Shows like Squid Game
You know the Squid Game syndrome is real when you begin to search for similar content under the “More Like This” tab on Netflix. But this function is hit-or-miss sometimes. To save you the trouble, we’ve collated 11 shows like Squid Game that will give you the same adrenaline rush.
1. Liar Game
Image credit: tvN
- Lee Sang-yoon as Cha Woo-jin
- Kim So-eun as Nam Da-jung
- Shin Sung-rok as Kang Do-yeong
- Cha Soo-yeon as Lee Yoon-joo
Liar Game is a Korean drama adapted from the manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Kaitani Shinobu. Prior to the Korean adaptation, Liar Game was originally made into a Japanese drama starring Erika Toda and Shota Matsuda in 2007.
Liar Game revolves around a survival game where participants are in it to win KRW10 billion (~USD848,087). One of the participants is Nam Da-jung, an ordinary student who receives an invitation to join the game.
Da-jung desperately needs money as she is in debt, so she participates in the game despite her misgivings. In order to win the prize money, she reaches out to Ha Woo-jin, a former psychology professor and swindler with exceptional intellect.
2. Battle Royale
Image credit: Toei Company
- Tatsuya Fujiwara as Shuya Nanahara
- Aki Maeda as Noriko Nakagawa
- Taro Yamamoto as Shogo Kawada
- Kou Shibasaki as Mitsuko Souma
- Takeshi Kitano as Kitano
Battle Royale is a Japanese film adapted from the novel of the same name by Koushun Takami.
42 students are randomly selected and sent to an abandoned island every year. On this island, a world of grisly games unfolds, and there can only be one ultimate survivor. If there were to be multiple survivors, the organisers would kill all of them.
At the beginning of the game, the students are given basic necessities for survival – food, a map, and weapons. The games run for three days, during which the students have to think of ways to eliminate each other.
Forget trying to break the rules or run away – the students have to wear an explosive collar around their neck that explodes when they step out of line.
3. As the Gods Will
Image credit: Toho Company
- Ryunosuke Kamiki as Amaya Takeru
- Mio Yuki as Shoko Takase
- Sota Fukushi as Shun Takahata
- Hirona Yamazaki as Ichika Akimoto
- Shota Sometani as Satake
As the Gods Will is a 2014 Japanese film adapted from the first part of a manga series written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro.
The film follows a group of high school students who are coerced into playing a series of deadly childhood games, including “Daruma-san ga koronda” (達磨さんが転んだ), also known as the Japanese equivalent of “Red Light, Green Light”.
These high school students have no clue who the mastermind is, and they have no idea why they were forced to participate. However, one thing is clear – if they lose any of the games, they will die.
4. Alice in Borderland
Image credit: Netflix
- Kento Yamazaki as Ryohei Arisu
- Tao Tsuchiya as Yuzuha Usagi
- Nijiro Murakami as Chishiya
- Aya Asahina as Kuina
- Keita Machida as Karube
Adapted from the manga of the same title written by Haro Aso, Alice in Borderland revolves around a strange world where players are forced to participate in a series of life-and-death games.
The protagonist, Arisu, has no choice but to join the game with two of his friends after finding themselves stranded in the middle of Shibuya. They are given a visa after they win the first game, and this visa is extended each time they survive a game. If the players do not participate in a game and their visa expires, they will be killed by a laser.
Over the course of the series, Arisu teams up with other players to piece together fragments of the mystery that brought them to the game in the first place.
5. Death Bell
Image credit: MBK Entertainment
- Nam Gyu-ri as Yi-na
- Kim Beom as Kang Hyeon
- Lee Beom-soo as Hwang Chang-ok
- Hahm Eun-jung as Kim Ji-won
Death Bell is a 2008 Korean horror film set in a high school. The nightmare begins just one day before the most important examination in Korea – the university entrance exam.
24 high school students are trapped in a classroom, and there is no way out. Out of the blue, the classroom is lit by a television screen showing Hye-yeong, the top student in their school, who is trapped in an aquarium and tied to a chair.
The aquarium begins to fill with water just as an unknown voice announces that the 24 students must complete the given exam within a fixed time.
If they are unable to do so, their lives will be at stake. Also, Hye-yeong will drown to death.
