10 best survival drama shows like Squid Game

by netflix Squid game is a dark Korean survival drama series that not only fascinates viewers with its stunning visuals and gripping action, but also with its commentary on human morality. Drawing on the incredibly popular “Battle Royale” format, it grabs viewers’ attention with its heartbreaking dystopian visuals of a desolate island, captivates them with its solid performance, and leaves them hungry for more of its intriguing survival games. .

RELATED: The 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Battles Royales In The Movies, Ranked

The show has taken the streaming service by storm and is featured in posts like Cnet as “the world’s largest non-English language show”. For this reason, it’s no surprise that after watching it, many viewers are looking for similar shows that feature demented survival games and lopsided dystopian drama.

ten Snowpiercer (2020 -) available on HBO Max

Daveed Diggs as Andre Layton in Snowpiercer

Set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world, Snowdrops takes place in a moving train that circles the globe. As the world outside the train remains uninhabitable following a failed experiment on climate change, a horrific class war ensues inside. Serving as a loose sequel to Bong Joon-ho’s point of view on the graphic novel The Transperceneige, the series stays true to the dystopian steampunk aesthetic and innovative world-building of auteur film.

However, unlike the film, instead of just revolving around violent class revolutions of the poor against the rich, it unfolds more like a mysterious noir drama that gradually plunges into the fleshy belly of the train. Similar to Squid game, the series also offers a white-handed survival action, all the more exciting because of its socio-economic nuances.

9 The Purge (2018 – 2019) available on Hulu

the purge 2019 season 2 poster

Further consolidating the mythology and world-building of the original film series, The purge season 1 received mixed reviews from viewers and critics alike. Despite everything, his cutting edge survival action and his unfailing vision of human values ​​in crisis were appreciated by many.

RELATED: The Purge – The 10 Best Characters In The Franchise

Similar to Squid game, The purge does not confine its drama to a brutal game of survival. Instead, it goes beyond that, highlighting the inner workings of its characters, while also exploring the consequences of their actions in times of extreme peril. While at it, it rarely leaves a dull moment and forces viewers to reflect on their own values ​​and beliefs.

8 Danganronpa (2013 -) Available on Hulu & Funimation


Adapted from an eponymous video game, Danganronpa takes place in a prestigious school where the best students in the nation come together for graduate studies. They don’t realize that they’ll soon be trapped in his heart-wrenching classrooms, forced to survive a deathmatch against each other.

While the premise of Dranganronpa has a lot in common with Squid game, the animated series has more of a fantasy appeal and less psychological drama. Additionally, due to its limited runtime, the anime leaves several stones unturned, but still features enough shocking and spooky action scenes to satiate most viewers.

7 Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor (2007 – 2011) available on Crunchyroll

Kaiji wielding a card in Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor

Just like Squid game, Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor features a lax protagonist who is deeply in debt and struggles to stay afloat. That’s when he learns of the existence of a clandestine bet that looks like a ray of hope but throws him further into the hole.

It’s fair to say that Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor is almost like an anime version of Squid game. Much like the Netflix show, the anime uses a series of games as its narrative device, in which each is mired in lies, slander, politics, and the murky waters of human survival instinct. In each episode, the main characters of both shows struggle to choose between survival and sanity and struggle to maintain their morals.

6 Alice in Borderland (2020 -) available on Netflix

alice on the border

While Squid game takes place on an isolated island, Alice in the land of borders takes its deadly gaming setup to another level and is set in an abandoned version of Tokyo. For gamer Arisu and his friends, it’s this ghost town that becomes the playground for a plethora of dangerous games they must survive.

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Identical to those of Squid game, the central characters of Alice in the land of borders are ordinary people who do not have special abilities. It is this lack of power that makes them easier to understand and their adventures more captivating. Along with that, the show also entertains viewers with its thoughtful survival games, awesome CGIs, and wry humor.

5 3% (2016 – 2020) Available on Netflix

Brazilian show characters 3%

brazilian series 3% shares many narrative parallels with Squid game. For starters, it takes place in a world where strong class divisions exist and the poor are forced to participate in a series of tests to have a chance to find a place among the elite. The show also features a protagonist who, despite dire circumstances, retains his keen sense of justice, even during the darkest tests.

With a whole bunch of intense survival games up front, 3% packed with social commentary and high octane action scenes. And although its output, at times, may not be comparable to that of Squid game, it makes up for it with its convincing twists and strong characterizations.

4 Liar’s Game (2009 – 2010) Available on Youtube

Characters from the Japanese series Liar Game

As the name suggests, Liar game focuses on a deception competition where competitors must lie to win one hundred million yen or lose and have the same amount of debt. contrary to Squid game, which features games that combine both brain and muscle, this series focuses more on logic and reasoning. For the players, their life is not on the line, but the stakes remain high and they must use ingenious means to win the grand prize.

Instead of using action scenes to stimulate viewers, Liar game thrives on its meticulous premises and clever mind games. Maybe that’s why it might not be as relevant as Squid game, but it will still prove to be scintillating for first-time viewers.

3 Gantz (2004) available on Amazon

Gantz Anime Characters in Black Battle Costumes

Hiroya Oku’s manga, Gantz, has received several adaptations over the years, including several films and an animated series. While not to critical acclaim, the anime has all the right ingredients to appeal to fans of the battle royale subgenre. The series centers on Kei Kurono, who dies in an accident and soon finds himself in a posthumous game with several others.

RELATED: 10 Scariest Horror Movies Inspired By Manga

As disturbing as Squid game may seem, its violence pales in comparison to what is seen in Gantz. And unlike the Korean drama Netflix, the anime rarely tries to justify the actions of its characters. Instead, he focuses on portraying a rather sadistic side of humanity. It is therefore only suitable for viewers who do not have a sensitive heart.

2 Sweet Home (2020 -) Available on Netflix

Hyun Soo holding a handmade knife in Sweet Home

From a scenario point of view, Sweet home is simple: most humans turn into monsters while the rest try to survive. However, what makes it such a fascinating drama is its philosophical underpinnings. Highlighting the battle between good and evil, the show makes viewers wonder what it really means to be human.

He has a huge roster of characters like Squid game, but despite its runtime limited to 10 episodes, it manages to divide its time among all and give satisfactory developments to all. It’s this emphasis on the human element that makes it poignant and memorable enough to be remembered, even after the credits start.

1 Lost (2004 – 2010) Available on Hulu

All characters from Lost (2004)

Due to its rabid popularity in the mid-years, Lost is a dystopian survival drama that doesn’t need to be presented. It doesn’t exactly revolve around a series of battle royale games. However, similar to Squid game, it takes place on an island where a group of humans face mysterious challenges that force them to question their virtues.

Since the execution of Lost spanning over 100 episodes, its mythology is vast and extremely deep. On top of that, like most long-running series, its plot, at times, winds in many twists and turns. But it’s these inventive twists that ultimately add to its overall appeal, making it worthy of multiple occasions.

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