Surprise! Crunchyroll has added games to its anime subscription service

Screenshot from Crunchyroll Game Vault showing Crunchyroll-Hime
(Image credit: Crunchyroll Game Vault)

Popular anime streaming service Crunchyroll has joined the likes of Netflix and Apple today by now offering games in addition to everything else it does. The new Crunchyroll Game Vault features a set of mobile games without ads or in-app purchases that subscribers can access at no additional charge.

There is, of course, a catch. Multiple catches, actually. First and foremost, Crunchyroll Game Vault is offering up mobile games only. In order to access them, you'll need an appropriate iOS or Android device. Additionally, taking advantage of Crunchyroll Game Vault games requires an active Crunchyroll Mega Fan or Ultimate Fan subscription, which cost $9.99 or $14.99 per month respectively, though both also include other benefits like offline viewing. And while it's beginning to roll out to folks starting today, the gates are being opened incrementally rather than all at once, so some folks might get access before others.

Given that this is a new addition to the preexisting subscriptions (albeit the higher-end ones) without any increase in price, it's hard to grumble at "more for the same amount of money." It's literally the definition of added value, and seems to be only the start.

"Crunchyroll Game Vault is a curated, focused library of premium titles for the global anime fan that loves gaming, adding even more value to Crunchyroll memberships by connecting fans with anime-infused content," said Terry Li, Executive Vice President of Emerging Business at Crunchyroll. "With Crunchyroll Game Vault, we’re also looking forward to working with international developers to bring their titles to mobile for the first time or introduce existing mobile games to the Crunchyroll community as part of an amazing line-up."

Moving forward in mobile style

River City Girls screenshot showing mobile interface and brawling

(Image credit: Arc System Works/WayForward)

Notably, there's no mention of releasing entirely new games for the service. That said, Crunchyroll actually already has a publishing arm, Crunchyroll Games, though it has historically opted to publish microtransaction-filled anime mobile games. Having played several games previously published by Crunchyroll Games – may I wish a fond farewell to the global version of Princess Connect! Re:Dive, which died earlier this year – it feels like Crunchyroll Game Vault has distanced itself a little, framing itself as much more of a premium offering.

While this will be a growing library, according to the announcement, it's launching with five games, including three new-to-mobile titles in the form of River City Girls, Captain Velvet: The Jump+ Dimensions, and Wolfstride. It will also include inbento and Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery, which are not new to mobile but are delightful additions regardless.

I know this for a fact because, ahead of the actual announcement, Crunchyroll provided me early access to the Crunchyroll Game Vault. I took a moment to test out each of the above, and actually did a little more than test Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery. I'd heard good things about it from when it was released some years back, and so I found myself saying, "one chapter more", again and again (and again) until I'd completed the whole thing in one sitting.

Behind the Frame screenshot showcasing a cat and art frames

(Image credit: Silver Lining Studio)

And this is just a taste of what's to come, you'd have to assume. It seems unlikely that Crunchyroll Game Vault will remain a paltry five games forever. While no upcoming titles are mentioned by name, it's clear that more are on the horizon. The aforementioned mobile games lineups at Netflix and Apple – the former bundled into the normal subscription and the latter a specific subscription all its own – have also added more and more over the years. And similar to Netflix, players should be able to discover Crunchyroll Game Vault titles through the Crunchyroll app or through the App Store and Google Play.

For me, the truly tantalizing thing about Crunchyroll Game Vault is that, technically, Crunchyroll and PlayStation are owned by the same conglomerate at the end of the day. Yes, the two companies officially file up through different business units, but it's all Sony's playground. I've long thought there to be obvious overlap between folks that play games and those that watch anime, and it certainly seems like Crunchyroll agrees. I won't speculate on what that might mean in the future, but it does make me wonder, and I can't imagine I am the only one.

If you're looking for anime rather than games, however, there's always our picks for the best anime to watch in 2023.

Rollin Bishop
US Managing Editor

Rollin is the US Managing Editor at GamesRadar+. With over 16 years of online journalism experience, Rollin has helped provide coverage of gaming and entertainment for brands like IGN, Inverse,, and more. While he has approximate knowledge of many things, his work often has a focus on RPGs and animation in addition to franchises like Pokemon and Dragon Age. In his spare time, Rollin likes to import Valkyria Chronicles merch and watch anime.