Netflix’s gaming division is relatively new, and gamers haven’t always known what to expect from the streaming giant best known for movies and TV shows. But over the past few months, Netflix has steadily replenished its gaming catalog with great mobile ports like Into the Breach and Spiritfarer — hinting at the direction the company’s new gaming division is headed.
If you’re curious about which titles to try, check out our roundup of seven Netflix games worth cruising.
In addition to porting existing games, Netflix has also recently acquired a number of development studios and attempted to create original games. According to a Eureka News Now Disrupt event, Netflix has 55 games in development and some of them are based on the streaming service’s original shows. We also got originals like Poinpy, which is featured below.
Curiously, Netflix also said it was keen on creating a cloud gaming service — something even Google couldn’t get off the ground. Stadia recently shut down, leading to questions about whether or not cloud gaming services are viable at this point. Netflix hasn’t revealed any details, so we’ll have to wait to hear more about its plans if it ends up going through with them.
Poinpy, from Downwell’s developer Ojiro Fumoto, feels very much like it sounds: your character poings and pongs off walls and platforms in a series of increasingly difficult challenges. It’s a game with simple mechanics and vertical platforming challenges that demand increasing accuracy from the player. As you progress, a bruise from a monster will request fruit in specific quantities and types within a time limit. While the rules are easy to learn, Poinpy builds in intensity and becomes a highly replayable game like Downwell.
For more background information, check out our interview with Poinpy creator Ojiro Fumoto.
into the breach
Into The Breach is a brilliant turn-based strategy game that challenges players to defend against monsters on a limited-size tile map. Players start with three mechs, and each weapon has a different range and attack pattern – requiring careful consideration of order, pattern, and placement. As you progress you can unlock other squads and units with different unique abilities and uses.
For the Advanced Edition of Into The Breach (the edition available on Netflix), reviewer Chris Pereira gave it a 10/10. The Advanced Edition featured five new squads, new enemy types, and new bosses. Pereira praised the game for its deep strategy and how each action flows into the next, resulting in players having to consider even the minute details of how to build their offense.
“Limiting the size of the maps and the number of units and actions you have avoids ever becoming overwhelming,” Pereira said, “while still giving you a wide enough space of possibility for your path forward to be full of potential.” is preordained instead of feeling.”
Arcanium: Rise of Akhan
Arcanium: Rise of Akhan is a deck-building strategy game, like Hearthstone, in which gameplay revolves around chosen heroes using unique decks. However, Arcanium is more PvE oriented and has some interesting roguelite qualities. Players control a party of three heroes – each with their own decks – and must fight to rid tiled cards of corruption. Each map hides the contents of the tiles until you defeat enemies in adjacent tiles, resulting in a random item on each map run.
On battlefields, group members must defeat enemies. Each hero has their own deck, and players can spend the heroes’ limited action points to play cards. Some units are tanks equipped with abilities to deal damage to other party members, and some are high-damage dealers that have high offense but low defense.
The large number of map and tile options – leveling up maps, replenishing health, getting gear for heroes and more – allows for great flexibility in the way you want to play.
Oxenfree, a 2016 game from Night School Studios, a studio now owned by Netflix, follows a group of teenagers as they deal with a paranormal situation. It is a narrative game driven by players clicking (or tapping in the case of the mobile edition) on objects and other items in the environment. While uncovering the spooky hauntings advances the story, the choices made by the main character Alex and the way you develop your relationship with others radically change the course of the game.
GameSpot reviewed the PC edition of Oxenfree and gave it an 8/10 rating. “[Oxenfree] doesn’t hammer you with platitudes about friendship and loss, but rather gives you a knot to untangle that rewards you with an emotional gut punch with each success,” said reviewer Alexa Ray Corriea. “It doesn’t ask you big questions, and it’s certainly not easy to indulge its answers; Oxenfree is just what it is, a great little game about the all-too-human inability to let go of what’s hurting us.”
wrong way driver
Spiritfarer follows Stella, the heiress to Charon’s mantle, who is now responsible for finding and caring for lost souls. As Stella, you command a huge ship and can build a guest house, kitchen, field and more. It’s a slow-paced game that revolves around the underlying theme of death, all wrapped up in an interesting hybrid mix of action platformer and farming sim.
In GameSpot’s Spirtfarer review, the game received a 9/10. Reviewer Hope Corrigan praised the game for its unique characters, fun platforming elements, and narrative design. “Spiritfarer is kind of a risk-free game, but full of rewards. There is no death, no pain, no rush in any task, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever felt so complete,” Corrigan said. “You’re totally free to take your time, play on your own terms, and while your quests are simple, they’re incredibly fulfilling.”
Before your eyes
Before Your Eyes is an innovative 2021 game with a unique input system: blinking as a mechanic. Your blink controls the pace of the game, and the opening part follows the main character’s life from birth. At some points you have to close your eyes to hear a conversation or blink to advance a memory.
In the GameSpots Before Your Eyes review, reviewer Andrew King gave it an 8/10, praising it for the unique and well-done integration of the blinking mechanism and narration. “Before Your Eyes understands that experiencing our lives, storing memories that become precious, is often tied to what we see: the people and the pathways that stretch out before us,” King said. “Rather than feeling like a gimmick, Before Your Eyes feels refreshingly natural.”
Before Your Eyes also made it into the top 10 GameSpot games of 2021.
SpongeBob SquarePants is cooking
Look, SpongeBob Squarepants Gets Cooking isn’t the greatest chef slash restaurant racer ever made. But it fulfills the dreams of anyone who’s ever seen SpongeBob and thought, “Wow, I’d really like to try and run Krusty Krab.” And for that, it deserves an honorable mention on this list. If you enjoyed Diner Dash and that weird Club Penguin pizza minigame, then this SpongeBob Squarepants game will scratch a nostalgic itch.
As SpongeBob or other characters gained through progression, you cook pancakes, Krabby Patties and more for customers. As you take on more cooking shifts, the money earned can be used to upgrade kitchen appliances, decorate interiors, and make other improvements. There’s the typical plankton-out-to-sabotage plot scattered between each level, but it’s skipable.