Life is full of stress and distractions. You might work more than one job just to stay afloat. Perhaps you have kids at home that keep you busy. Maybe you’re the one making dinner after you get home from work. I get it. When you finally get some time to relax you want to choose a passive form of relaxation. You don’t have time to play 60+ hour RPGs. I had a similar discussion with our very own David Gremillion (founder of GeekNewsNow.net).
He told me a few months ago that he just couldn’t fit gaming into his schedule as a form of media anymore and it got me thinking. What if I told you there were various games, that are not only short but truly great, that you can start and complete in just a single evening? Sounds to good to be true? Not at all! Here are five games you can beat in a single sitting to get you started!
5. Gone Home
Fullbright studio’s Gone Home stands out as an exceptional video game, perfect for a single-session playthrough, due to its immersive story, captivating setting, and engaging gameplay. Set in the mid 90s, the game drops players into a detailed interactive family home, that is vacant but full of secrets and stories. Players take on the role of Kaitlin, a young woman returning after a year abroad, only to find her house mysteriously empty. The absence of combat or puzzles typical in other games shifts focus to exploration and narrative discovery.
This isn’t a game of skill or reflexes, but a game about unraveling a story. Each room in the house has it’s own miniature tale, offering pieces of a larger family drama that unfolds through letters, notes, and personal items. The game’s strength lies in its storytelling, conveyed through environmental clues and a voiceover, which together create a deeply personal and relatable experience. The game feels like it has jump scares waiting, but it’s an emotionally magnetic experience. You can finish it in around two hours, and is totally worth the experience.
4. Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture
Another title similar to Gone Home in it’s sense of exploration is Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Set in a beautifully rendered, deserted English village in the 1980s, the game invites players into a world both haunting and beautiful (Yes, this game and the previous game are sort of period pieces). Its story unfolds through the exploration of this abandoned setting, where the lives and stories of the missing inhabitants are gradually revealed.
The gameplay is unique, focusing on exploration and interaction with floating orbs of light that trigger echoes of past events, offering glimpses into the personal stories and relationships of the villagers. This non-linear storytelling approach allows players to piece together the mysterious events at their own pace. You can make a beeline for the final area of the game or wander around and listen to the echoes in any order. The game’s strength lies in its emotional narrative, stunning visuals, and a soundtrack that perfectly complements the atmosphere. The ending and revelation of what actually happened is one of my favorite twists in video games. HowLongToBeat states that the game is about four and a half hours to beat if you only do the main objectives.
3. Little Nightmares 2
Little Nightmares 2 is a captivating and dark game that offers a rich, intense experience, that can be completed on a dark evening. This sequel expands upon the eerie atmospheric world of its predecessor, immersing players in a dark fairytale setting. You control Mono, a young boy navigating through a series of grim, distorted environments, from creepy forests to dystopian cities. The story, while largely told without words, is deeply engaging, revealing itself through the environment and interactions.
The gameplay is a blend of puzzle-solving, stealth, and platforming, with each element designed to challenge you. You have no weapons so you will need to use your sharp wit. The puzzles are clever and satisfying to solve, while the stealth sections ratchet up the tension, creating a sense of dread and urgency. I got major goosebumps during many of the stealth sections. The game’s art style and sound design are particularly noteworthy and make the game unsettling at times. Little Nightmares 2 is a beautifully crafted adventure that can be enjoyed in a single, thrilling sitting. HowLongToBeat says Little Nightmares 2 can be completed in four to five and a half hours, give or take.
Blue Twelve Studio’s Stray is a unique and captivating game that makes for a purr-fect experience. The game allows players to experience its world through the eyes of a cat, navigating a detailed dystopian cityscape. The setting is a blend of bleak urban spaces and neon-lit alleyways, inhabited by quirky robots, which adds a layer of intrigue and charm. The story is heartwarming and unfolds as the feline protagonist explores this world, piecing together the story through interactions with the city’s robotic residents and environment.
Gameplay-wise, Stray excels in its simplicity, with mechanics that feel natural and engaging, such as leaping across rooftops, sneaking past dangers, or playfully interacting with objects. The game is a perfect example of “less is more” by showing that even simple controls can be used creatively. Stray is a uniquely endearing adventure, offering an experience that is as relaxing as it is engaging, perfect for a cozy, one-sitting playthrough. Did we mention that Stray was also nominated for Game Of The Year back in 2022? HowLongToBeat shows that you can roll the credits in around five hours.
1.The Forgotten City
The Forgotten City is an exceptional video game that combines a tight narrative, an intriguing setting, and clever gameplay, making it one of the most unique modern games around. Set in a beautifully reconstructed ancient Roman city, the game immediately immerses players in a mysterious world ruled by a unique “Golden Rule” that keeps its inhabitants in constant stress. The story, central to the experience, unfolds through a time-loop mechanic, where players must navigate complex moral decisions and unravel a web of interconnected narratives to prevent the city’s destruction. Gameplay revolves around exploration, dialogue, and puzzle-solving, encouraging players to use smarts and observations to alter the course of events with each loop.
The game’s emphasis on player choice and multiple endings adds depth and replayability. The Forgotten City brilliantly blends historical fiction with fantastical elements, offering an engaging, thought-provoking experience that can be satisfyingly completed in just five hours.
What do you guys think of our list? Feel like it is missing some more obvious games? I mean you can speedrun the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES in ten minutes if you know what you are doing. But we wanted to focus on natural progression for this piece. Care to comment some honorable mentions? Sound off in the comments section below! We always love to see what the geek faithful have to say. Be sure to follow us on Facebook here. As always, folks, stay geeky out there!
*Featured Image from Vecteezy