Why Netflix’s New Mobile Games Suck
It’s been in the works for a while, but Netflix has finally launched its collection of mobile games. These come included with your Netflix subscription and there are no ads or in-app purchases.
However, while it’s interesting to see Netflix expand beyond video streaming, the collection of launch games leave a lot to be desired. There are two with Stranger Things branding, but the rest are generic mobile games that have been done a million times before.
What Games Does Netflix Offer?
We all know Netflix as a video streaming platform; the place to go to enjoy a wealth of original and licensed movies and shows.
Netflix has also dabbled with interactive content, which let you make choices to shape the outcome of what you’re watching.
However, the global launch of Netflix Games is the company’s first big step into a new medium. It hired Mike Verdu as its VP of Game Development, who previously worked at EA and Facebook, so it’s clearly taking this seriously.
For now, Netflix’s games are only available on Android, with iOS to follow at a later and unspecified date. You can download the games separately on the Play Store (though you need to log in with Netflix) or access them through the dedicated Games tab on the Netflix app.
These games come included with your Netflix membership. There’s no additional cost, in-app purchases, or ads. They are also available in multiple languages.
Everyone on your Netflix account can play the games, across multiple devices. You’re limited by the number of profiles that your Netflix plan supports.
Some of the games require an internet connection, while others can be played offline.
The following games are available at launch:
- Stranger Things: 1984
- Stranger Things 3: The Game
- Shooting Hoops
- Card Blast
- Teeter (Up)
Netflix’s New Games: Boring and Uninspired
Of the five games Netflix is launching with, the two most interesting ones are themed around its incredibly popular Stranger Things series.
Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game are both pixelated adventures that let you play as different characters, solve puzzles, and battle creatures from the show.
The other three games—Shooting Hoops, Card Blaster, and Teeter (Up)—have no relevance to any existing Netflix property. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; in the future, Netflix presumably want its games output to stand tall and separate.
However, the problem is that these games are all generic mobile games that have been produced countless times before—and been done better. For example, Card Blast is a poker-like experience, while Shooting Hoops is a simple one-tap affair.
In fact, good luck even making heads or tails of the Shooting Hoops tutorial that barely even attempts to explain the control scheme. Elsewhere, Teeter is far too fiddly and visually bland to even make for an enjoyable time-waster.
There’s no innovation here. Nothing that makes you want to recommend them to others. The games feel cheap and rushed. Considering Netflix pours millions into its movies and TV shows, you might have expected games with a bit more polish.
In fairness to Netflix, when it announced these games in a blog post, it noted that this is still the “early days of creating a great gaming experience”. But if that’s the case, why didn’t it wait until there was a broader and deeper selection of games? Stranger Things aside, these games are hardly going to make you frothing at the mouth for what’s to come.
Netflix Needs to Step Up Its Game
The first Netflix original series was House of Cards. It took the world by storm, spreading through word of mouth like wildfire. It’s extremely unlikely that the launch of these games will do the same.
Hopefully, Netflix will continue to invest in its games output and work with interesting developers to produce creative and exciting works. Until then, it leaves a lot to be desired.
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About The Author
(704 Articles Published)
Joe was born with a keyboard in his hands and immediately started writing about technology. He has a BA (Hons) in Business and is now a full-time freelance writer who enjoys making tech simple for everyone.
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November 3, 2021 at 06:33AM