10 of the Best Games to Finish in One Sitting

Journey Bridges

At one point in our lives, most adults find out that video games are a significant time investment. To people with responsibilities, playing role-playing, strategy or fighting games for dozens of hours is out of the question, but maybe they still have some time to play something short after a long day of work. Whether we like it or not, completing games give you a sense of reward that you don’t get with other media, so I came up with the list below that includes games that can be reasonably finished in one sitting. Note that there are dozens of titles that can be finished in a few hours, so make sure you mention some of your favorites in the comments. By the way, episodic games (think Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Life Is Strange, Kentucky Route Zero) and games longer than six hours weren’t taken into consideration. To check out the approximate time the games below should take to complete, I used How Long to Beat which is what I usually use to plan reviews.


Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons

In Brothers, you guide two brothers through colorful environments as they look for a cure for their father’s illness. At its core, this is a traditional puzzle platforming game, but the fact that you can control both brothers at the same time using both analog sticks definitely makes it unique. But this is only one example where this game communicates the pervasive sense of camaraderie and brotherhood that permeates Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

Approximate time to complete: 3 hours


Journey

Journey

In Journey, you find yourself stranded in a vast desert and you must explore your surroundings to try to understand what’s going on. When playing online, you can meet another player, but you can’t communicate with using text or speech. At your disposal, these robed figures have musical chirps that apart from allowing people to communicate, they let you transform pieces of cloth around you. It’s hard to describe Journey other than as an emotional, gorgeous and moving game and while it’s certainly not for everybody, you should give it a chance if you haven’t experienced it already.

Approximate time to complete: 2 hours


Gone Home

Gone Home (PC)

Horror fans, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: after spending a year abroad, Kaitlyn Greenbriar returns to her house only to find it empty. But instead of being attacked by a disfigured man with a chainsaw, the protagonist can explore memories and mementos that are lying around the house to try to understand what happened and to reveal relationships that these characters were having. Short, touching and eerie, Gone Home tells a human story that fans of interactive fiction will certainly enjoy.

Approximate time to complete : 2 hours


The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable 02

Originally released as a Half-Life 2 modification, this interactive fiction manages to tell a gripping story in less than two hours and it does that without combat or action sequences. Instead, you guide a character called Stanley through different levels, but the best part about the game comes in the form of a British narrator that questions your decisions. The narrator says what you’ll do next, but as a player, you can follow those directions or completely ignore them and make different ones. So instead of giving the players a set of already established rules, you can build your own narrative according to your personal preference. This is a creative, thought-provoking, hilarious and short title that does something with video games that couldn’t be done in any other media.

Approximate time to complete: 2 hours


Limbo

Limbo (iOS)

This minimalist and abstract survival adventure game put you in the shoes of a child who is on a quest to rescue his sister. To do so, he needs to face giant spiders, jump over billboards, avoid deadly traps and interact with different objects. Limbo does have detractors though and while the indie game is far from perfect (whenever I think about those gravity levels, I just want to punch something,) this is still a special title.

Approximate time to complete: 3 hours


Portal

Portal Test Chamber

It’s hard to forget that the original Portal came out exclusively as part of The Orange Box compilation and arguably, Valve’s creative puzzler was the best game in the bundle. In the game, you assumed the role of Chell who must traverse a series of minimalist test chambers using a portal gun. Apart from the inventive premise and fantastic use of physics, one of the best parts about Portal was artificial intelligence GLaDOS who kept offering you a cake as a reward after you complete the course. Playing Portal for the first time should take you a couple of hours, but those revising this puzzle game, can plow through most puzzles.

Approximate time to complete: 3 hours


Bastion

Bastion - Big (PC)

There have been action role-playing games before, but none of them like Bastion. So what set this game apart from all the rest? In Bastion, you play as the kid who travels through floating environments that form the path as you approach the floating tiles and fights a variety of baddies. Apart from the dazzling visuals and entertaining combat, the music plays an important role in the story, the dynamic well-written narration reacts to your actions.

Approximate time to complete: 6 hours


Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Single-Player)

Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare

Although the multiplayer portion of the Call of Duty games takes you weeks to master, the single-player campaigns are short affairs that you can enjoy in a few hours. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare started this trend and if you like shooting bad people, branching paths, bombastic set-pieces and explosion, you owe it to yourself to play some of these games.

Approximate time to complete: 6 hours


House of the Dead: Overkill

Typing of the Dead - Overkill (PC)

The first-person rail shooter isn’t the most popular genre, but The House of the Dead: Overkill might make you think differently about it from now on. So this is one of those games where the character moves with pre-determined moves, what’s so fresh about it? Well, I hope you like ridiculous B-movie grindhouse films, toilet humor and shooting zombies in the goriest ways possible because Overkill has that in spades.

Approximate time to complete: 4 hours


To the Moon

To the Moon Johnny School

So I hope you like emotional stories because To the Moon is a heart wrenching interactive story with JRPG audiovisual style. Note that To the Moon is all about story (that’s why I’ll refrain from telling you anything about it,) so the puzzles are simplistic to the point that I wondered why having them at all, but the fact that this is an interactive definitely works in its favors.

Approximate time to complete: 5 hours


Here are other games you can finish in one sitting: Braid, Thomas Was Alone, Super Time Force, Hotline Miami, Sound Shapes, Dear Esther, Flow, Flower, Firewatch, Deadlight, Monument Valley, Device 6, Super Mario Bros. 3, Sonic the Hedgehog, Transistor, Metal Slug, Grow Home, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Metal Gear Solid.