Previously Released as Free to Play, the ‘Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales’ Match-3 RPG Joins the Netflix Games Library

A bit over a year ago, just in time for last year’s Halloween in fact, Next Games released Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales, a match-3 RPG based on the Stranger Things series on Netflix. Those who dove into the game generally had 3 things to say about it: It was a complex and satisfying blend of matching gameplay and RPG mechanics; it utilized the Stranger Things IP in a great way; and its free to play pay model was stifling and made people want to quit playing. Since its original release, a lot has happened. Netflix officially rolled out their gaming library which has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past year, and as part of that expansion into gaming Netflix also acquired Next Games earlier this year to put them to work as one of their in-house game studios. That means that Next Games was able to re-tool Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales to remove the garbage f2p monetization, and then re-release it as a more or less premium game as part of the Netflix Games library, and this new version just became available yesterday.

Not only has the pay model been reworked in Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales, but since its original release Season 4 of the show has also come out, and so this newly released version includes entirely new Season 4 content. I admit that I fully passed on the original f2p release of this one, so I can’t say for sure how different this re-release is, but it does sound like they’ve altered some of the structure and gameplay components as well. What I can tell you is that I’ve fiddled around with this new release of Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales and I’m liking it very much. The art is wonderful, with a heavy Saturday Morning Cartoons vibe, and the gameplay is satisfyingly strategic. My ONE major gripe is that you can’t turn off the game hints that make pieces on the game board jiggle, and that is something I absolutely can’t stand in match-3 games of any type. So… help us out with that one, Next Games? Please? Otherwise this new version of Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales is a much better offering than its f2p iteration and yet another great addition to the Netflix Games library.

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