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Amazon Luna review: A giant leap for cloud gaming?

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £8.99
per month

Amazon Luna has plenty going for it, but concerns remain over cloud gaming and its game library lacks the wow factor


  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Solid performance
  • Impressive controller


  • Games catalogue could be better
  • Limited to 1080p/60fps
  • Extra subscriptions add up

Originally announced back in September 2020, Amazon Luna has finally made it to the United Kingdom. The cloud gaming service has been available in the US for over a year, but it wasn’t until March 2023 that Prime subscribers in the UK, Canada and Germany gained access to the platform.

The service is a welcome perk of Prime membership and runs well on both mobile and desktop. However, for the best experience – and a wider selection of games – you’re going to want additional subscriptions and the Luna Controller.

Doing so is still cheaper than buying a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X along with the latest AAA titles, but Luna sacrifices graphical fidelity and next-gen performance in the name of convenience and a low price of entry.

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Amazon Luna review: What you need to know

Video games are big business, so it’s no surprise that the world’s largest online retailer has been increasing its presence in the industry over the past decade. Amazon Games (formerly Amazon Game Studios) has developed and published a number of titles since its creation in 2012, including MMORPGs New World and Lost Ark, and the company spent nearly $1bn to acquire the popular video-game streaming platform Twitch in 2014.

Luna is a different proposition altogether. It’s Amazon’s attempt to crack the notoriously tough nut of cloud gaming, which sees games run on remote servers and streamed to a device of your choice. Device support is wide-ranging, with mobile gamers able to access Luna in the Safari web browser on their iPhone or iPad, or in Chrome on their Android handheld.

The service can also be accessed via the Chrome and Microsoft Edge web browsers on a desktop or laptop and via a dedicated app on Fire TV, Fire tablets and compatible Samsung smart TVs running the Tizen 6.0 operating system and above.

As games are being streamed directly from the cloud, you’ll need a high-speed internet connection to fully enjoy what’s on offer, with Amazon recommending a sustained download speed of 10Mbps to support gaming at Luna’s maximum resolution of 1080p and 60fps frame rate. It also suggests you connect to your Wi-Fi network’s 5GHz band if available. Testing for this review was undertaken on a full-fibre Hyperoptic connection with a 500Mbits/sec download speed and upload speed of 345Mbits/sec.

In addition to a choice of devices, Amazon Luna supports various control options. The best-integrated of these is the Luna Controller but if you own an Xbox One, DualSense, DualShock 4 or Razer Kishi controller you can use one of those instead. Mouse and keyboard controls are also supported, and there’s the option to use your phone as a controller or touchscreen controls for handheld gaming, too.

The games you have at your disposal will depend on the subscriptions you’re willing to shell out for. Prime membership provides access to a handful of rotating titles along with Ubisoft PC games you already own, while subscribing to Luna+ takes the number of available games to roughly 100. A subscription to Ubisoft+ lets you dip into the French publisher’s extensive back catalogue, with the Jackbox Games subscription adding around ten games bundles, each of which includes four or five irreverent quiz-based party games.

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Amazon Luna review: Price and competition

Access to Amazon Luna is included with an Amazon Prime subscription, which will set you back £9/mth or £95 annually. This only grants you access to a very limited number of Prime Gaming titles and these rotate on a monthly basis. Prime membership, of course, comes with various other benefits too, including fast, free delivery of items bought from Amazon and access to Prime Video and Prime Music.

Adding Luna+ to your package costs a further £9/mth, with Ubisoft+ and Jackbox Games subscriptions priced at £15/mth and £4/mth respectively. The Luna Controller is sold separately and has a list price of £60, while the official Amazon phone clip, which allows you to mount your mobile phone to the Luna Controller, is available for £13.

So, if you want every game available on Luna at your fingertips, you’re looking at a monthly outlay of just under £37, while £430 will cover you for a whole year. Throw in the controller and phone clip, and your total spend will be close to £500: similar to what you’d pay for the disc edition of the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X.

Despite the demise of Google’s take on the format – Google Stadia – there’s still an appetite for on-demand cloud gaming services, with gamers increasingly favouring digital downloads and streaming over buying physical games.

