• Developer – BonusXP
  • Publisher – BonusXP
  • Platforms – PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Price – $19.99
  • Reviewed on – Nintendo Switch
  • Review code provided – Yes

If the title was not clear enough, spoilers ahead for the whole series. I will not ruin anything totally huge, but if you have seen it you can read the review without a care.

With recent licensed games often ending up being cash grab poorly made mobile games it’s good to see that BonusXP opted to make a full game for consoles and PC. Stranger Things 3 might seem similar to the snes classic Zombie Ate My Neighbours but, aside from the top down view and the pixel art style of the two they are miles apart. Taking a more adventurous mission based approach that starts to degrade over time till it becomes a bit of a chore to play.

In this top down action-adventure game you can play as 12 of the series’ characters from Eleven, Mike, Will, Luke and Duston to even the adults Hopper and Joyce. Each of them have their very own skills to unlock hidden areas and way of attacking along with a special move. You unlock them as you go along in the story by doing the main story missions and side missions. You’ll make your way through the game’s 8 chapters each based on the 3rd season of the show 8 episodes. One of the surprising features is the crafting system that is used to make equipment that boost your speed, strength, health and special abilities to make your team stronger as you go along. The movement speed of the characters makes the repetitive nature of each mission more drawn out then it needs to be. You can increase movement speed with equipment, using up a valuable slot that can be used for more health or attack power. The game’s combat is very simple. There are projectile and melee characters and both are able to block, when done at the right time it gives then a very small attack boost that doesn’t work as well as it should. Enemies can be weak or immune to different elements like chemical, fire or electric. Bosses will be your real challenge in the game, besides being huge damage sponges they all have various gimmicks you need to learn to overcome them.

Each of the games locations are full of enemies, collectibles and secrets, certain paths need the use of a character’s special skills. Hacking panels, cutting padlocks and crawling through small vents can lead to secret areas where you can find equipment, crafting items and money for items. Another collectable are the Gnomes scattered across Hopkins which unlocks a series of chests that contain more items to further carry you through the game.

The Story follows the show’s 3rd season, the dialogue is presented via text boxes as to keep the retro feel. If you have not watched the first 2 seasons you’ll find yourself a bit lost with the characters and relationships but the story is self contained enough to enjoy without seeing all of the show. Since you have full choice of who you have on your team you can include characters in situations they don’t appear in which kinda takes you out of enjoying some parts of the game. For example having Mike and El side by side when they are meant to be apart during the episode or having Hopper look for Will’s D&D books whilst he’s busy getting info from a russain scientist. Lots of liberties were made in order to make the show’s story work in a game such as battling a random old woman in her home or chasing a russian assassin while fighting a mob of enemies in what’s meant to be abandoned building. I’m sure this game was not trying to be story driven but with a series like Stranger Things it could have benefited more with no story at all since the die hard fans would already know what’s going on. 

The game’s very slow pace, repetitive missions, dull indoor locations, weird story quirks and simple combat keep it from being an excellent game. A huge shame as I’ve always wanted to explore the world of Stranger Things and yes you get to do that here but once you have your fill you are left with a boring experience that loses it initial appeal as the game goes on to the point where you don’t wanna play anymore. Even if you are a fan of the show like I am you’ll be let down by the whole thing and if you aren’t it’s just an overall boring experience you’re better off skipping. With the amazing pixel art and so so soundtrack it’s a shame that this turned out not to be as great as many wanted it to be.

4/10

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