10 Great Games You Can Beat In A Day Source:

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Arkham Knight, Fallout 4… 2015 has certainly had its fair share of sprawling, open-world games that typically take weeks or months to get through. But, as great as these games are, sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and play a game that provides an experience that can be digested in a few hours, rather than over several weeks. And, while your phone is probably loaded with games that are perfectly suitable to kill a bit of time, many of them are likely score attack or clever puzzle games that don’t really provide much in the way of characters or story.

So if you’re looking for a game that’s not too long but still has a little substance to it, check out this collection of games that you can beat in just a day of play.

10. Portal (3 Hours)

When talking about quality games that don’t require a considerable time investment, Portal is probably the first game that pops into many people’s minds. And with good reason. In more or less the time it takes you to watch a feature-length movie, Portal serves up an inventive story and game experience full of challenging physics-based puzzles and a taste of twisted humor.

Much of the game’s success is owed to it rejecting the idea that adding more content inherently makes something better. By doling out the game’s puzzles and story in manageable, miniscule morsels, it gives players instant gratification and leaves them craving more. Happily, there’s a sequel that includes co-op play. Source:

9. Shovel Knight (6 Hours)

In this sprightly little game you play a noble, faceless warrior who takes on the forces of darkness with naught but a sturdy garden tool. Don’t ask why the Shovelblade is a thing in this universe. It makes just as much sense as a Gunblade or Keyblade or any of the other ridiculous blades in gaming, right? Good. Now we can move on.

There have been a lot of games that try to play into fans’ nostalgic love for the pixelated 8- and 16-bit classics, but Shovel Knight might be the best of them all. But it has more going for it than just the nostalgia factor. The action-platform gameplay is addictive, and the controls incorporate some modern sensibilities so players who are new to the style won’t feel too much of that soul-crushing impossibility that so many early games imposed. Very few games have managed to merge the old with the new quite as seamlessly as Shovel Knight. Source:

8. The Stanley Parable (3 Hours)

The Stanley Parable is a game the feels like it’s playing you. Essentially, it’s about the illusion of players having choice in a game scenario. It examines all sorts of questions relating to control and free will within a finite interactive space, and leaves you wondering if it’s even possible for you to truly express yourself in a world in which an omniscient creator has already mapped out all of your circumstances in advance.

The story begins with Stanley’s search for his missing co-worker, and right off the bat you’re given a choice of going through one of two doors. From there, the game’s many paths diverge and at every turn it taunts you to disobey in an attempt to break the set parameters. But disobeying is really just another choice you make and you’re left realizing that you’re constantly one step behind the intelligent designer.

Though there are many different story-threads to be explored in The Stanley Parable and it begs multiple run-throughs, it can still be thoroughly completed in a few gratifying hours. Source:

7. Thomas Was Alone (4 Hours)

With a delightful narration from Danny Wallace (the voice of Shaum Hastings in Assassin’s Creed), Thomas Was Alone plays out a bit more like a storybook than an actual game. A storybook about the trials and tribulations of a bunch of two-dimensional shapes.

It’s not very often that distinct names and personalities are given to ordinary shapes, but it’s a charming quality that definitely makes Thomas Was Alone a title worth playing. Each character-shape has various humanizing traits that transform them from lifeless geometric fragments into heroic companions on an important quest. The quest, of course, being to get everyone to the exit located on the other side of the level. Source:

6. To The Moon (5 Hours)

Talk about heavy, To The Moon is a story-driven game about two doctors who look back through a dying man’s memories in order to artificially fulfill his last wish. Such a weighty plot doesn’t really seem befitting of the cutesy JRPG style used for the game, but the artwork is all wonderful.

As the doctors traverse through the memories to find a suitable spot for implantation, they get evermore entangled in the man’s life, especially his relationship with his seemingly cold and distant wife.

While many of the gameplay elements in To The Moon are straightforward and to the point, the storytelling is simply beautiful and you’ll probably find yourself fighting back the tears when you make it to the heartwrenching conclusion. Source:

5. Transistor (6 Hours)

Making use of an isometric viewpoint, Transistor lets players take control of the character Red as she travels through a series of locations in a mythical world and battles enemies known collectively as the Process. The game benefits from an extremely polished and somewhat complex combat system that incorporates both real-time and turn-based aspects. Battles aren’t merely just mashing buttons and using abilities, you’ll need to do some mental computations in order to deliver the right combination of abilities to take down foes with efficiency.

Aside from the excellent combat, the great thing about Transistor is that your weapon is actually a talking sword that you develop a sentimental attachment to. It supports you both in battle and emotionally, pulling you into the tragedy that befell the city and revealing a searing story you’ll feel compelled to see to its conclusion. Source:

4. Grow Home (4 Hours)

In Grow Home, you play as a cheery little robot tasked with retrieving the seeds of the Star Plant—a giant flower that grows tall enough to reach the stratosphere. You start at the base and must make your way up the viney appendages as they grow rapidly and take you along for the ride.

This game is actually a ton of fun. It elegantly combines physics and strategy into every action you make, and the brilliant climbing mechanic gives a terrifying sense of height. On top of that, if you can make it all the way to the top of the Star Plant it feels really, really good. Source:

3. Limbo (4 Hours)

Though the world of Limbo might be a dark and ominous place full of death and ruin, it’s also incredibly magnetizing. You play as a boy in an entirely greyscale realm where you’re forced to make your way through abandoned towns, desolate junk yards and eerie forests. This game is all about the atmosphere. The gameplay itself has much in common with your basic platformer, but Limbo manages to do a lot with surprisingly little, and the way you interact with the environment to push and drag objects is highly tactile. Really, it’s the world of Limbo itself that feels like the main character. It manages to pack an entire universe of morbid creatures and murderous traps into just a few hours of play. But for the entirety of its brief running time, Limbo is a captivatingly creepy tale. Source:

2. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (4 Hours)

With a name like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons you would think that this game would be all about cooperative multiplayer gameplay, but it’s actually a single-player experience. The objective of the game is to guide two boys across a serene fantasy land as they seek out a cure for their dying father’s sickness.

Brothers puts a spin on traditional puzzle-platforming by incorporating some interesting mechanics that have you control both boys at the same time, with one mapped to each thumbstick on the controller. Nearly every action you make involves combining the brothers’ efforts, be it crossing a raging river or just traversing the many obstacles throughout the strange fairy tale land.

Each of the brothers feels integral not just to the story, but also to the way you experience it. As you progress through the game the relationship you build with them seems to grow just as strong as the bond they share with each other, and, when it’s all over, it’s hard to let them go. Source:

1. Journey (3 Hours)

When Journey splashed onto the gaming scene in 2012 it was an instantly loved by nearly everyone who played it. So much so, that some have even gone so far as to label it one of the greatest games of all time. That’s not too shabby for a title that can be completed in less time than it takes to bake a turkey. Nevertheless, Journey is a powerful gaming experience that feels like it touches your soul when you play it. The world in which it’s set is exquisite, and doing a multiplayer run-through with a friend by your side is nothing short of sublime.

This is a game that ends far before you’re ready for it to, which is probably one of the reasons why it sticks with you well after lengthier games have faded from your memory. Source:
Wes Walcott

Wes Walcott

Wes is a devourer of media. He ravenously consumes podcasts, books, and TV shows with seemingly no regard for review scores or subject matter. If encountered in the wild, Wes is said to respond positively to verbal cues relating to X-Men or the SNES. The subject can be easily captured and tamed using Transformers or Gundam models.