When I tell someone that I’m about to play a game on Netflix, the response is the same.
“A game on Netflix, what are you talking about?”
I guess this isn’t well know, but Netflix publishes and licenses video games. most of these have been casual games though. My attention was caught by a recent game made available through Netflix that was an action game. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge” was recently made available on a range of systems. The look to the game reminds me of some previous TMNT games that I enjoyed, and I wanted to get this one. I never got around to making a purchase because I found the game on Netflix. Great! But how exactly does someone play a game on Netflix? How does someone play **this** game, which allows up to 4 people to play at once! Let’s find out.
Netflix releases games as mobile games. If you have an iOS or Android device, then you have what it takes to play the games. You can usually find the games by searching for “Netflix” in either of the app stores. But I find it easier to open the mobile app and scroll down vertically until you find a section listing the games. Selecting one of the games shows more information on it and presents a button to open the store for installing it. On Android, if the game is already installed, this will but a button to open and play the game instead.
Of course, the games can be played right away without any accessories. I personally hate playing arcade or action games on phone with on screen controls. Thankfully, one is not limited to that as the only form of control. The game supports game controllers, and you may be able to play on a larger external display (such as a TV) if using additional accessories.
Both iOS and Android support game controllers. On iOS, you only need to pair the controller with the phone using the Bluetooth settings. On Android, you can either pair through the Bluetooth settings or you can connect it to the phone with a USB cable. I preferred this method so that I did not have to unpair the controller with the other device with which I use it. Recent Xbox controllers use USB-C as their connector. If you have an older controller, it uses USB-micro. You’ll need a USB-C to USB-micro cable. I preferred to use the shortest cable possible. I also use a USB-C right angle adapter to keep the cable a little neater.
You can play the games on an external display too. Well, maybe. It depends on your phone. Many Samsung devices will work with generic USB-C to HDMI adapters. If you have some other Android device, it may or may not support USB-C. Some iOS devices will work with HDMI adapters too. You just need to have an appropriate device to match either your Lightning port or USB-C port (I used this Lightning to HDMI adapter). Using an external display tends to drain the battery faster. It’s a good idea to use an adapter that also allows charging. With some of my Samsung devices I have found this can be tricky. The Samsung devices use USB-PD (Power Delivery). The device request some amount of power from the power supply. It the phone detects a different in the amount requested and the amount received, the phone will alert the user that there is potentially moisture on the USB-C port. Instead of using a PD power supply I had better results using a “dumb” power supply when pairing with the display adapter or using an HDMI adapter labeled as working with Samsung DEX. The video adapter that I preferred to use for Android was sold under the description of a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station. My phone and tablet do not support Thunderbolt, but this doesn’t matter, the docking station works fine.
I had hoped that I could connect multiple controllers to my Android device to play with multiple people. Sadly, this isn’t the case. The multiplayer works over the Internet with each person having a device. When you are starting the game, the character select screen also has a button to “Party Up” with two modes of “partying.” One can either create a private party or a public party. For the private party, a 6 character text string displays on the screen. Others that you want to join the party need to enter this code. If you select a public party then you can join up with others that wish to play online. For either option, you can either create a party, or you can join one.
Transferring Progress Between Devices
As you might expect, with Netflix games your progress is saved with your profile. If you go to a different device but use the same profile your progress shows up there. There’s nothing that you need to do. This is automatic.
Will It Replace my Game Streaming Service?
No. In its current form, Netflix Games are not going to replace Xbox or Luna streaming. But they don’t try to fill that space. Many of the games in their library are more casual game. At the time that I’m writing this, there are a total of about 50 games in the Netflix gaming library. While they wouldn’t be competing those larger game streaming service, the games do have their own charm to them. There are probably about 5 games that have support for controllers, including TMNT, Spiritfarer, and Stranger Things 3. Right now their games lean more casual (which to me makes sense, since that may be of broader interest). I do think that it is a space to watch as Netflix continues to find ways to grow.
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