You have to try the hidden games in the Netflix app on your phone

You have to try the hidden games in the Netflix app on your phone

Tucked away amongst Netflix’s endless main menu, where you usually scroll through its extensive list of shows, unable to decide what to watch, you may have stumbled upon a section labeled “Mobile Games.” Yes, a small library of games is also included with your Netflix subscription and despite being available from the end of 2021, not everyone may have tried them yet.

But are they streaming games, like the Google Stadia service now dead? Or is it something different and do you need one of the best smartphones to play them? We’ve done the research to find out.

How Netflix Games works

Selecting a game in Netflix Games.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Before trying out Netflix Games on some smartphones, it’s worth talking about how it works. This isn’t like Google Stadia, where games are streamed to your device without the need to install anything, even though Netflix is ​​better known for streaming. Instead, when you choose one of the games listed in the Netflix app, it transports you to your phone’s app store to download the game.

This means that the game you want to play is permanently installed on your phone, so make sure you’re not running low on storage space before committing. The games install normally, but instead of signing in with Google Play Games or Apple’s Game Center, you sign in to the game with your Netflix credentials. These are exclusive titles and you cannot play them unless you have a Netflix subscription.

The login is done automatically, and an added benefit is that all your game data is saved online and synced between devices; If you play on your phone, tablet, or TV, you don’t lose any progress. It’s also cross-platform, so you can start on an Android phone and continue on your iPad with all your game data intact. The final big plus is that the games are truly free to play, with no in-app payments enabled or any requirement to pay to get better gear or fast-forward through a game.

The phones we tested

Play Shatter Remastered on Netflix games.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There are really no specific requirements to play the games that Netflix offers on your phone, outside of Android 8 or later, or iOS 15 or later. This covers dozens of devices, but is having an older or mid-range smartphone a barrier to trying Netflix games? To find out, we played on the iPhone 14 Prothe Nothing Phone 1and the Google Pixel 4a.

Why these phones? The iPhone 14 Pro is one of the latest devices and has Apple’s new A16 Bionic processor and should be considered one of the highest performing smartphones you can buy. The Nothing Phone 1 is also a recent release, but it uses a more modest processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+, which is designed for solid everyday performance and decent gaming too. Finally, the Google Pixel 4a was released in 2020 and uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor. It’s representative of many mid-range phones released during that period.

play netflix games

Here’s some good news, as on all three smartphones we tested, Netflix games ran smoothly. They all opened the correct page in the app store and each one downloaded without a problem. I chose to play extreme asphalt Y smash remastered.

Play Asphalt Xtreme on Netflix games.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

extreme asphalt occupies 1.43 GB of storage space on Android, while smash remastered it’s 430 MB, which gives you an idea of ​​how much free space you’ll need on your phone if you decide to install more than a couple of titles. The iPhone 14 Pro played both games without any issues, which should come as no surprise.

More surprising, though, was the Google Pixel 4a’s willingness to play. extreme asphalt, as the Nothing Phone 1 struggled when a lot was going on, with an obvious drop in frame rate being noticeable when the game was busier. This had the unfortunate effect of making the game quite difficult to play at times. However, all three phones played smash remastered perfectly.

Forget your phone, just play

Since Netflix Games only takes you to install a game from the app store, there are very few technical differences between the service and downloading any other “regular” game. However, the differences that exist are positive and very welcome. Notably, both games felt like titles you’d normally pay for or have to deal with numerous in-app purchases to play. Instead, you play without interruption, or without needing to reach for your credit card.

The added bonus is that it doesn’t seem to matter what phone you have. As long as you have the Netflix app installed (and a slightly modern phone that can play games already available on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store), you’ll be able to download, install, and play the exclusive titles available through Netflix Games. .

There are currently more than 30 games to download and play, we highlight the best Netflix Games titles hereand also guide you through play them on your TV here. It’s a great addition to your Netflix subscription, with hours of potential gaming fun if you find a few titles you like.

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