Squid Game, Netflix’s latest Korean drama, has grabbed fans with its blend of social criticism, high-stakes thrills, and what-would-you-do moral quandaries. The hit program follows a group of adults who are deeply in debt as they compete in a series of lethal children’s games for literal wealth. Squid Game is a common idea done wonderfully, which means that if you’re looking for more stories like Squid Game, you’re in luck; the “deadly competition” cliché is quite popular.
However, with only nine episodes, the pleasure wears off rather fast; you’re left wanting more. Not to worry, there are plenty more shows to keep you occupied till the second season is out. Let’s look at 15 TV shows which resemble Squid Games that you definitely need to watch.
1. Alice in Borderland (2020-)
While Squid Game is situated on an isolated island, Alice in Borderland takes the fatal game concept to another level by setting it in an abandoned Tokyo. Similar to the key characters in Squid Game, the protagonists of Alice in Borderland are regular people with no unique skills. It is precise because they lack the authority that they become more sympathetic and their journeys more engrossing.
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Arisu and his two best pals Chota and Karube are being pursued by police while hiding in a subway bathroom. When they depart, they discover that the entire population of Tokyo has vanished and the city is deserted. They will then be compelled to engage in life-or-death games, with the only choice being winning; those who do not participate will be executed by the games’ designer.
2. Snowpiercer (2020 – )
Though 2013’s Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans, was far from the pinnacle of filmmaking, the TV program makes strides in developing its characters. Set in a post-apocalyptic world devoured by ice, the story follows the protagonists as they are trapped on board a train carrying humanity’s final survivors. As with Squid Game, the series contains white-knuckle survival action that is amplified by its socioeconomic overtones.
Snowpiercer is set seven years after the earth has devolved into a freezing wasteland. It follows the surviving members of mankind as they occupy a massive, continuously moving train that rounds the globe. In this engrossing television adaption, class conflict, societal injustice, and the politics of survival are all questioned.
3. Sweet Home (2020-)
Sweet Home, one of Netflix’s most popular Korean dramas, similarly depicts a group of individuals who must overcome their selfish natures and work together to live. It features a sizable cast of characters, including Squid Game, yet despite its brief 10-episode duration, it manages to split its time between them all and provide satisfactory growth for everyone.
Hyun, a lonely high school student who lost his whole family after a horrific tragedy, is forced to flee his home and confronts a new universe in which monsters are attempting to eradicate mankind. Now he must battle against all odds in an attempt to rescue what remains of the human species before it is too late.
4. Lost (2004 – 2010)
Lost is a dystopian survival drama that needs no introduction, owing to its fervent popularity in the mid-aughts. It is not entirely centered on a series of battle royale games. However, like Squid Game, it takes place on an island where a group of people is challenged with unexpected trials that cause them to doubt their morals.
- RELATED: ‘Squid Game’ TV Series Review
48 people survive a catastrophic plane accident and are trapped on a remote island in the South Pacific. Doctor Jack, now-freed prisoner Kate, one-hit-wonder rock singer Charlie, Iraqi war veteran Sayid, and a strange guy named Locke are among the survivors. For a while, their objective is simply survival, but they quickly discover that their meeting was far more than coincidence and that each of them has a role that will aid them in unraveling the island’s mysteries.
5. Liar Game (2007–2010)
As the title implies, Liar Game is a deception game in which participants must either lie their way to a hundred million yen or lose and incur the same debt. Unlike Squid Game, which contains activities that need both intellect and brawn, this series is more focused on logic and reasoning, but it will still be enthralling for new viewers.
Nao, a trusting and naïve character, finds herself drawn into the mysterious Liar Game, a game in which participants are given enormous sums of money and then have to scam each other out of them. A few become wealthy, while the majority remain in debt for the rest of their lives. Nao’s adversary is a former instructor. She seeks counsel from him, relieved, but is duped into handing him all her money.
Nao is frantic, having no clue how to recover the money and escape debt. When she receives information that a brilliant con artist, Shinichi Akiyama, is going to be freed from jail, she approaches him for assistance. Akiyama reluctantly accepts to be her right-hand man in the game.
