Sometimes, a video game can be a long commitment, and you may not have the time. If you are looking for a short game, check out these 5 recommendations below!

Even though these video games are short, they contain tons of story!
Even though these video games are short, they contain tons of story!
Image by Garret Morrow from Pexels

Today, video games can take hundreds of hours to beat. On average, it takes players 50 hours to beat Breath of the Wild! That doesn’t even include the DLC, which can add another 50 hours. While all that play time sounds great, sometimes you might just want a game that is short and sweet. Keep reading to learn about 5 short games that I love!

Each game takes about 10 hours to beat. Overall though, they all average to about 5-6 hours. Games like these are perfect for a lazy day at home. They aren’t very expensive and can be beaten in a day.

Icey

Title Screen from Icey
Title Screen from Icey
  • Average time to beat: 3 hours
  • Price: $8-10
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, iOS, Android

I came across Icey on my Nintendo Switch a few years ago. It was on sale and I had some credit in the eShop, so I decided to buy it. Honestly, I had no expectations going into it, but I was pleasantly surprised.

In the game, you play as Icey, a cyborg with a mission to kill Judas. Judas isn’t clearly explained to the player, though. From the very beginning of the game, the narrator beats into your head, ‘kill Judas’. The narrator will tell you what you should do and constantly talk about Judas and their evils.

The plot seems straightforward, however; the game becomes deeper and deals with your own free will. Like Icey, you really have no clue what is going on. Sometimes the narrator seems questionable, and you can go against their decisions. If you disobey the narrator, he will get angry. If you have ever played Stanley Parable, the narrators are similar.

Icey gameplay
Icey gameplay

Above, you can see the gameplay in Icey. It is a 2D, side scrolling game with locations that lock when you come across new enemies. Combat can be difficult, but the main purpose is to take in the story and the world around you.

Transistor

Title Screen from Transistor
Title Screen from Transistor
  • Average time to beat: 8 hours
  • Price: $20
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4

Transistor is one of my favorite games on this list! It is a short game following Red, a singer in the town of Cloudbank. As Red, you will travel through the city to defeat the Process. Each location has different enemies and its own story. The game has a narrator as well, who talks you through each step and how to move forward.

The gameplay is ‘isometric’, meaning you look at the world around you from an angled perspective. An isometric perspective helps players see things in the world they wouldn’t be able to see from 2D side scrolling or top-down gameplay. Combat is unique as well. Players can essentially ‘pause’ a battle, think about strategy, and map out a series of attacks. Your weapon is also highly customizable; ‘mods’ can be attached to make dozens of different attacks.

All of the moving parts create a system that is complex and layered but harmonious. I couldn’t get enough of the combat in the game, opting to play “practice” fights and tests in the game’s version of a break room whenever I could. Upon reaching the story’s ending, I eagerly loaded the game back up and started the robust new game-plus with all my favorite functions equipped, ready for more.

Polygon

After I finished this game, I cried. Not just a few tears though; I took a few minutes to just sob at my computer desk. Even though it only took me about 8 hours to beat, it really stuck with me. Even now, I listen to the soundtrack often. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing, with instrumental tracks and songs with Red singing.

Journey

Title Screen from Journey
Title Screen from Journey
  • Average time to beat: 2 hours
  • Price: $5
  • Available On: PS3, PS4, iOS, PC

Journey is the shortest game on our listing, with an average time of 2 hours to beat. Unlike every other game mentioned, Journey has no combat or dialogue. Players navigate the desert as a person wearing a robe, trying to get a mountain in the distance.

The game uses puzzle exploration; meaning you have to complete various puzzles around you to make progress. At times, other players appear traveling through the world. You can team up with these players, but there is no way to communicate besides running and jumping around. They eventually disappear, leaving you to continue on your journey.

“A glorious, thoughtful, moving masterpiece.”

Entertainment Weekly

The puzzles aren’t too hard, but they are satisfying and fun. This game is relaxing and immersive, with great music as well. Although it seems simple, Journey has won Game of the Year prizes and remains popular since when it was first released in 2012.

Eternal Senia

Title Screen from Eternal Senia
Title Screen from Eternal Senia
  • Average time to beat: 4 hours
  • Price: Free!
  • Available On: PC, Android

Although Eternal Senia is free, it was created by a team that was enthusiastic to make a great game. Eternal Senia was inspired by the MMORPG Ragnarok Online. Because of this, there are some similarities between the games, such as character names and combat style. Senia is based on Ygnizem Seniar, with a similar personality and looks. After playing, you might think, ‘how the heck is this game free?’, with how deep the story is.

I believe that gaming should not be anything complicated or difficult, but a relaxing and pleasure experience. 

I wish Eternal Senia can bring up the memory of classic MMORPG Ragnarok Online to all players who participated.

Holy Priest, game creator

The game feels like a distant and fantastical reality, with a story line that will definitely pull you in. Players take on the role of Senia, who is trying to save her sister. Eternal Senia is from a top-down perspective. It feels like a classic RPG, dealing with enemies, gear, and leveling.

Four hours is long enough to pack in a sweet and fun story without being too ‘grindy’. You won’t have to battle repeatedly to get better equipment. The point of the game is to enjoy the story first and focus on combat second. I had no problem with the combat, letting me focus on the story and take in everything that was happening.

Bastion

Title Screen from Bastion
Title Screen from Bastion
  • Average time to beat: 6 hours
  • Price: $15
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox, PS4

Bastion may seem similar to Transistor, because both are made my Supergiant Games. Like Transistor, Bastion is short, isometric game with a great soundtrack. Both games also have the same narrator.

Storywise, these games are totally different. In Bastion, you play as ‘the kid’, making your way through a world that is crumbling around you. As the kid, you uncover what happened to the world and build up your Bastion. The Bastion is like a little town or resting area, where you can work on skills, buy items, and talk to people. It’s very easy to get addicted to upgrading gear and create a better Bastion.

Darren Korb composed the music for Bastion and Transistor as well. He also composed the music for other Supergiant games, such as Pyre and Hades. I think the music in all of these games is a defining characteristic, making them emotional and very memorable. Music helps the story progress and sets a tone for the player as they move through different stages.


Have you played any of the games listed above? Be sure to comment your favorites, and even add any games not mentioned. Remember, a great video game doesn’t have to long to make a huge impact!