Surprisingly, Netflix Actually Has A Solid Library Of Games

As I spent all of September spiraling through space (and through a cavalcade of loading screens) as a scientist within Todd Howard’s NASA-punk world of Starfield, and struggling to fight through the sentient evil puppets of Krat in Neowiz’s Bloodborne-inspired Lies of P, I found myself in need of a palate cleanser. Something less of the AAA variety and more along the lines of a charming 2D puzzler, or a side-scrolling narrative adventure with a bespoke art-style, or a classic 90s inspired beat-‘em-up that took the edge off as I melted into the couch.

Starfield Sol System
1000 planets. 10,000 loading screens. Sorry, Starfield, but I’m gonna need a break.

Thankfully, I got all of that and more.  However the place in which I found this much-needed reprieve from the big-budget blockbusters came as a welcome surprise.  I’ve covered Netflix’s foray into games in the past, writing about their move into beta-testing cloud gaming to give the likes of Microsoft some competition. Though aside from testing a game or two for the purposes of said articles, and having a cursory look into their library, I had yet to fully invest time into seeing all that their service has to offer. That changed over the past couple weeks.

Where Xbox Game Pass excels in having a swathe of AAA titles from past generations, as well as high profile indie hits as a part of their library, it’s usually Apple Arcade where I find my itch for lesser-known, shorter indie titles is scratched; unfortunately Apple’s offerings have waned in the past few months, which led to my search venturing off to the likes of Netflix. Through my past research, I knew big hitters like Night School Studio’s Oxenfree and Oxenfree 2, Annapurna’s 12 Minutes, and TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge were all a part of their library, but digging a little deeper this time around I found myself quite impressed with the variety of titles on offer.

This game alone is worth a month of Netflix. (Photo: Spiritfarer by Thunder Lotus Games.)

Sure, you have your standard “mobile game” affairs like Cut the Rope, as well as odd licensed games based on Netflix IP’s like Narcos, Queen’s Gambit, and Love is Blind (yes, they have a game), but you also have a plethora of genuinely solid titles. Titles like Subset Game’s award-winning sci-fi turn-based strategy game, Into the Breach, popular RPG rogue-lite Moonlighter, and Thunder Lotus Games’ Spiritfarer — a game I personally have on my all-time top ten list. Of the 77 titles currently a part of Netflix’ library, I’ve made a list of 25 that I’d consider downloading. And that’s me being picky. These are all either well-known indies that had released within the past three or so years, or shorter experiences that I’d never heard of — This is a True Story being one of them whose art-style is absolutely gorgeous, and story is one that’s important.

The service works quite seamlessly, too. Games download straight to your device, and the on-screen controls show up and function just as they would with any game you’d download from the App or Play stores. Touchscreen controls aren’t always the most practical way to play certain games, but that’s not a slight on the service itself. I had no issue pairing my Switch Pro Controller to my iPad and launching Moonlighter, to which the game instantly recognized it without any unnecessary finagling or weird button mapping.

Netflix Games
You gotta dig past some of the questionable licensed titles, but trust me, there’s some good stuff in here.

It’s unfortunate that less than 1% of Netflix users are playing their games, a stat that adds context as to why their marketing of newly added titles to the app is so abysmal. But my hope is that this doesn’t dissuade them from adding to their already commendable library. Hopefully their upcoming cloud gaming venture alongside partnerships with bigger name publishers can cement them as a proper competitor in the market. I have plenty of reservations against Netflix, but for the time being I’ll admit that they’ll be keeping me busy for the next few weeks, and not with their trashy reality shows.

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