Great computer games you can finish in one day

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I mentioned this on the article, but I’ll say it here as well. Any of the Blendo games could be on this list, but Quadrilateral Cowboy is definitely recommended.


Another log for the fire: Joshua Rivera mentions Inside, but its developers’ previous game, Limbo, fits squarely in this category too!


Be careful kids. Enjoying short games may seem harmless at first; but it can lead you into a depraved life of speedrunning, always craving that next sweet glitch and unable to feel alive without ever more esoteric sequence breaks.


Oh, handy sites if you care about lengths of games:

I find they underestimate lengths, but I tend to wander quite a bit.

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These are all terrific games. Some more than others.

Oxenfree has a terrific ARG going on right now too that recently finished.

The only game there I’ve played was Braid, and that was truly excellent. However, I dispute the time rating of 5 hours, as I was never actually able to finish it, so it takes ∞ hours.

Here’s a pretty in-depth and thoughtful review:


No surprise Fire Watch is the screen shot …

So if I have to spend my hard-earned $20 on one of these games, should it be Firewatch or Oxenfree?

Ideally I would get a game that’s ok to play in 20-minute chunks on my train commute.

(I’m not much of a gamer. Actually, I probably should pay $10 on Portal, shouldn’t I? I think I heard the young people discuss that one.)


Undertale is one of the most impactful games I’ve played in years. Just wonderful. It took me longer than 6 hrs, though, because I lingered a lot and returned to areas just to chat with characters and explore.

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Portal is better suited for short bursts of play, but is like 2 hours long.

Both Firewatch and Oxenfree are great stories, Firewatch is an intimate story between two lost souls and Oxenfree is a teenage group discovering creepy dimensional rifts. Whichever sounds better to you would probably be the one to go with. Firewatch also has better visuals.


I really have a soft spot for The Yawhg. It’s short and almost infinitely replayable. Multiplayer too.

Also Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons is quite short but one of the best games I have ever played.


Short games are nice - it’s too often that a game tries my patience by trying to drag things out longer than is warranted by the game, just because of the tradition that games are supposed to provide tens of hours of entertainment. I find myself thinking, “Christ, why are you not finished yet?” Although sometimes I find myself thinking that after less than an hour, so…

A consistent problem with descriptions of “length.” I’ve got more than twice the number of hours in some games than they’re “supposed” to take, and I haven’t played them through twice.

An unfortunately common problem. Statistics indicate that most players don’t actually finish games, either because of length or difficulty. (Which makes the pressure on developers to make games challenging and lengthy to be somewhat self-defeating. Although many players are paradoxically excited by the release of a sequel to a game they never finished.) I find that sufficient difficulty spikes that create annoying repetition cause me to set a game aside long enough that I have to relearn how to play it, which makes finishing it all the less likely.

I forgot about The Yawhg. That’s a fun one to return to every few months.

To this day, I’ve never finished Psychonauts, even though it’s just about my favorite game ever. The “Meat Circus” level was so difficult that I set it aside for awhile, and when I returned a few months later, my saved games had vanished. So until I have time to start all over, I’ll just assume the game has a charming, satisfying ending.


Portal is definitely worth your dollars and your hours. It’s a wonderful game.

I’ve started that but put it down and am now a bit leery of continuing as I’ve heard it’s extremely tragic, plot-wise.

That said, I’m currently playing the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot and to my surprise, loving it. It is one gory game


I’d recommend picking up the sequel as well.

It’s a bit longer, and doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, but it’s a solid game in its own right.

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[quote=“SamSam, post:9, topic:88126”]So if I have to spend my hard-earned $20 on one of these games[/quote]$20? Goodness, wait for a sale or for an appropriate Humble Bundle. There is no shortage of cheap or free amusements of quality to occupy yourself while you wait.

I am still waiting for Undertale or Shovel Knight to drop to an appropriate level, though it’s been some time now and I am starting to think they will stay locked-in around their current price points.

In my case i don’t finish some games because i feel that i’ve gotten almost all of what i’m going to get out of it so i lose interest. Doesn’t have much to do with difficulty or length. Also it depends if something else that i want to play more comes along, i find it difficult to go back to a game i’ve already started if i’ve been away from it for too long.

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I can’t say enough great things about Gone Home and Thomas Was Alone. Little Inferno is another one that should be on the list. I have mixed feelings about To The Moon. It’s not bad but its overall mixed ratings are appropriate.

Even without mandatory replays, I can’t finish Undertale in one day. :laughing: