Stranger Things 3: The Game Review: A Great Companion to the Show If You've Got Patience

The third season of Stranger Things debuted on Netflix on July 4th, causing fans everywhere to settle in for a long binge over th holiday. However, as Netflix knows, eight hours isn't enough for a lot of folks, so the streaming giant and the folks at developer BonusXP created a video game to launch alongside the new season. Thus, Stranger Things 3: The Game was born, and fans of the beloved Netflix series are sure to have a great time with it. That is, if you've got the patience.

Stranger Things 3: The Game is an action RPG that lets you go on adventures with the characters from the series, solving puzzles throughout a pixelated Hawkins, Indiana and fighting off Russian goons and Upside Down creatures. It's a game that knows exactly what it is, and does a great job of being just that. It's pretty straightforward, and there's a lot of things for you to do. For the reasonable price of $19.99, that's everything you could ask for.

The trouble with Stranger Things 3: The Game is that its purpose and story create a bit of a frustrating paradox. The plot of the game (excluding a couple of side missions) follows the plot of the new Stranger Things season step by step. The biggest moments are the same, the character interactions are the same, even most of the dialogue is a word-for-word carbon copy of the show. If you've already watched the new season, it's very easy to get bored or exhausted playing this game because you know what's about to happen around every corner. There's nearly nothing new.

This is where the game becomes problematic. Playing the game after watching the show makes for a sometimes strenuous experience. But if you play the game before watching the show, you spoil the entire season, and you won't be nearly as invested in the characters. It's a major catch-22 situation that can quickly wear you down.

All that to say, patience is truly a virtue in this game. The further along you get in the story, while it doesn't deviate from the plot of the season at all, you're introduced to more and more side quests, puzzles, and customization challenges that provide a new experience. Once you get into these various missions and achievements, it's really easy to get invested again, so the second half of the game is a lot more engaging than the first. You just have to stay patient and get there.

As far as the mechanics and gameplay go, Stranger Things 3 is pretty flawless. I ran into a little bit of glitching when swapping out characters from time to time, but nothing that took away from the overall experience, and nothing that got in the way of what I was trying to do. There's a lot of fun to be had in figuring out which characters work best for which situations and investigating tunnels and warehouses off the beaten path.

If you've got a little bit of patience, and a lot of love for Stranger Things, it's hard to go wrong with this game. It'll bring that '80s game nostalgia you're hoping for while staying as true as possible to the hit Netflix series we all adore.

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Stranger Things 3: The Game is now available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. A Nintendo Switch review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.