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Gaming is a fun hobby that is now widely accepted as a mainstream activity. Because of how many people are now taking up gaming, the variety of games being produced is endless.
Many players from the past are considered to be hardcore gamers and stick to their favorite game or genre, whether that’s single-player masterpieces or MOBA games. A lot of these players end up wanting to play professionally as well.
A subset of gamers branch out and only play games sporadically as a way to unwind from their stressful lives or time-consuming jobs. These casual gamers generally do not have time for long games that captivate their attention due to real-life commitments taking up too much of their time. As such, game developers have been producing a lot of games that are short and can be finished in a day or, if they have the time, within the span of a weekend.
For those gamers, we have curated a list that will help players who feel lost in this sea of endless games that are being released all the time. Without further ado, here are some of the best games that you can finish in under a day.
Average completion time: Three to seven hours
Gunpoint is a point-and-click puzzle game set in a noir atmosphere, with an emphasis on the stealth features of the game. This game is a throwback to the classic era of pixel games with puzzle features, just with real-time elements added for an additional challenge.
In Gunpoint, players play as a spy who infiltrates buildings using a special device known as a Crosslink. This device allows the spy to rewire and alter the buildings’ security systems, gaining entry to otherwise inaccessible areas. The spy also has a gun to take care of guards and other threats that affect his mission.
Average completion time: Eight to 10 hours
Cloudpunk is an open-world cyberpunk-esque game in a neon-noir setting. Unlike most open-world games that are touted for their massive game world, Cloudpunk sports a modestly sized city with the game’s features and side quests being relatively simple to complete.
In Cloudpunk, players play as Rania, a driver for the Cloudpunk Delivery Service in the city of Nivalis, delivering packages from place to place and meeting a cast of colorful characters along the way. The delivery service isn’t entirely legal, though, and it asks two things of its drivers: Don’t miss a delivery and don’t ask what’s in the package.
Average completion time: Five to 10 hours
Portal is a classic Valve game that most players are probably familiar with. The Portal gun first introduced in this game is an iconic weapon that has been endlessly modded into other titles.
In Portal, players play as a scientist working for Aperture Science Laboratories, where they have to test out their new invention: the Portal gun. This gun allows players to shoot portals in different locations and travel between two points. Using these portals, players have to complete a variety of puzzles to clear levels, which can range from easy to challenging.
Average completion time: Three to five hours
SUPERHOT is a shooter game that has unique mechanics compared to the other games on this list. Time is frozen in this game and only moves when the player’s character moves. As such, players have to think before they act and time a lot of their actions in a manner that will be beneficial to them when time unfreezes.
The graphics maintain an old-school polygonal style with a nostalgic vibe for older players. Even though it is a shooter game, with the addition of the time element, the game has more of a puzzle feel to it, because players have to navigate a path where they don’t take hits from enemies and make it out alive. Levels can be restarted to ensure the perfect path is taken.
6) Shovel Knight
Average completion time: Eight to 10 hours
Shovel Knight is another throwback to the old days, with its retro-style pixel graphics in a modern setting. The game is a platformer where the player plays as a knight that uses a shovel, as the title suggests. Using this shovel, players have to lead the knight through all sorts of levels, clearing puzzles and beating a myriad of bosses.
The Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove package also allows players to play four campaigns at the price of one game, allowing for different journeys to be made through the eyes of other characters. This makes for a fresh experience every time players decide to journey through with their favorite shovel-wielding knight in shining armor.
5) Until Dawn
Average completion time: 10 to 12 hours
Until Dawn is our first PlayStation game making this list. Now reaching the status of a cult classic on the platform, this game is entirely story-driven with every choice made through the plot influencing the outcome of the game in different ways at the end. This gives the game a lot of replay value, with different decisions taken to reach an ideal ending every time.
Until Dawn is highly reminiscent of the old teen horror flicks made popular in the ’80s and ’90s, with its cast of college students taking a weekend trip to an abandoned mansion. Let’s just say that their trip does not go as planned, but nevertheless, it ends up being memorable in the end.
4) Infamous: Second Son
Average completion time: 12 to 15 hours
Infamous: Second Son is the highly-anticipated sequel to the PlayStation exclusive game released on the PS3, Infamous 2. The game is set in a fictionalized version of Seattle, complete with a lot of activities to do, as is the case with other open-world games. The game shifts protagonists from the highly touted Cole McGrath to a new face, Delsin Rowe.
Infamous: Second Sin was released on the PS4 with a fresh new graphical upgrade over the first two games. Throughout the game, Delsin fights against the Department of Unified Protection using his newfound powers. Going down a different path compared to the previous Infamous games, the protagonist of Second Son can manipulate more than just electricity, with his Conduit powers affecting materials such as smoke, neon, and concrete, among others.
One of the more fun features in the game is the Karma system, which affects the player differently based on their decisions made throughout the game. If the player’s Karma is high, the city will treat Delsin like a hero and vice versa if it is low, wherein the citizens will be reviled by Delsin’s presence instead.
3) Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Average completion time: 10 to 12 hours
The Uncharted franchise with its iconic protagonist, Nathan Drake, is a classic PlayStation series. Famous for its engaging storytelling and compelling character work, Uncharted 3 just kicks it up a notch with its fast-paced gameplay and quick decision-making. This has led to a fun, albeit brief, experience, just the way we like it.
Even though Uncharted 3 is usually the forgotten child of the series with the other, more popular entries like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, it is no less fun in terms of gameplay. Vastly improving everything from the second game, such as graphics, gameplay, and quick-time event sequences, Uncharted 3 is an experience that is second to none, with a story that will leave players wanting more.
2) Bioshock (1 and 2)
Average completion time: 10 to 13 hours
The Bioshock series is another cult classic from the early 2000s. Both of these games are set in the ’60s in an alternate, dystopian timeline. These games are considered to be successors to the System Shock series previously released by the same developers.
Bioshock is a first-person shooter set in the underwater fictional city of Rapture. The player plays Jack, the protagonist who ends up in Rapture after his plane crashes near a lighthouse that acts as an access point to the city. Rapture was once a proud city but the discovery of a mind-altering substance called ADAM sent the city into rapid decline. Jack has to find his way out of there while surviving the hordes of maniacal ADAM-addled citizens.
Bioshock 2 furthers the story by changing the protagonist to Subject Delta, set eight years after the events of the first game. There were a lot of improvements made to the game, especially with the introduction of a Big Daddy suit that Subject Delta uses throughout the game. This allowed for altered combat as well as underwater traversal, which was not possible in the first game.
Both of these games have a short playtime, however, and can be finished over a good weekend.
Average completion time: 16 to 18 hours
The modern cult classic developed by Toby Fox, Undertale redefined storytelling for games of its genre. With the classic pixel-art RPG style of the past combined with a bullet-hell mechanic in terms of battle, Undertale changes the way most turn-based battling takes place.
The game can be played in a couple of ways. Players can either choose to be a pacifist and not kill anybody throughout the game for a clean heroic run or choose the genocidal path and slaughter every creature in the realm for a villainous turn instead. Each path taken can lead to different endings, giving the game a lot of replay value. Both of these paths also reveal different bits of vital information necessary to piecing together the story and finding out what has led to the present circumstances.
The music, also composed by the talented Toby Fox, sets the mood for the game perfectly. With calming tunes for exploration and intense tunes for battles, the game feels alive throughout all of its hours of playthrough, making for an unforgettable experience.