Stranger Things VR

Developer / Publisher – Tender Claws
Price – US $29.99 / CAN 34.99 / EU €29.99 / UK £24.99
Release Date – February 22nd, 2024
Input – 2 x Motion Controllers
Play Area –  Seated, Standing, Roomscale
Store Links – Meta
Reviewed on – Quest 3

First off, I am a big fan Stranger Things and while I typically avoid spoilers in my review, there’s almost no way to avoid some major plot points from the series as key moments from the show are touched upon.  So if you aren’t caught up on the show, you’ve been warned. On that note, this game really is ONLY for fans of the series so for those curious about Stranger Things VR, don’t even bother with this until you’ve seen the show.

Meet Dr. Brenner, or at least a version of him.

Even liking the show, I really don’t know who this is for as it’s largely more an experience than it is a game with the main story clocking in at less than 3 hours. You’ll initially play as Vecna and learn more about his origins and the events leading to his transformation from the human known as Henry which sounds more interesting than it actually is. The opening few stages have you in the Upside Down where you can use Vecna’s push & pull force-like powers to deal with the creatures that reside there while using your tendrils to latch onto the environment and travel across it much faster than walking. It’s here where you’ll battle the Mind Flayer for control of this realm by messing with the environment and travelling in and out of manifestations from Henry’s past in this battle of wills.

There are 9 chapters to get through, each varying in length, with the rest of the game taking place at various moments throughout all 4 seasons of the series. The problem with this is that revisiting these moments really doesn’t offer up anything we didn’t already know with a lot of gameplay elements being stripped back to a point where many of these stages play like experiences, not games. In one stage you try to inhabit the main characters which just involves using your powers to see into the real world then entering their minds by pulling yourself into them, after which you just sit and watch as events unfolds without offering any control over what happens next. Another has you playing as Billy during his possession, driving along the road as surreal events happen to him which is broken up by visits to the psychic realm where he offers up people to feed the flesh monster from the 3rd season. Once again though, there really is no game here as you just mess with a radio, stay on the road and wait for scripted events to unfold. You’ll play as Eleven in the final chapter and use a few of powers (funnily similar to Vecna’s) and visit a few more events from the show but no matter what I was doing, every stage felt like it went on for too long, which is saying something considering just how short this game is. Even knowing the shows plot, what’s here feels like a disjointed collection of seemingly random moments from the series that doesn’t really shed any new light on what we already know which is hampered by the cartoonish art style used.

The upside down offers up the most action in the game.

There are some fairly violent and graphic moments in here but making everything in here so cartoonish really took away all the horror out of these horrific visuals. Character models can look quite accurate or just off and when you see Vecna though Will’s eyes, he looks like a Disney Infinity version which removes any sort of scary aura…thankfully you don’t see him too much. I’m not saying the game looks bad with the stages taking place in the upside down looking substantially better over the real-world stuff, it just seems to miss the mark in regard to delivery. There are some slick visual moments when you are creating tendrils on floating islands and whipping yourself though the air to latch on to the next island while fending off the various creatures assaulting you, but as I said, many of these moments just go on for too long, removing any sort of long-term joy. As a fan, it’s fun to visit some areas of the show but in most cases it’s a singular area like the Byers house or arcade where you can’t move or slightly larger areas like the facility where Henry and Eleven were raised or the Max’s trailer park but once again, though outside of fighting the same few creatures, there really is nothing to do making for an overall disappointing experience save for the mixed reality content, which I actually impressed by.

You’ll see a few familiar settings in here.

For the record, while I do think mixed and augmented reality stuff is cool, when it comes to gaming, I feel it’s too limited to offer anything substantial. With that said, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been surprised by a few MR apps with Stranger Things VR having a fun stage separate from the main series story. Murray sends you an experimental glove that lets open and close portals to the upside down as well as real world levels from the main game. Opening these portals could let creatures through which you’ll have to use your telekinesis powers to defeat and ends in an epic confrontation in the upside down and runs roughly 20 minutes or so. The whole experience is engaging and a great use of the tech, especially in the way the glove is overlayed over your actual hand, making it look like I was actually wearing the glove. It’s not perfect and if you move to fast you can see your hands as the game tries to keep the glove overlayed, but I was nonetheless impressed. To use your telekinetic powers you need to use your other hand to highlight and grab something by making a fist while bringing your fist toward you yanks whatever you have grabbed near you and pushing your fist will launch it quickly away. It’s basically Jedi force push and pull but it felt awesome to only be using my hands for these powers while I took out Demodogs and Demobats with relative ease. There is a 2nd MR stage which is little more than a stationary wave shooter (using your powers of course) where the goal is get high scores, but I didn’t find it nearly as fun as the storied level…but it’s alright I guess.

Beware The Mind Flayer.

Fans of the series will be happy to learn that the actors who play Vecna and Dr. Brenner in the series return to do the voice work for those same characters in here and honestly do a great job here though the rest of the performances are played by other actors to varying degrees of success, though they are used minimally so it’s not to distracting. Sound design is all on point with the Upside Down and all of it’s creatures sounding as they should with the use of powers and everything else sounding ok minus one key issue. During a few scenes, the audio balance is off and voices are talking over background noise and it was quite hard to hear them… to a point where I have no idea what I missed. Spatial audio also also appeared to be absent with many scenes doing a poor job of directing my attention at what I should be looking at. Basically, it’s a mixed bag when it comes to audio design that’s already a mixed bag when it comes to game design.

Vecna has his own troubles to overcome.

One of the questions I ask myself as a reviewer is ‘who is this for?’ and after I finished Stranger Things VR I gotta say, I’m not sure. It’s definitely NOT for people who haven’t watched the show and even as a fan I was left wanting leaving me to think the only people that will pull a lot out of this are the hardcores that just can’t get enough of the franchise, regardless of the form it comes in. Even with that said, the asking price of $30 is waaaayyyy to high for what’s basically a collection of experiences in the Stranger Things universe so even if you are interested in this, I’d way for deep sale.

Meta provided The VR Grid with a press code for this title and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!


  • Mixed Reality stage is a treat
  • The Upside has some slick visual moments
  • Adds a little story to Vecna's past


  • Visual style hurts the horror elements
  • More of a collection of experiences than a game
  • Some stages go on for too long
  • Doesn't add much to the overall story we didn't already know


Leave a Reply

Lost Password