As the two are drawn deeper into the game’s increasingly tough stages, it becomes obvious that their involvement was far from a coincidence.
6. 3% (2016 – 2020)
The Brazilian series 3% has a lot in common with the story of Squid Game. To begin, it is set in a world where there are significant class differences and the poor are compelled to participate in a series of exams to earn a position among the elite. Additionally, the show has a protagonist who, despite severe circumstances, maintains a strong sense of justice even when put to the ultimate test.
This Brazilian dystopian drama is set in a near-future So Paulo where twenty-year-old inhabitants of the poor Inland fight for admission to a utopian Offshore society via The Process, a tough and occasionally dangerous series of examinations that only 3% of participants pass.
7. The Purge (2018 – 2019)
As with Squid Game, The Purge’s drama is not limited to a violent game of survival. Rather than that, it delves further, revealing the inner workings of its characters and delving into the implications of their choices during moments of severe danger.
In a crime-ridden and congested America, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period during which any and all illegal activity—including murder—becomes lawful. The cops are unable to be contacted. Hospitals cease assistance.
It’s one night when the populace self-regulates without regard for a penalty. On this night of violence and pandemic crime, one family struggles to decide who they will become as a stranger comes knocking.
When an intruder enters James Sandin’s gated neighborhood during the annual lockdown, he sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to rip a family apart. Now it’s up to James, his wife, Mary, and their children to survive the night without turning into the monsters they’re hiding from.
8. Black Mirror (2011- )
Each new season brings with it a brief period of social media excitement – and with cause. Black Mirror has an uncanny capacity to take our worries and anxieties about technology and magnify them to the point where they resemble nightmare material.
Over the last decade, technology has altered nearly every area of our lives without allowing us to pause and reflect. Each house; each workstation; each palm has a plasma screen; a monitor; or a smartphone—a dark mirror of our twenty-first-century life. Black Mirror is a British anthology series set in the present day that features stories that delve into our common uneasiness about the modern world.
9. The Hunger Games (2012)
Without The Hunger Games, one of the most popular and successful modern versions of the “deadly competition” cliché, this list would be incomplete. The Hunger Games, like Squid Game, succeeds by utilizing its horrific premise to address modern societal issues.
Panem, a totalitarian society in the dystopian future, is divided into 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year, a lottery selects two young delegates from each district to compete in The Hunger Games. The televised games, which are half entertainment and part harsh retribution for a previous revolt, are broadcast across Panem.
The 24 participants are compelled to destroy their opponents in front of the inhabitants of Panem. When Katniss’ sixteen-year-old younger sister, Prim, is chosen as District 12’s female delegate, Katniss offers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, are matched against larger, stronger representatives who have spent their whole lives training for this.
Even though this is not exactly a TV show, it is still a series of movies and it is pretty similar in the premise to Squid Game.
10. High-Rise Invasion (2021- )
High-Rise Invasion deviates significantly from the standard “death competition” formula in that it is unclear whether this is truly a competition. At the end of the day, the objectives remain consistent: survival at any cost.
After seeing a man’s skull being broken open with an ax, 16-year-old Yuri Honjou trembles in terror and bewilderment as she escapes the masked assailant, only to discover she is stuck in an abandoned building with every door strangely shut. Yuri goes to the rooftop, desperate for a way out, but finds herself in a world devoid of life and surrounded by high-rise structures. Despite her sadness, Yuri is determined to find and rescue her brother after she discovers he is also in this weird world.
- RELATED: Is Squid Game Based on a True Story?
However, she quickly discovers that there are more masked killers in the neighborhood, eager to frighten their latest victims and gratify their sickest cravings, leading Yuri to wonder if they will survive.
11. Sense8 (2015-2018)
This is a show in which individuals from all around the world get psychologically connected. This group must battle for survival against others who fear them. While there are no challenges for them to fulfill like there are in Squid Game, the story follows a similar route of a motley group banding together in an escape quest.