6. A Million
Image credit: Sidus Pictures
- Shin Min-a as Jo Yoo-jin
- Park Hae-il as Han Ki-tae
- Lee Min-ki as Park Cheol-hee
- Park Hee-soon as Director Jang
A Million is a 2009 Korean movie about a survival reality show with eight participants who are in it to win KRW10 billion (~USD848,087).
In order to win the prize money, the eight participants must camp for a week in an Australian desert. But little do they know that their lives are at stake if they fail to complete the given challenges.
Fun fact: A Million was actually filmed in Australia.
Image credit: Toho Company
- Tatsuya Fujiwara as Kaiji Itō
- Yūki Amami as Rinko Endō
- Teruyuki Kagawa as Yukio Tonegawa
- Ken Mitsuishi as Kōji Ishida
- Kenichi Matsuyama as Makoto Sahara
Kaiji was adapted from the first part of a manga series written by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. The film was released in 2009, followed by Kaiji 2 in 2011 and Kaiji: Final Game in 2020.
Kaiji revolves around the eponymous main character, Kaiji Itō. After he graduates from high school, Kaiji spends most of his time drinking and gambling. As a result, he is heavily in debt.
One day, a debt collector approaches Kaiji and proposes two options. The first option is to work day and night for a decade to pay off his debt. The second option is to spend a night on a gambling boat to pay off his debt. The latter option sounds too good to be true, and little does Kaiji know that the debt collector is actually a swindler.
Image credit: Toho Company
- Kazunari Ninomiya as Kei Kurono
- Kenichi Matsuyama as Masaru Kato
- Yuriko Yoshitaka as Tae Kojima
- Kanata Hongo as Joichiro Nishi
- Natsuna Watanabe as Kei Kishimoto
GANTZ was adapted from the manga series of the same name written by Hiroya Oku, and the film was released in 2011.
GANTZ follows two protagonists, Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, who are childhood friends. One day, Kurono chances upon Kato at a train station. But their ordinary encounter becomes unusual – after an accident that should have killed them, they are transported to an unknown apartment with an enormous black ball that calls itself “Gantz”.
The orb forces the people in the apartment to eliminate aliens within a set timeframe. Each kill awards them points, and Kurono and Kato must achieve a total of 100 points in order to leave the strange apartment. Otherwise, their lives will be taken.
9. Escape Room
Image credit: Sony Pictures
- Taylor Russell as Zoey Davis
- Logan Miller as Ben Miller
- Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda Harper
- Tyler Labine as Mike Nolan
- Nik Dodani as Danny Khan
Escape Room is all about solving a series of puzzles and escaping rooms to survive the games of life and death. Whoever makes it out alive will win a prize money of USD$10,000.
There are a total of six participants, and they come from all walks of life. Before they were invited to join the game, a puzzle cube was given to them anonymously. Only those who successfully solved the puzzle cube could join the game.
Unlike the straightforward games played in Squid Game, the puzzles presented in Escape Room are complex and require the participants to think on their feet.
10. Fermat’s Room
Image credit: Brunbro Entertainment Group
- Federico Luppi as Fermat
- Alejo Sauras as Galois
- Elena Ballesteros as Oliva
- Santi Millán as Pascal
- Lluís Homar as Hilbert
Fertmat’s Room follows four brilliant mathematicians who are invited to solve complicated numerical riddles.
The mathematicians go by pseudonyms as their identities must remain unknown to one another. Upon accepting the invitation, they enter a room, and the host tasks them with a series of riddles and puzzles to solve.
As the four mathematicians engage in their given tasks, the walls of the room begin to close. If they fail to solve the riddles within the time limit, they will not make it out alive.
11. The Hunger Games
Image credit: Lionsgate
- Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
- Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
- Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
- Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
Based on Suzanne Collins’s YA series of the same name, The Hunger Games is about a televised battle royale that takes place in Panem, which is divided into 12 districts. Each district must present two participants, who are also known as the Tributes.
The 12 Tributes engage in a merciless fight for survival as people across Panem witness their trials and tribulations onscreen. Those who win will then enjoy a life of luxury, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Shows like Squid Game if you crave an adrenaline rush
Dip your toes into a wider world of mind-boggling survival games by watching these 11 shows like Squid Game. Also, you can read more about Squid Game here, and get to know more about cast members Jung Ho-yeon and Wi Ha-joon.
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Cover image adapted from: MBK Entertainment, Netflix and Sony Pictures