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The best games you can beat in a day

Games have steadily become larger and larger as the generations go on. Thanks to the most advanced console and PC technology, developers are able to craft massive worlds and stories that would have been impossible in the past. While many of us enjoy sinking our teeth into a meaty 100-hour-long game from time to time, eventually fatigue will set in. That’s where games on the other end of the spectrum come in. These games aren’t afraid to tell a tight, compact story, or to explore a single gameplay concept, and then call it a day without stretching things out. They are no less impactful or memorable than their massive counterparts, and may even be superior in some player’s eyes. Here are a few of the best games you can beat in a single day to cleanse your palate with some more experimental titles.

Minit

Minit
72%
E
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Puzzle, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure, Indie
Developer
Kitty Calis, Jan Willem Nijman, Jukio Kallio, Dominik Johann
Publisher
Devolver Digital
Release
April 03, 2018

Minit is so focused on time that it even truncates its title to speed things up. This is an indie title clearly inspired by classic 2D adventure games like Zelda, but with an important twist: your character can only live for 60 seconds at a time. Once that minute expires, you will be sent back to the last place you rested, but anything you accomplish in that time persists. The aim then becomes to identify a task, figure out how to complete it within 60 seconds, and then take whatever you gain from it to push forward. It’s a charming little game that won’t take more than an hour or two, which is the perfect size to keep you from feeling overwhelmed./dt_media]

Inside

Inside
86%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Platform, Puzzle, Adventure, Indie
Developer
Playdead
Publisher
Playdead
Release
June 29, 2016
INSIDE Trailer E3 2014
We would have put Limbo on this list if the studio’s follow-up game, Inside, wasn’t a clear improvement in just about every way. This is still a 2D platform/puzzle game, but it more adeptly weaves the narrative and puzzle elements together. Just like Limbo, you take control of a young boy attempting to do … something. Learning what this world is and why things happen the way they do is the driving force of this game, which has one of the most interesting endings in games. Going through this game in a single sitting is the ideal way to get invested.
Minit - Teaser Trailer

Journey

Journey
86%
E
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 3, iOS, PlayStation 4
Genre
Platform, Adventure
Developer
ThatGameCompany
Publisher
Annapurna Interactive, Sony Computer Entertainment
Release
March 13, 2012
Another game with no dialogue and a story open to your own interpretation is Journey. Starting out, all you know is that you’re a robed figure heading toward a mountain. By paying attention to brief cutscenes and clues around the beautiful environments, you can piece together some theories about what’s really going on, but you never have a definitive answer fed to you. Sliding, jumping, and floating through the world is smooth and satisfying on its own, and the steady pace will keep you hooked until you reach the summit.
Journey™ Launch Trailer

SuperHot

SuperHot
77%
T
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia
Genre
Shooter, Puzzle, Tactical, Indie
Developer
SUPERHOT Team
Publisher
IMGN.PRO, SUPERHOT Team
Release
February 25, 2016
OK, but what if you’re not into the more “artsy” type of games? Superhot is pure action from start to finish. Yes, there is a story, but you can easily ignore it and just play the game as a series of combat challenges. What makes the combat so interesting is the twist that time only moves when you do. If you are getting shot at and stand still, the bullet will slow to a crawl so you can dodge out of the way and counterattack. Watching the real-time playback once you nail a level feels like you’re playing a John Wick simulator.
SUPERHOT Greenlight Trailer

Portal

Portal
87%
T
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac, Android, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Shooter, Platform, Puzzle
Developer
Valve
Publisher
Valve, Electronic Arts
Release
October 10, 2007
Finally, we come to one of the first short games to make a huge splash in the industry. We’re talking, of course, about Portal. If the sequel wasn’t a bit too long to reasonably play in a single day, we would have picked that one, but the first game can comfortably be completed on a lazy Saturday. If you somehow haven’t heard of it, Portal is a first-person puzzle game where you shoot two portals that connect to one another in various test chambers to solve environmental puzzles and reach the end — all while a maliciously hilarious AI taunts you. It introduces its concept, explores it as much as it can, and then ends at the exact right moment.
Portal Trailer HD

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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