Sense8 is a narrative about eight strangers, each from a different culture and region of the world. They all find themselves getting psychologically and emotionally bonded in the aftermath of a sad death they all witness through what they interpret as dreams or visions.
While the eight are attempting to decipher how and why this link occurred and what it signifies, a strange guy named Jonas attempts to assist them. Meanwhile, another stranger named Whispers pursues them, utilizing the same sensate ability to get complete access to a sensate’s mind (thoughts/sight) after staring into their eyes. Each episode highlights the perspectives of the individuals as they interact with one another, diving further into their past and what separates and unites them.
12. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (2007 – 2011)
As with Squid Game, Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor follows a lazy protagonist who is deeply in debt and trying to survive. That is when he discovers an underground gamble that appears to be a glimmer of hope but instead leads him further into the abyss.
Kaiji Itou is a hopeless squatter who spends his days drinking beer and stealing hubcaps—that is until he is duped by a former coworker. Unable to settle his friend’s massive debt on his own, Kaiji is offered a dubious opportunity to engage in an illegal underground gambling operation on a cruise ship. This proves to be nothing more than the start of his new hellish existence, as he is sucked headfirst into a life-threatening roller coaster of mind games, dishonesty, and deception.
Gyakkyou Burai is based on the first volume of Nobuyuki Fukumoto’s renowned gambling manga series. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor chronicles our unfortunate protagonist’s struggle against not just other people, but also the enigmas of their psyches. Kaiji learns the hard way that when people’s backs are against the wall, the worst aspects of human nature appear and that the most terrifying threats of all are greed, paranoia, and the human survival instinct itself.
13. The Future Diary (2011-2013)
My second recommendation for “Squid Game” lovers is the anime series “The Future Diary.” Yukiteru Amano is a 14-year-old loner who spends most of his time on his mobile phone “diary” dispassionately documenting events that occur around him. His sole companions are two fictitious characters: Dues ex Machina, the “god of time and space,” and Murmur, Dues’ mischievous assistant.
Yukiteru’s life takes a weird turn when his journal begins documenting events in advance and Dues reveals that he is not entirely fictitious, and a terrible turn when his diary forecasts his own imminent death. Yukiteru discovers that he has entered a survival game to choose who would succeed Dues as the god of time and space, fighting against 11 other individuals who also possess diaries that foretell the future in various ways.
However, Yukiteru does have one powerful ally: Yuno Gasai, a fellow student who is committed to defending Yukiteru at all means, even though she is a Future Diary bearer herself. She is also an obsessive and perhaps insane stalker who chronicles Yukiteru’s every action in 10-minute intervals in her own Future Diary.
14. The Society (2019)
Want another ensemble science fiction cast to binge-watch on Netflix? Consider The Society, which follows a group of teenagers as they witness one of the greatest mass disappearances in history.
When they travel to Connecticut, a busload of high school students encounters a storm and is forced to return. Regrettably, by the time they return home, each adult has vanished from their hometown. They’ll have to work cooperatively to unravel this massive enigma and restore order to the planet.
15. W: Two Worlds (2016)
With a unique storyline and a strong emphasis on sci-fi/fantasy elements, W is a series that thrives on its unpredictability. The “W” in this drama refers to the collision of two worlds, the actual world and an alternative one contained within a webtoon.
When the action shifts to a magical web-toon realm, this Korean drama truly comes into its own and delivers something completely unique. While the world’s laws are taught, the characters develop with each episode, and each chapter introduces something new and exciting. It’s an unexpected thrill journey from beginning to end that will keep you wondering till the conclusion.
The webtoon’s tale begins with a gorgeous and bright youngster named Kang Chul becoming renowned after winning a shooting competition. However, his celebrity is cut short when a mysterious assailant kills his family and he is falsely convicted of the crime. Yeon-Joo is the author’s daughter. She visits her father’s workshop to ascertain the circumstances surrounding his unexpected absence. There, she is drawn into W’s parallel reality, where she meets Kang Chul, the protagonist.