With so many great titles out on the market now, video game fans may be a bit overwhelmed by the amount of choices available to them. Players must constantly weigh the cost of time in their minds to get the most out of their purchases. Luckily, there are plenty of games lasting only a handful of hours that are definitely worth the attention and the investment. The following list breaks down those games you can beat in one sitting in between all the big tentpole releases.
Games You Can Beat in One Sitting: Limbo
Limbo is as haunting as it is beautiful. Players take control over a nameless boy who must journey through a 2D environment filled with deathly horrors like spike traps and horrible spiders. The entire game is painted in two colors, black and gray, contributing to the stark fantasy the silent protagonist must endure through.
A lot of Limbo‘s story and emotional moments lie in the title’s gameplay, meaning players should pay attention to what they’re doing during the three hours or so it takes to beat it. This indie is nothing short of a modern classic that deserves to be played by anyone in the mood for some good old-fashioned horror—especially with Halloween right around the corner.
Games You Can Beat in One Sitting: Rime
Inspired by games like Ico before it, Rime sees a nameless boy wash up on the shores of an unknown island, not knowing what he should do. He befriends a fox and begins to explore this new world while a shadowy figure observes him from a distance. As players begin to immerse themselves in this five hour journey, a memorable score pulls the adventure along. With little to no UI, verbal communication, or maps, it’s quite easy to get lost in Rime. Though it might be one of the longer single sittings, the ending is most definitely worth it.
Games You Can Beat in One Sitting: Inside
If you’ve played Limbo and found it to be right up your alley, its spiritual successor, Inside, may be just for you. Featuring the same dark tone from the aforementioned title, Inside also boasts horrific environmental hazards and challenging-but-fair puzzle segments.
Also running about three hours, much of the game’s story is told through the world in which a little boy must escape from, one where scientists experiment on hapless citizens and control their every move. Inside will stick with you well after its credits roll, leaving you simultaneously satisfied and perplexed.
Games You Can Beat in One Sitting: Firewatch
Set in the Wyoming wilderness, Firewatch sees players journey through a beautifully rendered world that’s in many ways comparable to a watercolor painting come to life. The roughly four-hour adventure is predominantly reliant upon a conversation with a woman through a handheld radio.
There’s little else to hold one’s hand along the way, as the dialogue between its two characters holds enough emotion to leave a lasting impression on its own. To say more about the game would spoil its shocking revelations. For a quiet afternoon alone, you can’t go wrong with Firewatch.
Games You Can Beat in One Sitting: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons sees two siblings embark on an adventure to save their father’s life. It’s inventive in that much of its puzzles rely on each brother in order to be completed and that each character is controlled by moving the right and left analog sticks simultaneously.
Its most compelling, emotional aspects lie in the very mechanics used to navigate through the game make it unlike anything the industry has seen before. The theme of complimenting one another and helping your partner when he’s down is there throughout the four-hour experience, lasting with you well into your next Fortnite session and making you wonder why more games haven’t followed suit.
Games You Can Beat in One Sitting: Journey
Journey is a three-hour experience that might not be for everyone. With no dialogue to be found and a fairly straightforward path to follow, there’s little to do in the game other than reach the next checkpoint. To say that Journey is purely made of this would be a great injustice, however, as the title is perhaps one of the best representations of video games as art forms.
As a faceless, nameless character seemingly devoid of emotion, it’s hard to understand why Journey elicits the response it does once playing it to completion. It’s a game that needs to be played in order to understand its true meaning, and worth a dedicated evening playthrough if you’re open to novel experiences.
Games You Can Beat in One Sitting: Undertale
While most of the games on this list will take an evening to complete, Undertale may take an entire day. Keeping this in mind, this six-hour experience takes the typical tropes of the RPG genre and turns them all on their head. Allowing players to venture through without inflicting harm onto anyone, Undertale puts as much emphasis on its relationships as it does its clever bullet hell mechanics. Though it’ll last you an entire day, this game is worth playing just for how genuinely fun it is. It’s also the birthplace of tons of memes, which is always an excellent bonus if you’re into that sort of thing.
Though short games may have some stigma in today’s gaming landscape where bigger is “better,” each of the titles on this list is worth the small investment. Indeed, games like Journey and Firewatch may not last very long, but each serves as fitting portrayal of art and disregards the notion that length overwrites quality. That short stay mean that they’re more likely to stay with you well beyond the final curtain call, evoking emotions you never thought you’d feel by playing a video game.