A common denominator among the current generation’s best video games is that they’re all quite long, whether you play them just for the story or to completion for some Platinum trophy bragging rights. Games like Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us Part II can take around 40 to 50 hours to complete, while games like Persona 5 Royal and The Witcher 3 go the extra mile, taking over a hundred hours each.
Triple-A releases being several dozens of hours long isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When a game’s got a 3,000-peso price tag, it can feel like a ripoff if you can finish it in one day. On the developer’s side, it probably isn’t ideal for them either if the games they’d spent years working on can be finished in just a short period of time. Long games have their place, and I myself am a big fan of games that take their time to tell a story.
That said, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who find long games to be too much of an investment. For people who have demanding jobs, tight schedules, or even just children (shoutout to the gamer parents out there), long games can take too much time and mental exertion, and that’s on top of their steep release-day prices. It’s unreasonable to expect that anyone simply has 200+ extra hours to put into Skyrim or Monster Hunter: World.
This list is for those who might be too busy to play those big-name long games but can still find time on the weekends for some light play. The games listed below won’t take more than a day to finish, and you can often pick them up for low prices during sales. They’re cheap, they don’t take a lot of time, but they’ll surely deliver the quick gaming fix you’re looking for.
Here are five great games you can finish in one day.
Average Play Time: 6 hours
Transistor is a cyberpunk-themed action game from beloved indie studio Supergiant Games. It tells the story of a singer named Red, who comes into possession of a large, sword-like weapon called the Transistor. Red, whose voice was also stolen by the Transistor, must find and defeat the people behind the weapon’s creation in order to get her voice back.
Transistor’s gameplay is set on an isometric view, and allows players to fight enemies through both real-time combat, and a frozen-time planning mechanic called “Turn()”. Throughout the game’s progression, you’ll unlock new abilities for Transistor, giving you an edge against increasingly tougher opponents and bosses.
With an average playthrough time of just six hours, Transistor is a beautifully designed game in a small package, and its short length doesn’t hinder its story from fully developing. It’s a masterclass in short, narrative-driven games, and it’s available on Mac, PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4.
Average Play Time: 3 hours for Portal, 8 ½ hours for Portal 2
If by some miracle you’ve never heard of the Portal series, they’re 3D platforming puzzle games that center on a mechanic of teleportation portals. You carry a portal gun (referred to in-game as the “Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device”) that can shoot one blue portal and one orange portal, and jumping into one of them will let you exit through the other. It’s a simple mechanic that truly shines through the two Portal games’ cleverly designed levels.
The Portal games are absolute classics, and they belong on every gamer’s must-play list. Having been released on multiple platforms and often going on sale, there’s no reason not to get yourself a copy of both games. With the first one having a quick average playtime of just three hours, and the second one being more than twice as long at eight and a half hours, these two classics would be great for some weekend gaming.
Average Play Time: 2 ½ hours for The Room, 3 hours for The Room 2, 5 hours for The Room 3
No, it’s not a video game adaptation of the cult-hit movie by Tommy Wiseau (though there is a video game tribute for that), but it’s definitely just as entertaining and with a similar runtime.
The Room is a series of first-person view puzzle games that let you tinker around with elaborate puzzle boxes as you search for the solutions to each one. It’s reminiscent of those puzzle boxes you can buy at novelty stores, but The Room’s video game medium allows for its puzzles to defy real-life physics. Certain objects will float in the air, and some puzzles will require some forced perspective mechanics to solve.
With a gothic, steampunk-like art style and a haunting soundtrack, the two to five hours you’ll spend playing The Room will make you feel like a mad genius about to discover the existence of Cthulhu through some magic puzzles. It’s a fun mix of puzzle-solving and horror elements that’ll keep you engaged without scaring you off, and it’s available on Mac, PC, iOS, and Android.
Average Play Time: 2 ½ hours
Superhot is yet another excellent short game whose gameplay revolves around one core mechanic. In Superhot, the core mechanic is that time only passes whenever you make a move. Time stop powers aside, the game plays like a first-person shooter, and it’s got a minimalist, ultra-stylish design that only makes use of three colors: red, black, and white.
The simple yet clever execution of Superhot’s time-based combat is what makes it so fun and challenging to figure out. You have the advantage of seeing how your enemies move and where they’ll come from, but you’ll also need to move out of the way of incoming bullets and projectiles currently frozen in time. It’s a first-person shooter, but it often feels like a puzzle game because of all the planning you’ll need to clear each stage.
With an average playtime of just two and a half hours, you might even feel like Superhot is too short, but fear not: its highly replayable sequel, Superhot: Mind Control Delete is out now. You can get both on Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and select VR consoles.
Average Play Time: 3 ½ hours
Little Nightmares is a short puzzle-platforming horror game from Tarsier Studios, who are most known for their LittleBigPlanet games. It’s an important thing to note because Little Nightmares looks and feels like if the LittleBigPlanet games were made to be grotesque, dark, and frightening.
In Little Nightmares, you take control of a tiny girl named Six, as you try to escape through nightmarish environments collectively referred to as the Maw. As you sneak through each level, you’ll encounter pursuers as well as puzzles that’ll block your way. While most of the game’s puzzles can be easily solved, its difficulty lies in the varying behaviors of the game’s enemies. Little Nightmares is basically the scariest game of hide and seek you’ll ever play, with the seekers changing every level.
While the base game of Little Nightmares has an average playtime of three and a half hours, the game has some DLC to keep you entertained (and scared) for an extra four or five hours. If you’re tired of playing the usual horror games with jump scares and scary ghosts chasing you around, I highly recommend checking Little Nightmares out. It won’t take you more than a day.
So those were five great games you can finish in one day. Do you have a favorite short game not included in this list? Share it with us in the comments! There are a lot of great short games out there, so I’m sure I missed quite a few of them.
For more news and updates on games short and long, be sure to like and follow our page. It’ll only take a minute.
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