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Netflix subscribers are getting one of the decade’s best games this month

Key art for the Netflix version of Hades.
Supergiant Games

Hades, an exhilarating action roguelike that took the game industry by storm following its 1.0 launch in 2020, earned the #8 spot on Digital Trends’ best video games of all time list. Now coming to a new platform very soon: iOS.

As was teased last year, Hades will make the jump to mobile via the Netflix Games initiative. If you have a Netflix subscription, you can download and play Hades from the App Store for no additional cost starting on March 19. Ahead of its release, I attended a presentation held by Netflix and Supergiant Games to learn more about how the studio ported Hades to mobile, why it’s not on Android phones, and how the port will serve as a primer for the soon-to-launch early access version of Hades 2.

Hades | Pre-Registration Trailer | Netflix

Hades is a run-based roguelike where players try to escape the underworld as Hades’ son Zagreus. It’s not only an isometric action game that feels silky smooth to play with challenging but satisfying combat, but it keeps players engaged in the roguelike loop by smartly doling out bits of the story during runs. Once you get into a groove of playing Hades, it’s hard to get out of it. Creative Director Greg Kasavin says that Hades‘ design naturally fit handhelds like the Nintendo Switch, so Supergiant jumped at the opportunity to bring it to another mobile platform.

Supergiant spent over a year turning the iOS version into an “uncompromising” port of Hades that didn’t cut any content. It runs smoothly at 60 frames per second and has intuitive touchscreen controls, according to Supergiant. Players can reposition and resize all of the touchscreen controls — there’s even a dynamic stick that follows where a player places their thumb, and they’ll only appear when contextually relevant.

Players can also use mobile gaming controllers if they’re more comfortable playing Hades that way. Although I did not have a chance to go hands-on with it, it seems Supergiant is doing everything right with this Hades mobile port. There are only two downsides. First, Digital Trends confirmed that Hades on iOS won’t support cross-saves with other versions of the title. Second, there’s the fact it is an iOS exclusive.

Zagreus fights enemies in the mobile version of Hades.
Supergiant Games

For the most part, all Netflix games are available on iOS and Android, so it’s disappointing to see that such a significant addition to the service is locked to a single platform. I pressed Supergiant on this, and Publishing Director Will Turnbill explained that Supergiant used the MacOS version of Hades as a starting point for the mobile port. Kasavin also commented on the matter, explaining that historically, iOS has been the only mobile platform the small team at Supergiant has supported.

“We’ve worked on a number of mobile versions of our games in the past, and they’ve only ever been on iOS,” Kasavin says. “It’s where our development studio’s abilities lie. That’s been our area of focus. We know there are other devices and platforms out there. We get asked, ‘Can Hades come to those platforms?’ and so on, and we really appreciate those questions because it means there’s interest in the game. But as a small team, we have always had to be very selective about where we focus our development efforts. We wanted to make sure that this version of the game was as good as possible, and that meant working with a platform that we had familiarity with already.”

Zagreus walks around in the Netflix version of Hades.
Supergiant Games

I’m willing to give Supergiant the benefit of the doubt on that explanation because it’s working on Hades 2 in tandem with this mobile port, and that sequel will enter early access sometime this year. Kasavin wouldn’t reveal much new about the game in this presentation as Hades 2 is not confirmed for iOS or Netflix Games. He did explain that Supergiant worked on the iOS port and sequel in tandem, and that’s anticipating the audience’s interplay between the two titles.

Hades 2, as a direct sequel, builds upon a lot of the ideas from the original game. So it was very useful to be able to constantly remind ourselves about the original game while working on the sequel,” Kasavin says. “We’re excited by this opportunity to have a new version of the original Hades out there not too far before the launch of Hades 2. In a lot of ways, the two can kind of go hand in hand, so seeing people discuss both, seeing what they think of one versus the other, we’re all excited to see that kind of stuff.”

Kasavin says that Hades and Hades 2 “can be experienced in any order,” though, so don’t feel too bad if you miss out on one. Regardless, the original Hades is well worth playing, and this Netflix iOS release allows more people to do so. I highly recommend you check Hades out on any platform when you can.

Hades comes to iOS via Netflix Games on March 19, and you can already pre-register for it on the App Store. Hades 2 enters early access on PC sometime in Q2 2024.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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