Sony and Microsoft have cloud streaming services as part of their PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions. To access PlayStation titles from the cloud, you’ll need to be signed up to the Premium tier of PS Plus, which costs £13.49/mth, £40 for a three-month subscription or £100 per year. Xbox’s Cloud Gaming service, meanwhile, is tied to Game Pass Ultimate, which is available on a one-month rolling subscription for £11/mth.

Further competition comes from Nvidia GeForce Now, which requires you to sign into your existing game store or publisher accounts and buy specific games before being able to play them over the cloud. Titles from Steam, Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Connect and GOG are supported but a number of publishers, including Capcom, Konami and Rockstar Games, have chosen to remove their games from the service.

GeForce Now offers a choice of three memberships. The first is free but you’re limited to one-hour play sessions and have to wait for a gaming PC to become available. Priority membership gives you preferential access to premium servers and a more powerful PC able to deliver 1080p resolution and up to 60fps. You’ll also be able to game for longer thanks to a six-hour session limit, although you’ll be paying either £9/mth or £45 every six months for the privilege.

The Ultimate tier extends that session limit to eight hours and draws on the power of PC rigs housing Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 GPU (this will be upgraded to the GeForce RTX 4080 when available) to unlock 4K resolution and 120fps frame rates. One month of GeForce Now Ultimate will set you back £18/mth, with a six-month subscription priced at £900.

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Amazon Luna review: Setup and interface

Amazon Luna requires very little effort to set up. In fact, if you’re accessing it via a web browser on your laptop, all you need to do is head to the Luna website, sign in using your Amazon credentials and you’re good to game. There are desktop applications for both Windows and Mac, too, and these are designed and function in the same way as the website.

There currently aren’t App Store or Google Play store Luna apps, but you can create a web app on mobiles and tablets easily enough. On iOS, simply navigate to Amazon’s Luna web page, tap the “Share” button at the bottom of the screen and then “Add to Home Screen”, while on Android, you hit the three dots to the right of the search bar in Chrome and install the app from there.

Things are even easier for those accessing Luna on Fire TV devices or Samsung smart TVs. Luna is available as a Fire TV and Fire TV Stick app, and the same app can be found through the Samsung Gaming Hub launcher bar or Samsung App Store on compatible Samsung TVs.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll find an interface that’s sensibly laid out and easy to navigate, regardless of whether you’re using a controller, touchscreen or mouse. There’s a narrow toolbar featuring seven tabs – Home, Library, Playlist, Search, Couch, Broadcast and Settings – running down the left side of the page, with the content from your selected tab populating the rest of the window.

The Home tab displays content in rows. At the top, you have “Continue playing”, which lists games you’ve previously fired up in reverse chronological order. Having this front and centre is a smart choice that allows you to pick up where you most recently left off very quickly.

Most of the other rows are dedicated to helping you find something new to play, with headings such as “Trending Games”, “Editor’s Picks” and “Newly Added To Luna”. There’s also a row showcasing Luna gameplay broadcasts on Twitch. Clicking one of these lets you watch the broadcast but Twitch isn’t fully integrated into the client, so you’ll need to hit the “Watch on Twitch” button if you want to chat and interact.

There’s also a Library tab that provides a list of all the games you’ve played and comes with some useful filtering and sorting options. These let you list games by Genre, Game Type and My Content (Epic Games, Jackbox, Luna+, Prime Gaming and Ubisoft+) and can be sorted by Title A-Z, Title Z-A, Release date, Recently added and Metacritic rating. These make finding games a quick and painless process, and if you spot something you like the look of but don’t fancy playing it right away, you can add it to the Playlist tab so you don’t forget about it.

“Couch” is a neat feature that lets you play local co-op games with friends that don’t have access to Luna (as long as they have an Amazon account). Fire up a compatible title, hit Tab+Shift on your keyboard or the Luna/centre button on your controller to bring up the in-game Luna overlay and you’ll be able to select “Start a Luna Couch session”. Doing so creates a code that can then be shared with a friend, who can then enter it on the Luna website and join your session from wherever they are.

For those wanting to share their gaming experience with the wider world, Luna offers the ability to broadcast your gameplay directly to Twitch. Once you’ve linked your Luna and Twitch accounts, you can stream your play sessions to your viewers and launch Luna games from Twitch.

