Games such as Elden Ring or Monster Hunter can take around 45- 90 hours to complete. If you don’t have that many hours to spend, there are many short games that you can play. Short games are just as capable of having satisfactory storylines and emotional depth, or giving us that quick-fix adrenaline jolt we crave.
Below are some of the best short games that can be completed in five hours or less.
Really want to be immersed? Have a read of the ‘Best Virtual World Games’ available today.
1. Jets’n’Guns 2 (4.5 hours)
Like an adrenaline-fuelled blast of nostalgia, Jets’n’Guns 2 comes at us armed and ready with four hours of R-type style bullet-hell pandemonium.
The universe is being attacked by an other-dimensional entity hellbent on destroying all sentient life. Albeit minimal, this storyline is more than sufficient as a backbone to the gratifyingly destructive bedlam that fills your screen.
Mechanics remain similar to the first game but improvements have been made in all other aspects. More detail has been added to the ships and backgrounds have more depth and vibrancy. The biggest change is the massive arsenal on offer to adorn your ships with.
2. Grotto (3 hours)
In a game where choices really matter, you’re going to have to make a lot of tough decisions with significant consequences in a short span of time. You are the Soothsayer, a reader of the stars and giver of sage wisdom to the primitive tribes around you.
This narrative-driven story of the tribes’ survival unfolds depending on the advice you choose to give to those that seek your knowledge.
A fascinating study of the nuances and intricacies of communication, Grotto gives insight into the many deviations of interpretation. As explained to you early on, say “blue” to the fisherman and he thinks of the sea; the tree-dweller thinks of the sky; the loner becomes sad. Here lies the conundrum.
The game is both uncanny and unique in theme and appearance and leaves you carefully choosing your words after completion.
3. Morkredd (3 hours)
Platforms: PC, Xbox One/Xbox Series
Morkredd utilizes the themes of light and dark, good and evil, as a main mechanic of the game.
Consistently played with two characters, you guide your life force – a ball of light – through macabre passages fraught with the life-extinguishing peril of darkness. Dark means ‘death’ and each and every shadow, including your own, awaits your luminescence with murderous thoughts. The slightest touch of black leads to your demise.
Best played alongside a friend, puzzles and paths are lit up by your burdensome globe, revealing Lovecraftian monstrosities and unsettling dangers leering from gloomy spaces.
4. Severed Steel (2.5 hours)
At its core, Severed Steel is a basic arena FPS, but to delve into what really makes it tick, we need to look at the movements within the game.
Somewhat reminiscent of Superhot in its delivery, Severed Steel sees our one-armed protagonist blasting her way from room to room using the game’s destruction system. Utilizing all the weapons at your disposal, you continually pick up a vast assortment of munitions as you dash around, slaying swarms of opponents.
But movement is the key here. As long as you are in motion bullets don’t touch you. So you slide, dive, leap, wall-run and use bullet-time through masses of enemies making your presence known in confident and destructive merriment.
The crux of this game is its deliciously fleeting, fast-paced, parkour mayhem.
5. No Time To Explain Remastered (2.5 hours)
“No Time To Explain!” your future self yells at you after blasting through your living room wall only to be swiftly snapped up by a giant crab.
Finally remastered into the game the developers originally wanted, the new release includes local multiplayer, remodeled boss fights and a reworked original soundtrack. This 2D platformer is drawn out like a violent cartoon strip. You chase down your futuristic doppelganger through alternate realities that hold much mayhem and monsters of gigantic proportions.
Clever movement mechanics see you utilizing different weapons to different effects. You blast upward and explode forth through spiked channels or fling yourself, Angry Bird-style, over chasms.
Exaggerated voice acting keeps the game alive, but it’s the frantic and explosive chaos that’s the biggest draw here.
6. A Short Hike (1.5-2 hours)
Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series
Claire, a vacationing bird and the main protagonist, is at a loss and desires some cell phone signal which can only be found atop a mountain. This coincides with your one and only goal: to scale the rocky terrain to its summit.
To get higher you need to climb, and to climb you need golden feathers which you collect throughout your sojourn. You’ll interact with many friendly and endearing creatures as you ascend and glide around this arboreal, open-world vista.
A Short Hike gives off the sense of a meandering woodland stroll without anywhere to be or a care in the world. And gliding is where it really comes alive. Like an avian base jumper you smoothly walk off of paths and peaks soaring wherever your heart desires. A deeply nourishing and ethereal game that lifts and enlivens your spirits.
7. Sayonara Wild Hearts (1.5-2 hours)
Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series
A playable, psychedelic pop-party, Sayonara Wild Nights is an intoxicating and genre-melding burst of neon energy.
Your heart is broken, forcing the balance of the universe to be disrupted, and you embark on a dreamy, abstract quest to bring harmony back to your existence. What follows is an insane montage of fluorescent velocity. Like a surreal life flashing before your eyes, you speedily ride, skate, dance and fight your way through ever-changing landscapes as they fuse into a nonstop dreamscape of motion.
Well-timed button presses result in increased success of your actions. Built around its pulsing, sugary pop-soundtrack, notes and beats coincide with the collection of hearts that act as your trail through this world of saccharine heartache.
8. Another Perspective (1 hour)
An evocative existential platformer, Another Perspective has us questioning the very fundamentals of how, what and why we are.
We take control of an endearingly morose and perplexed, hand-drawn character. He awakes unaware of why he exists, what his purpose is and how is he meant to progress. In an attempt to enlighten himself his inner monologue regularly engages with other versions of his psyche as he searches for a purpose that he always hopes is just behind the next door.
This manifests as multiple, interactable forms of himself. Switching between these literally and figuratively gives you another perspective of the level around you. This allows you to access different areas, for instance, or to use your ‘sleeping’ self as a platform to stand on.
The dawdling, ambient soundtrack gives the game a dreamlike atmosphere that fits the philosophical ambiguity at play here.
Want to play a bit longer? Why not explore ‘The Best Survival Horror Games You Won’t Want to play Alone’ or ‘The Most Relaxing Games to Ease your busy Mind’?