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Stranger Things VR review

Immersive VR Game Recreates Stranger Things Universe

Martin Rumenov 1 month ago 0 7

Stranger Things VR is a virtual reality psychological horror/action game developed by Tender Claws, a studio based in Los Angeles that also created “Virtual, Virtual Reality 1 and 2”, “The Under Presents and Wide” and “Ocean Big Jacket”. The game allows players to step into the role of Vecna, a character from the Stranger Things series, and explore the mysterious and supernatural realm of the Upside Down. Players will encounter creepy areas and creatures, invade people’s minds, and harness telekinetic powers in their quest to take revenge against the town of Hawkins and its inhabitants, including Eleven and her friends. The game has been described as an extended brand engagement with artful direction, although some reviews suggest it may not be as engaging as expected. Despite this, it is seen as a commendable effort that showcases the potential of VR as a storytelling medium.

Gameplay Features and Mechanics

Core Mechanics

  • Traversal and Movement: The game introduces interesting movement mechanics, allowing players to traverse chasms and avoid enemies like Demodogs. Players can control otherworldly vines, thrusting themselves high into the air, which proves both immersive and intuitive.
  • Combat: There is some light combat involved, although it is not the main focus of the game. The combat mechanics are described as good, enhancing the gameplay experience.
  • Mind Invasions: A core element of the game involves probing the minds of other characters to uncover their secrets. These sequences are key to the story, adding a psychological thriller aspect to the gameplay.
  • Interactive Vignettes: The game includes interactive vignettes that overlap with the characters and events of the Stranger Things series, offering a different perspective on familiar scenarios.

Gameplay Experience

Stranger Things VR mechanics

Narrative-Driven – The game is heavily narrative-driven, focusing on the story of Vecna and his rise to power in the Upside Down. The gameplay elements are designed to support this narrative, with a heavier focus on storytelling than action.

Repetitive Elements – Despite the innovative mechanics, the gameplay can become repetitive, with a focus on moving the player along to the next cinematic sequence. Combat and gameplay elements do not evolve significantly throughout the game.

Comfort Settings – “Stranger Things VR” includes a range of comfort settings to accommodate different player preferences, including options for turning, movement, posture, and accessibility. This makes the game fairly comfortable for a wide audience, despite some scenes that may be uncomfortable for photosensitive users.

The VR gameplay in the Stranger Things Universe offers players a unique and interactive experience resembling a virtual art installation or dream sequences. Players engage in telekinesis combat against demogorgons and participate in light platforming challenges to stay engaged.

The gameplay is centered around these elements, aiming to enhance the feeling of being immersed in the Stranger Things world. Navigating through abstract environments, the telekinetic combat provides a sense of empowerment, while the platforming segments introduce excitement and require skill.

Each chapter presents distinct challenges, seamlessly blending combat and platforming to fully immerse players in the Stranger Things experience.

Technical Issues Encountered During Gameplay

The technical issues encountered during gameplay in the Stranger Things VR game significantly impacted the overall experience. Spatial audio was a notable issue, as conversations were only audible from the left ear, disrupting the immersion. In my opinion, one of the main flaws was the absence of controller haptics, which also detracted from the potential for a more immersive gameplay session. These technical shortcomings made it challenging to fully engage with the narrative and environment, ultimately detracting from the overall experience.

Another frustrating issue was when facing multiple instances of getting stuck in the floor and experiencing unintended circular motions due to movement controls. The failure of the portal to open at the end of a level further highlighted the need for significant technical improvements in the game. Overall, these technical issues hindered the gameplay experience and prevented a more seamless interaction with the game world.

Visuals and Aesthetics Assessment

Stranger Things VR graphics

Upon entering the virtual world of the Stranger Things VR game, the cell shading aesthetics stand out for their distinctive style. The water effects in the game are impressively rendered, enhancing the overall atmosphere.

However, the implementation of telekinesis abilities appears somewhat unpolished, lacking smoothness in execution. The limited variety in environments leads to a sense of repetition, diminishing long-term engagement.

While some scenes pay homage to iconic moments from the TV series, there’s a fine line where familiarity risks bordering on unoriginality. In conclusion, while the game show’s visuals and aesthetics promise, they fall short of delivering a fully immersive and captivating experience.

Pricing and Duration Details

Priced at $30, the game offers a concise yet engaging experience. The main campaign lasts approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes. In terms of cost-effectiveness, the game’s pricing is in line with its playtime duration, delivering a focused and immersive journey through the Stranger Things universe.

While the playtime may seem relatively short compared to other VR games at a similar price point, the quality of the experience justifies the cost. Despite the brevity of the main campaign, the game excels in attention to detail, unique art style, and overall presentation, enhancing the gameplay experience.

Additionally, two supplementary mixed reality chapters add depth to the game, allowing fans to further explore the Stranger Things world without significantly extending the overall playtime.

Accessibility and Target Audience

The Stranger Things VR game presents a unique challenge for newcomers as it assumes prior knowledge of the show’s storyline, which may hinder their ability to fully engage with the immersive experience. This lack of introductory context could diminish the narrative impact on those unfamiliar with the Stranger Things universe.

The game primarily targets fans who’ve watched the series in its entirety, offering them a fresh perspective on key moments. For long-time fans, the VR experience provides a novel way to revisit significant events, deepening their connection to the show’s narrative and design element.

Overall Experience and Engagement

The VR game based on the Stranger Things series offers a distinctive gameplay experience for fans. Its visual storytelling and gameplay mechanics effectively immerse players in the world of Hawkins, Indiana. The game’s design successfully captures the atmospheric essence of the show, creating an engaging environment for players to explore.

While some players may find the gameplay and lore to be somewhat lacking in depth, the overall experience remains enjoyable, especially for fans looking to revisit key moments from the series. The game’s ability to transport players into the Stranger Things universe is noteworthy, leaving a lasting impression even though it may not cater to those seeking prolonged engagement beyond the initial playthrough.

Ratings

The game has received a warm reception despite its flaws. After three weeks on the market, it has a rating of 4.5/5 in Meta Store from 211 reviews. Check out the other upcoming VR games of 2024 here.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the immersive VR game based on ‘Stranger Things’ offers fans a unique and captivating experience, allowing them to step into the iconic universe of the show and interact with its characters and storylines in a whole new way.

With its engaging gameplay, nostalgic settings, and thrilling mechanics, the game is sure to leave players feeling excited and immersed in the world of Hawkins.

For fans of the series, this VR experience is a must-try for a fresh perspective on their favorite show.

Written By

Martin, our Content Editor, is a seasoned gamer with a deep knowledge of the industry. He specializes in VR game reviews and news, offering expert insights to enhance your gaming experience.

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