animal Crossing or Banjo Kazooie) from the police headquarters. It’s that unknown man and his four friends. Hopper puts down the phone and flees to his pickup truck, after which he heads to Hawkins National Laboratory.

Each of the six chapters will lead players back to or explore various locations that fans of Stranger Things will more than likely recognize. BonusXP’s development team lovingly recreated the town of Hawkins, which became a fully-explorable overworld. Major locations have become increasingly expansive dungeons. Players can switch between characters at any time without having to wait for a timer or needing to pause. The length of the game depends on how thoroughly players search for collectibles, and it ranges from six to eight hours. Enough time is available for moving slowly through the three main, colorfully laid-out displays and enjoying a fighting match without being bored of the lonely destination.

Stranger Things 1984 Netflix

Inside-Out, Upside-Down

Players control their characters by tapping the destination or dragging a finger across the screen. Getting involved with objects or adversaries happens with one touch. Game dungeons and overworld are broken up into different screens. Reaching the edge of a closed screen for a second will fade to black before the next screen fades in. Sometimes, a locked door will prevent gameplay on a nearby screen, but a compatible keycard will easily permit access to that screen. Therefore, the gameplay itself is rather simple. 

Given It’s derived from Netflix’s docu-series, it makes sense why its primary audience would be fans of the series. Aside from the straightforward controls, each character offers its own unique tools and capabilities. As an action-adventure genre, the classic game It is for this reason that you’ll find many interact withible objects scattered across the overworld and dungeons that you don’t have the correct tool or character to interact with yet. For example, one character may fit into areas that Hopper can’t. Another character can use a ranged weapon to attack or trigger distant switches.

Each dungeon also contains objects which are scattered throughout, and the player-character will comment on when tapped. There are TV sets, computers, books, and the like. For example, tap on a glowing TV as Hopper in the first chapter and Hopper will say, These buddy cop shows aren’t very realistic. They aren’t very interesting. In the middle of it all, players will find out that they know Hawkins like the back of their hand.

Hawkins Welcomes You!

Stranger Things 1984 provides a short but fun trip through Hawkins, a chance to follow up with BonusXP Stranger Things 3: The Game. Sadly, the streaming website Netflix has now, arguably, locked the game behind a paid wall of sorts, and I advise anybody who’s a fan of the meme to check into this.