The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild made waves when it came out and has won numerous prestigious awards, with many claiming it to be the best 3D Zelda game since Ocarina of Time. If you read the headline and went "What? There's no new 2D Zelda game in 2017!?", you're technically right. No there wasn't a 2D Zelda game, but there was a game that was everything Zelda but in name, and that was...Stranger Things: The Game. Released on October 4th 2017 on smartphones everywhere, this game was the best 2D Zelda game for a myriad of reasons.
To start things off, what is a 2D Zelda? Basically, its anything that's like the original Zelda or A Link To The Past. A top-down perspective, an open world, dungeons to explore, all that good stuff. Now, Stranger Things is a series chock full of 80s references, and it is no stranger to the world of Zelda. Thus, it only makes sense that this video game adaptation pays homage to one of Nintendo's best games to come out of the 80s.
Just like Zelda, the game starts off on a dark stormy night, instead of a telepathic message from the princess herself, Chief Hopper gets a call in the middle of the night to investigate the disappearance of four boys at a nearby laboratory. From there, you've hopped into your first dungeon that's not too far from the first dungeon by the Deku Tree. Instead of 8 pieces of the Triforce however, you have 8 Eggo waffles to collect, a nod to the series' love of Eggos.
Now, as your first character, Hopper is a little basic and has no special abilities per say. The diverges from its Zelda roots and offers multiple characters to play instead of multiple items at Link's disposal. After a few rooms and bad guys in the first dungeon, you'll meet Lucas, one of the lost boys and one of the many main characters from the show. He's armed with his Wrist Rocket, a slingshot, capable of firing rocks at baddies. With him, you can take on evil lab assistants at ease from afar, and easily complete the first dungeon and get your first Eggo.
From then on, you can explore the whole town of Hawkins, Indiana and even do some sidequests that allows you to increase your HP with Heart Pieces or increse your inventory space, just like in Zelda. By the second dungeon, Hopper does get a second ability and that is his ability to go through portals to the Upside Down, an other-worldly dimension in the show and a clear nod to the Dark World from A Link To The Past in the game. You'll beat more puzzles and fight more enemy variants in the second dungeon, and soon you'll recruit a third party member, Nancy who has a bat. When in full health, Nancy will have double damage on her attacks, just like how Link can shoot beams with his Master Sword at full health.
From then, its rinse and repeat. Explore the town, find a new dungeon, recruit a new member, fight a boss, win an Eggo. There are 6 dungeons in total, and 8 characters to play, all with their skills and specialties. There are 2 hidden Eggos and 2 extra characters that you must do extra side quests to unlock. Like most Zelda games, the game is a breeze once you get the hang of it. Knowing each characters skills and when to use them is as crucial as knowing when to use an item in Zelda. My favorite character to use was Mike, he could stun enemies with his flashlight and can even ride his bike on the overworld. But just like the protagonists in Pokemon games, he's not allowed to use his bike indoors. Bummer.
Though this game is near flawless, I do have some gripes with it. In the second dungeon, it is required to use Lucas to beat the puzzles, but you'll always run out of rocks and the RNG of the game doesn't spawn a ton of rocks for you to use. This means you have to get out of the dungeon and buy more ammo just to complete it. Another issue came with the controls, there is no onscreen D-Pad and you have to tap a spot for your character to walk towards. This becomes a hindrance in the fourth dungeon, as you must use Dustin, who can throw chocolate pudding to stun guards, to sneak around a library. It becomes incredibly tedious as when you throw the pudding, you have to aim by tapping and sometimes the game registers it as a movement instead of you throwing the pudding. This results in you being caught by the guards and instant death.
Overall, it took me 5 hours to complete the game. Not bad for a free mobile title. Definitely check it out if you're a Stranger Things fan or a Zelda fan. I'd highly recommend it.
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