For many, gaming is quite the commitment. Given the high price tags, picking the right console and choosing which games to play can be an arduous endeavour. Then there are the games themselves – many of which can take more than 40 hours to complete.
Obviously, not everyone has the time or energy to invest in titles this demanding, which is why The National has put together a list of five short games that even casual gamers can complete over a weekend.
Developer: Giant Squid
Publisher: 505 Games
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Luna
Set in a vast ocean, in a world inspired by mythology, Abzu tasks gamers with controlling a female diver who traverses various sea environments.
The game’s narrative relies on non-verbal cues, as the diver makes her way through the ocean, breathing life into abandoned ruins using magic powers.
The ocean’s beautiful blue surroundings are accented with colourful sea creatures that aid the diver in her quest. Despite the initial lack of information, players slowly unravel the story of an ancient civilisation through exploration.
The game can be completed in three hours.
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: PC, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia
Pikuniku is a cute indie puzzle game developed by the French-British studio Sectordub and published by Devolver Digital. The main character is Piku, a red form with legs who spends the game navigating its way across a colourful world, solving puzzles and foiling a plot to plunder the land for all its resources. The game’s tone is charming, absurdist and jovial, allowing for an easy-going experience.
Pikuniku can be played on most consoles but feels especially at home on the Nintendo Switch. It can be completed in just four hours.
The Stanley Parable (2013)
Developer: Galactic Cafe
Publisher: Galactic Cafe
Platform: PC, Switch, PS5
Starting its life as a free Half-Life 2 mod in 2011, The Stanley Parable later grew into a stand-alone title, known for its unique premise and gameplay.
The first-person game centres on Stanley, who has to navigate his way across a desolate office building, with paths diverging depending on decisions made by players. Along the way, a narrator guides the main character, sharing wisdom and quips.
Originally developed for PC, a deluxe version of the game was made playable on most modern consoles, including PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.
The title can be completed in two hours.
Platforms: PC, Xbox, PS4, Switch, IOS
Inside is a puzzle-platform game, reminiscent of Playdead's previous title, Limbo. Set in a surreal monochromatic world, Inside stars a young boy living in a dystopian world, who uses his powers to survive hostile surroundings. The game features an array of mechanics, including puzzle-solving, hiding, chase sequences and platforming.
Although the game will appeal to casual players, its themes are too mature for younger demographics – and certain situations often require the player to subject the lead character to various grisly fates through trial-and-error, before finally figuring out what to do.
Inside can be completed in two hours.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment, Annapurna
Platforms: PS3, PS4, PC, IOS
Journey is a beautiful game where players traverse a desert covered with large ancient structures. Without any instructions to follow, the game has a non-verbal narrative, which makes it accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.
The main character is a cloaked figure who can glide and fly through the sandy vista, occasionally running into and even collaborating with other gamers if played online.
Despite its simple premise, Journey has become one of the most beloved games from the PlayStation 3 library, released to universal acclaim.
The game can be completed in two hours.