At this point, Squid Game has become an internet sensation. The brutal Korean survival drama blew up shortly after it hit Netflix on Sept. 17, and now it’s virtually impossible to go onto Twitter or Instagram without running into a meme of the “red light green light” robot or a rant about that twist-filled ending. It’s a ton of fun to keep joking and theorizing about Squid Game once you’ve watched it, but the unique series probably also inspired you to look for something similar to dive into. If you want more gritty survival games, these shows like Squid Game should be the next on your watch list.
Because of its hyper-specific genre, there aren’t a lot of other TV shows exactly like Squid Game, but a few do stand out. The gory series pit hundreds of debt-stricken Korean citizens against one another in deadly games for a chance to win billions in cash. Many fans have compared the life-and-death contest to The Hunger Games, and likewise to the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale, since both popular movies also center on a large, stylized game in which contestants must either kill or be killed. While its connection to those two films are probably the strongest, there are a bunch of other TV shows that will give you the same adrenaline-pumping sensation that you got watching Squid Game.
1. Alice in Borderland
Probably the most similar show to Squid Game is also streaming on Netflix. Alice in Borderland is a Japanese series in which various people are transported to an abandoned Tokyo to play high-stakes games. The players select playing cards to determine the difficulty of the next game, and like in Squid Game, if they lose these games, they are immediately executed.
You probably already know the deal with Survivor — it is one of the longest running competitive game shows on the air — but you may not have checked it out in a while. Well, if you got into Squid Game, then now is the perfect time to jump into a season of Survivor. The gameplay and strategy involved in outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting on Survivor is uncannily similar to those used by Squid Game contestants. And although players aren’t killed when voted off the island, eliminations still feel pretty massive once you’re invested in a season.
3. Black Mirror
Squid Game presents a dystopian portrait of the near future to emphasize current issues in the division of socioeconomic classes, and that’s also Black Mirror’s bread and butter. Each episode of Netflix’s anthology series explores the negative ramifications of technological advancement in a highly stylized way that will feel very familiar to Squid Game fans. In particular, the Season 1 episode “Fifteen Million Merits” has a lot of similarities to Squid Game.
Based on the hit video game series of the same name, the Danganronpa anime series features the same high-stakes gameplay and manipulation that made Squid Game so captivating. The show centers on 16 high school students who are only able to escape the academy they’re trapped in if they can kill another student and get away with the crime in a subsequent trial. It definitely feels like a game that’d be up Sang-woo’s alley.
Like Squid Game, Netflix’s Brazilian series 3% also tells the story of several poor individuals competing in bizarre games to try to improve their lifestyle. In the show, the impoverished Inland inhabitants are tasked with completing various tests in order to be allowed to live in the high-class Offshore society. However, these tests are incredibly challenging, resulting in only 3% of those who attempt them ever completing them all. Not all eliminations result in death like they do in Squid Game, but there is still a lot of blood spilled.
6. The Purge
Within the Squid Game bunker, all the laws of the outside world quickly disappear, as players had to survive not only the games but also one another when they realized killing each other was a legitimate option in advancing. That same lawlessness is explored in The Purge film series, as well as its subsequent television adaptation, also called The Purge. The show expands on the premise of a society in which all crime is legalized for one day, leading to a terrifying 24 hours of chaos.