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Stranger Things 3: The Game launches July 4 and plays like an SNES game

Stranger Things 3: The Game could be a fun companion for the Netflix’s shows new season

Stranger Things 3: The Game - 4th of July key art BonusXP
Chris Plante co-founded Polygon in 2012 and is now editor-in-chief. He co-hosts The Besties, is a board member of the Frida Cinema, and created NYU’s first games journalism course.

Stranger Things 3: The Game will launch alongside season 3’s Netflix premiere on July 4. According to its creators, the game will follow the events of the show’s third season and star 12 playable characters — a few of whom are new to this season.

We had a chance to play the retro-style game on Nintendo Switch this week during Nintendo’s indie game event at the 2019 Game Developers Conference. Visually speaking, its pixelated isometric world resembles 16-bit classics like Zombies Ate My Neighbors. But its creators say the game’s design borrows more from the classic Sierra adventure and exploration games of the 1990s, which prioritize storytelling and puzzle-solving above combat.

The game features local split-screen co-op, but no online play. It can also be played solo. The player navigates familiar Stranger Things environments, like moody woods and sterile laboratories, solving environmental puzzles and fighting baddies. Each character has a unique combat ability. As new characters are unlocked, the player can switch between the roster in real-time.

In the demo, we played as Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper. Joyce can spin around like a tornado, breaking boxes and stunning enemies. Jim bullrushes, clearing lines of foot soldiers. Certain characters’ skills will allow them to access additional areas and items.

It’s all very simple and familiar, but that may be a blessing. Playing in portable mode, I could watch the show while picking at the game’s stages. This may sound sacrilegious to folks who dedicate their full attention to every TV show and film, but for those of us that sometimes enjoy doubling up our entertainment, Stranger Things 3 and Stranger Things 3: The Game could make for a delightful pairing.

Stranger Things 3: The Game is being developed by BonusXP. The studio previously produced the original Stranger Things game for mobile devices.

The next level of puzzles.

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