Squid Game: The Challenge reviews hail best TV since The Traitors

A contestant in Squid Game: The ChallengeNetflix

Squid Game: The Challenge will see the return of the worldwide phenomenon in a reality TV format – and its first reviews have praised it as the “most gripping” television since The Traitors.

Some Netflix shows achieve popularity: Stranger Things took control of everyone’s Spotify playlists with Season 4 and Kate Bush’s iconic earworm, Wednesday triggered TikTok trends and became a go-to source of fancy dress inspiration, and Dahmer defied its grim content to become a smash hit.

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And then there’s Squid Game, the streamer’s biggest success to date. It premiered in 2021 and became a bona fide sensation, climbing to the top of the platform’s all-time ranking and whetting audiences’ appetites for more gruesome, desperate carnage.

While Season 2 is in the works, fans can satiate themselves this week with Squid Game: The Challenge – and it may be your next obsession.

Squid Game: The Challenge gets positive reviews

Reviews for Squid Game: The Challenge just dropped ahead of its release on Netflix this week, and its reception is pretty positive across the board.

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The Guardian wrote: “I was skeptical as to whether Squid Game, the smash-hit Korean thriller about a fight to the death involving children’s games, could work as a real-life TV show… yet [it] not only works but may turn out to be the most gripping reality TV since The Traitors.”

The Telegraph also wrote: “With money at stake, rather than life itself, some of the cooped-up politicking in the middle episodes smacks wearily of Big Brother. Other passages of play lean too heavily on popularity contests. But by the final few episodes the tension, intrigue and antagonism are bubbling to the boil. I’ve seen eight of the 10 episodes and am agog to discover how ruthless the last dollar-driven survivors can be.”

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Vulture’s reviewer acknowledged their concerns about the series going in, echoing others’ concerns about the inherent irony of turning a satirical game show into a real thing. “The Challenge projects itself with a refreshing frankness: about what it’s trying to do, what the game of reality television as a whole does to its participants, how those people behave in response,” they wrote.

“It feels honest, as though it doesn’t have to dress up what it’s doing in some loftier bullshit idea. In that sense, Squid Game: The Challenge isn’t just a good reality show. It’s a morally righteous one.”

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The Independent was cooler in its three-star review, writing: “Squid Game: The Challenge is obviously an epic of its genre. Like most epics, it’s overlong, overblown, and thinks it’s much smarter than it really is. But as a showcase for human desperation, and an illustration of the random brutality of chance, it just about sticks the landing.”

At the far end of the critical spectrum, Collider published a scathing write-up. “All the gimmicks it throws in at the margins can’t hide how morally bankrupt it is at its core. When we look back on the rise of streaming, Squid Game: The Challenge will be the show that saw the fires of hell and decided to find an even more craven low,” its review reads.

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Squid Game: The Challenge Rotten Tomatoes score

Squid Game: The Challenge has a 57% Rotten Tomatoes score right now.

However, it’s based on just seven reviews. As we saw with The Marvels, which opened with a Rotten rating before climbing to Fresh, the score can fluctuate with the first wave of critics, so we’ll keep this space updated.

Squid Game: The Challenge premieres on Netflix on Wednesday, November 22. You can find out more below:

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