Finally, the Settings tab lets you tweak a few key aspects of your Luna experience. From here, you can manage your connected controllers and subscriptions, set parental controls, link Luna to your Epic Games, Twitch, Ubisoft and Discord accounts and adjust audio and video quality. The audio and video options are limited, however. You can only select between 720p and 1080p resolutions, which use roughly 5GB and 10GB of data per hour, and whether you want stereo, 5.1 surround or 7.1 surround sound or have the audio output set automatically.

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Amazon Luna review: Control methods

While you can use third-party controllers with Luna, the service is optimised for use with the official Luna Controller. This can be powered by USB-C or a pair of AA batteries, and Amazon includes a couple in the box. They aren’t rechargeable, however, and rechargeable options can’t be topped up in the Luna when connected via USB-C. It’s difficult to say exactly how much gaming you’ll get from the included batteries and Amazon doesn’t quote any figures, but my pair still had around 75% juice remaining after over ten hours of playtime.

One of the Luna Controller’s advantages over third-party options is its ability to connect over Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth and USB-C, which Amazon says reduces latency by between 17 and 30 milliseconds. I experienced no obvious delay between button inputs and onscreen responses while connected to the servers over Wi-Fi, but controls didn’t feel any less responsive when using the Luna Controller and DualSense over Bluetooth.

Using Wi-Fi connectivity also means you can switch quickly between playing on different devices. If you’re playing on your phone and open the same game on your laptop, for instance, Luna detects this and asks whether you want to continue playing on the new device.

Vibration functionality is supported, as is the use of a headset connected via the controller’s 3.5mm port. When you’re not using a headset, the Luna Controller’s built-in microphone can be used for in-game voice chat, in conjunction with the Luna Controller mobile app. And Alexa commands are available via a dedicated push-to-talk button when you’re playing on a Fire TV or Fire tablet. None of these features is supported when using a third-party controller.

The controller itself is similar to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which is no bad thing given we rate that as the best Switch controller on the market. The Luna Controller weighs slightly more with batteries in (282g vs 249g) and the triggers and bumpers are narrower but the locations for the thumbsticks, D-pad and A/B/X/Y buttons are all the same. The Luna Controller felt great in my hands and all of the buttons proved responsive and pleasingly tactile.

Mouse and keyboard controls worked well for desktop gaming, but I’d recommend avoiding using your phone as a controller or touchscreen controls for anything other than very simple quiz, puzzle or platform games. The button overlay that’s displayed when Touch mode is engaged detracts from the onscreen action and the screens of most smartphones simply aren’t cut out to support the intricate inputs required by many modern games.

Amazon Luna review: Game selection

This is where cloud gaming services sink or swim and, for a service in its infancy, Luna has a reasonable range of games in its roster. That’s only when you have access to the full suite of subscriptions, however.

At the time of writing, the games available to Prime members numbered five: Fortnite, Lego DC Super-Villains, Overcooked!, Resident Evil 2 (2019) and Time on Frog Island. Lego games appeal to people of all ages so this is a crowd-pleasing inclusion, while RE2 is one of the best remakes ever made so gets a big thumbs up. Fortnite is immensely popular and another big draw, although it’s free to play on numerous other platforms. The other two titles both have Metacritic scores of above 75 and round out a pretty strong and undeniably eclectic quintet.

Purchasing a Luna+ subscription opens up your options considerably. The total number of games available came in at close to 100 and these were a mix of lesser-known indie titles, classic older games and some AAA titles from recent years such as Control, Devil May Cry 5 and Resident Evil 3 Remake. Most popular genres are represented by at least one or two titles, meaning you should be able to find something that appeals, no matter your gaming persuasion.

If that persuasion happens to be large-scale, open-world RPGs or tactical shooters, you’ll probably want to splash out on the Ubisoft+ subscription. This gives you access to a sizeable proportion of the Ubisoft back catalogue, which includes every Far Cry game from Far Cry 2 onwards, entries in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, The Division and Rainbow Six series and various Assassin’s Creed games, including 2020’s Valhalla. A full list of titles in the Ubisoft+ subscription plan is available on the Ubisoft website.

