DO YOU SUBSCRIBE to Netflix and own a smartphone? The streaming company offers a small selection of mobile games to all subscribers at no additional cost, but you essentially have to complete a side quest to find them. Odds are you’ve never played a Netflix game even if you are a current subscriber.
You don’t need to be a mega-fan of Stranger Things to get enjoyment out of Netflix games. Sure, there are a couple of IP-based titles, but most of the over 20 available games have nothing to do with Netflix shows. There’s a rogue-like deck builder, Arcanium, an adorable hidden object game, Krispee Street, and a turn-based strategy game, Into the Breach.
People who enjoy playing games on their phones may appreciate downloading titles that don’t have any ads or hidden microtransactions. Netflix games stand in contrast to contemporary mobile games that start off as free-to-play, only to pelt players with fees later on. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Diablo Immortal.)
You can put away those next-gen consoles and home-built PCs: Netflix’s foray into video games is only on mobile devices. Your smartphone or tablet needs to run either iOS 15 or Android 8 and have space available for downloads. To retain access to the games, your subscription must be current, and the cheapest Netflix plan starts at $10 a month.
Already have the Netflix app downloaded on your Android or Apple device? You may see a tab for Games along the bottom of the screen when opening the app. This feature is not yet rolled out to all users. Don’t see a Games tab? You may find a breakout section featuring video games while scrolling through the Home tab.
Click on the square icon for the game you want to play and choose Get Game. You’ll be redirected to the Play Store on Android and the App Store on Apple devices. Starting your search inside the Netflix app is alright when you’re just looking around for new experiences. Taking that into account, downloading the streaming service’s app is not a requirement to play and anyone who already knows which Netflix game they want can skip the above steps.
The full list of games is available on Netflix’s website, and the easiest way to download new titles is to pick a game from that list and search for it directly in the App Store or Play Store. All of the games owned by Netflix have a small “N” emblazoned on the top left corner of the app’s icon. After finding the game you’re looking for, go ahead and start the download process.
After the download is done, there’s just one last step before this quest is complete and you finally get to start playing! When you open the game for the first time, you will likely see a prompt to log in with your Netflix account. Start by tapping on Next. Then enter your account information and click Log In. If the Netflix account has multiple profiles, choose whichever one is yours to track progress.
Inside the games you’ll see a profile icon along the edge of the screen. Tap here to switch between Netflix profiles if more than one person is playing on your smartphone or tablet. Profiles for children cannot be used to access Netflix games.
Does your subscription lapse every few months? No worries. If you don’t delete the game’s app or data, according to Netflix, your gameplay is saved for up to 10 months and accessible whenever your subscription becomes active again.
The Netflix game you should try first is entirely dependent on what kind of video games you find the most amusing. Players looking for a cozy, colorful game that is a breeze to start may enjoy Poinpy, Krispee Street, or Knittens. Oh, you’re trying to play something a little more adrenaline-boosting? Give the rip-roaring, off-road racing Asphalt Xtreme a chance.
Skeptical that a game on your phone could be any good? Try Into the Breach. It’s a mobile port of the turn-based strategy game which received outstandingly positive reviews from critics when first released in 2018. In his review for PC Gamer, Alex Wiltshire wrote, “Exacting, agonizing, challenging, and intensely rewarding, Into the Breach delivers in the tiniest package the most perfectly formed tactics around.”
After the lengthy finale to Stranger Things’ fourth season, dedicated fans of the show now have to wait patiently for the fifth and final season. The current season may be wrapped, but you can linger a little longer in Hawkins, Indiana, by trying out two of Netflix’s pixel art experiences: Stranger Things 3: The Game and Stranger Things: 1984.
Want to learn even more about mobile games? Discover how Merge Mansion assisted WIRED contributor Swapna Krishna with kicking her habit of doomscrolling. Also, check out our list of best mobile controllers for gaming and our explainers for Google Play Pass as well as Apple Arcade. Just need more to download? WIRED’s picks for the best games on your smartphone range all the way from Mini Motorways to Stardew Valley.