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Game Design Analysis: The Stranger Things

by Ludi Dong on 10/09/17 10:02:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


I played the stranger things lat night. It was well adapted and designed. I would recommend to anyone who had watched the show.

The whole story evolves with Will being missing. Chief Hopper as the main protagonist moves between. different places around the town to fight against Hawkins facility and find Will. Almost all characters from the TV appear in the game. The personality and background of them are reserved, which I appreciate. In the TV, Joyce painted an alphabet on the living room wall. It also appeared in the game. The hole in the living room wall was kept in the game too.

The game play mostly involves beating enemy in mazes, solving puzzles such as switch and laser trap, luring a bear to break and obstacle, finding things for characters to unlock maps. The control is easy: tap on the screen to move, to hit enemy, to interact with objects. And they made it very smooth to move therefore the game is a bit fast paced, really engaging. In the game the player can also hit bushes to get coins or life, kinda feels like super Mario Bros. I don’t need to elaborate the need for life, but coins is important if a quest is to buy something from the store. In sum, the feedback and output of tapping makes me want to keep tapping. I was very engaged when I played.

There are several supporting systems to support the game play. The first is changing character. In the game, some enemy and traps are long ranged. Therefore it requires the player to solve them at a distance. In chapter one chief Hopper would save Lucas who uses a sling, therefore the player would be able to switch character to control. There are at least 10 character slots. Since the rest of the boy and eleven haven’t appeared, I would assume I have to find them, unlock them in future chapters. They would also have special skills when it comes to battling and puzzle solving. Such design provides more possibility of puzzle, also gives the player more choices. when it comes to strategy.

Another is collecting. Sometime if the player does a favor, such as Chief Hopper bought a new telephone for Joyce, the player would collect a quarter of heart. There were 50 empty slots of full heart, therefore I imagine the system is to encourage the player to interact with all the NPCs, to explore more on the map.

There is also another system of collecting. Yet it was more of an Easter egg for players. If the player collects enough birdie tapes, he can watch an exclusive the Stranger things 2 trailer in the movie theater in the game.

The game uses a pixel graphic style, matching the story, which happened in 1980s. I’m no expert on art yet it delivers the feeling of an ordinary town in Indiana.

The music is worth noting too. The electric music really gives me creep when playing it. I always feel something is watching me if I turn on the music.

I’ve finished chapter 1 and on 30% of chapter two. The game is free and so far I see no hint that there is in-game purchases. I believe this is Netflix’s method to market for the Stranger things 2 which would premier on October 26th. The game has already earned more than 1,600 five-star reviews on App Store so far. I can definitely tell Netflix would develop and publish more games adapted to its original series soon.

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