Sometimes, you don’t want to sit around and play a video game that will take days to complete. Instead, you just want to sit down and take in an entire story in one sitting.
While most adventure games expect you to dedicate multiple play sessions to them, there are some really good ones out there that you can easily sit down and beat in a single afternoon.
1. The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable should take you about two hours to complete, which makes it a perfectly digestible game when you want to interact with an interesting story in one sitting.
The game is basically a commentary on the video game medium through the eyes of Stanley. It takes the fourth wall and smashes it with a wrecking ball. The game is pure comedy gold, and while the gameplay itself isn’t the most exciting, the humor more than makes up for it.
2. Gone Home
Gone Home is one of those games that’s often called a “walking simulator” because you don’t actually do anything other than walking around exploring a space—in this case, the inside of your family’s home.
Like The Stanley Parable, this will take just about two hours to complete, making it a perfect way to spend an afternoon. While not much longer than an average movie, the interactive nature of the game really makes the emotional beats hit hard, and if you don’t feel something by the time you play through Gone Home, you need to check your pulse.
Journey is another game that should take you about two hours to get through, but that’s where the similarities between it and the previous two games end. Where the other two experiences tell their stories through spoken dialog, Journey is completely silent. But don’t let that make you think there’s no story!
The game’s title is spot on for what the game is since it’s basically just about a journey from point A to point B and experiencing the breathtaking world created by thatgamecompany. The gameplay isn’t too complicated, but there is a bit more to it than some other “walking simulator” sort of games, and there’s even seamless multiplayer that will completely change the experience emotionally.
It’s far too easy to look at Abzû and think “oh, it’s underwater Journey.” Like Journey, the game is silent, has beautiful graphics, and features a simple story that hits home hard. But thinking that it’s just underwater Journey would lead you to miss out on an incredible experience that’s really its own thing.
The underwater environment works with both the narrative and gameplay to create an experience that isn’t to be missed. It’s incredibly immersive and it’s one of those games that you won’t want to put down once you start. And that’s good, because it’ll only take you about three hours to beat, which makes it perfect for getting sucked into.
5. What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is another adventure game that could be called a “walking simulator.” It’s about three hours long, but it plucks more emotional strings than games that are three or four times longer. Once it gets going (which doesn’t take long), it never lets up.
The game features a bunch of short vignettes that take the player on a journey through the history of cursed family living the woods. When you sit down to play this one, you might want to make sure you have some tissues nearby, because this game will most certainly hit you right in the feels. And it hits hard.
Firewatch is the longest game on the list, clocking in at about four hours. While it’s a long sitting, it most certainly can be completed in one shot (though you may need a bathroom break). The game is interactive, but only minimally.
Things start out with Henry, the player character, beginning a new job as a fire lookout in Shoshone National Forest. He interacts with his supervisor Delilah over a walkie-talkie, and the game progresses from there.
Emotions, Emotions, Emotions
If there’s one word to describe these short adventure games, it’s emotions. Each of these bite-sized gaming experiences will tug on your heartstrings and make you feel in a big way.
When you’re not into the idea of dedicating weeks to a game, these single-sitting experiences will serve up good times, intense stories, and fun gameplay.