Far Cry 6 and Valhalla are games I paid full price for at launch; had I not done so, I’d have had no problem whatsoever paying £15 to access them for a month, finishing them, and pausing my subscription until Assassin’s Creed Mirage comes out later this year. That’s one of the advantages of a service such as Luna: you can pick and choose when your subscription is active. This is, of course, dependent on the games you want to play coming to the platform in the first place.

The final batch of games require a Jackbox Games subscription. There are around ten game packs, each containing a handful of party games that revolve around quizzing and puzzle solving. They make for decent fodder when entertaining guests or stimulating your brain on a commute but unless you’re a bona fide egghead, you’re unlikely to sink too much time into them.

This might sound like a lot but, ultimately, Luna’s game library has a lot of room for improvement. The games available to Prime members at the time of writing were on a par with the offerings seen most months on PS Plus but, despite covering a lot of bases, the Luna+ library lacks the heavy-hitting new releases found on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in particular. Many of Luna’s most attractive titles are locked behind the pricey Ubisoft+ subscription, while Jackbox Games has niche appeal.

Amazon Luna review: Performance

Of equal importance to the selection of games is how well they run, and my experience with Luna was a largely positive one, though not without the occasional hiccup.

I was able to access games on the servers reliably and within a couple of minutes apart from on two occasions. The first saw “Requesting server” remain onscreen indefinitely and forced me to quit the app and reopen it. The second culminated in a message stating there’d been an error creating a session of Resident Evil 3, but I was able to return to Racoon City without incident at the second attempt. Load times were longer than on a next-gen console such as the Sony PS5 but I never found myself waiting more than two or three minutes before being able to jump into the action.

Luna games are streamed at up to 1080p at 60fps, with an option to cap the resolution at 720p. Amazon has said that 4K support is coming but, for the time being, compromises are made where the graphical fidelity of newer games is concerned. Given many people are likely to be playing Luna games on a Full HD monitor, laptop or phone, this isn’t a huge deal, and visuals are perfectly adequate. They pale in comparison to those you can enjoy with a next-gen console hooked up to a 4K TV, however.

My gameplay experiences were smooth for the most part, but I did encounter some minor stuttering and a brief period of choppy audio during Resident Evil 3, and two screen freezes during Devil May 5, which also saw the controller disconnected from the cloud. The latter incidents suggest some gremlins on the server side and were definitely red flags but, fortunately, they weren’t frequent enough to detract too much from the overall experience.

It’s also worth noting that they occurred while playing at around 10pm in the evening, which is likely to be when the server load is at its peak. I suffered no such problems when playing during the day and was able to finish third, tenth and first in consecutive Fortnite battle royales without experiencing any noteworthy performance issues.

The Luna Couch feature impressed, too, with a colleague able to join me in playing Lego DC Super-Villains and Metal Slug easily. Said colleague was unable to switch from using a mouse and keyboard to the Luna Controller without restarting the Lego game at my end but, otherwise, we were able to smash bricks to our heart’s content. He did note one instance of lag and a bit of frame-rate chugging during Metal Slug but described his experience over a connection with a 310Mbits/sec upload speed as positive.

While not related to performance directly, I do want to air my frustration about Amazon asking you to rate every single gameplay session. I understand it wants to keep tabs on how the service is running but I wish there were a way to prevent the feedback form popping up every time you close a game.

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Amazon Luna review: Verdict

Amazon Luna definitely has potential. The platform is easy to use, you can access it on a wide range of devices and there are plenty of control options. There wasn’t much to complain about regarding performance, either; I experienced the odd issue, but games generally ran smoothly.

Long-standing concerns about cloud gaming can’t be ignored, however. You’re at the mercy of Amazon and its partners when it comes to which games you can play and, with titles being regularly rotated and removed, there’s no guarantee a game you’ve sunk countless hours into won’t one day disappear. And, as it stands, Xbox’s Cloud Gaming service offers a superior range of better-quality games to Luna+, albeit at a slightly higher monthly price.

That said, if you’re already a paid-up member of the Prime brigade, Luna is a welcome bonus. You can enjoy the rotating games while they’re available and take out subscriptions to the additional services as and when something specific catches your eye. It’s no match for a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X hooked up to one of the best 4K TVs but, given its inherent limitations, the gaming experience Luna delivers is a surprisingly satisfying one.

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