Netflix has videogames?

Last year, Netflix decided to roll out games for its iOS and Android app. The app has a dedicated row with a list of games available for a subscribed user to download and play.
Graphic image of one of the videogames on Netflix
Graphic image of one of the videogames on Netflix

Last year, Netflix decided to roll out games for its iOS and Android app. The app has a dedicated row with a list of games available for a subscribed user to download and play. Their aim was to provide and design games for every kind of player. Some of these games are mildly related to Netflix shows — they have two games based off Stranger Things. Unfortunately, the statistics are in, and in fact, only a small percentage of Netflix users use these apps. So, I decided to test if any of them are good.

This week, I played ‘Before your Eyes’. I did play this a year ago on the PC when it came out, but it wasn’t particularly good on the computer. And I couldn’t finish the game although it was a truly short one with an average completion time of less than two hours. I was therefore, surprised at how well this game translates to a mobile format. ‘Before your Eyes’ falls more into the realm of “interactive media”, than a typical mobile game that involves action and button clicking — making it suitable for beginners and non-gamers.

The game starts in the afterlife. I am a floating ball in an endless sea of spirits. A ferryman picks me up and advises me to uncover some of my memories from my past. It’s the only way he can help me (the protagonist) pass on. I agree, and must therefore, see flashes of what my life was, to find acceptance in the series of events. The game starts with memories from birth. It takes me through the story of the protagonist in a first-person perspective. It appears that I have a quiet life, filled with art and music. As a narrative-driven game, I experience the story in a linear way..

But there’s a twist. And the twist is the gameplay gimmick that this story uses. The game detects the movement of our eyes. Every time I blink, the story fast forwards to the next core event. So, if I want to experience the sequence of events that led up to the protagonist’s death, I must keep my eyes open for as long as I can.

And this works to the game’s credit. It made the experience so immersive, that at the end of the short game, my eyes were tearing up for more than just one reason.  ‘Before your Eyes” is an excellent story, and is worth a try if you are subscribed to Netflix and have the phone app.

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