Bitesize Gaming - The Best Short Games

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Feb 22, 2014 4:00 PM
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While it’s all well and good to plough through the latest epics and bloated AAA adventures that come our way, sometimes it can be nice to start and finish a game in one sitting. The trend for gaming continues to be that bigger is better.

The film industry realised all too soon that bloat is unnecessary, cutting films to make them leaner and less wasteful. We take a look at some of the best games that have this attitude in mind, the bite-sized wonders that get straight to the point...

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - A poignant tale of two brothers who set out on a dangerous journey to bring back the Water of Life, in order to save their desperately ill father. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons makes use of an incredibly unique mechanic whereby you control each brother independently and simultaneously. This one will cause your head to swivel at first but once you get your mind around it you’ll find it's an incredible journey - 3 Hours

Gone Home -
Truly difficult to pigeonhole, Gone Home is about as unconventional a game as you can possibly get. Not to everyone’s tastes, Gone Home is a non-violent game focused entirely on story and exploration, returning home to an empty house and delving into its secrets. Few games will leave a mark quite like Gone Home, its all too brief story manages to be both striking and rich - 2 Hours

The Stanley Parable -
Like Gone Home this is far from a traditional game, but The Stanley Parable is a unique and fascinating concept that makes you question what you expect from a game. This is one game that can be extremely short for one playthrough but holds up well for dozens more, offering branching decisions and choices that are almost unanimously witty, philosophical and at times, hilarious - 1 Hour

Portal -
By now almost every one and their dog has played the seminal Portal. If you haven't, shame on you! Get downloading with immediate effect. Portal 2 might have done it all bigger and better, but for a bite-sized nugget of fun you can't go wrong with Valve's brain-twisting first-person puzzler - 3.5 Hours

Gunpoint - You can burn through almost all of Gunpoint during one gloriously lazy afternoon, its tight mechanics and satisfying gameplay never outstays its welcome. Gunpoint is a stealth puzzle game that grants the player with the ability to rewire the levels for their own devious ends. Playing as a spy-for-hire, you must infiltrate top security buildings using a beguiling combination of subterfuge, electronic sabotage and fisticuffs - 3 Hours

JourneyMany proclaim this to be one of the greatest games ever. This Playstation 3 exclusive from thatgamecompany is a bizarre experience that defies definition. You play as a mysterious shrouded figure traversing through a vast desert in an effort to reach an epic mountain in the distance. I hold my hands up and admit this one is too difficult to describe, without reaching out and calling it a journey - 2 Hours 

To the Moon - The mechanics might be simple but the story is really something else. To the Moon is a classic adventure game dressed up in the garbs of an old-school RPG, tasking the player with taking control of a pair of doctors who enter a patients mind on his death bed in order to answer his one final request. The patient's whole life unfolds before your eyes, teetering on the edge of interactivity and storytelling. 4 Hours

Thomas Was Alone - Single-handedly injecting more personality into a bunch of faceless squares than hordes of AAA titles have ever managed to, Thomas Was Alone is that rarest of breeds, a narrative driven platformer. Everything about it is as simple as it comes, but it’s so well executed that you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t get involved in its neurotic blocky world - 3.5 Hours

Flower - By all rights it should be awful. Off the back of the fairly disappoint Flow, Flower does away with a traditional character and makes the environments themselves the main event. Taking control of a gust of wind, you must manipulate the breeze to maneavre plant petals in order to bring the surrounding environments to life. It's simple, it's calming, but it's curiously intriguing. For Playstation 3 or 4 owners this is not one to be missed - 2.5 Hours

VVVVVV - One of the best platformers to grace gaming in many a year. VVVVVV does away entirely with the jump mechanic, relying instead on a rapid-paced gravity flip. Combining Metroid’s adventure elements and non-linear exploration with Super Meat Boy’s insanely tough-platforming and pinpoint mechanics, this is as addictive as they come - 2.5 Hours

Proteus - Possibly the closest gaming has come to an interactive painting, Proteus is an exploration game that asks nothing more of than to erm... explore and take in the lovely pixelated sights. This is all aided by the absolutely fantastic music that alters dynamically based upon your movement and interactions, ensuring this a game you can really just get lost in during a spare moment - 45 Minutes 

So GDers, what are some of your favourite short games?

Have you played any of these bite-sized wonders? 

Let us know below!

Which is your favourite short game?

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14:41 Feb-24-2014

Gone Home was amazing, finished it in 2 hours but I really got in the story, reading every single note :)

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03:21 Feb-24-2014

Well for the first time i have to admit that CoD could have been in that list too ^^

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04:51 Feb-24-2014

XD nah, it's not good enough, it's one thing to be phenomenal and short, it's another to be mediocre and short (CoD has had good campaigns, but not in the 5- hour campaign area.)

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09:00 Feb-23-2014

Stanley Parable is MUCH longer. There's so much to do. It's at least 3 hours not 1 hour.
You can do the same thing many times in a row to have different solutions as well.

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08:04 Feb-23-2014

Mate Can you add The wolf among us in the list?

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08:56 Feb-23-2014

It's not a short game, it's just divided into short episodes ;)

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07:29 Feb-23-2014

I havent played portal shame non me :'(

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08:57 Feb-23-2014

You really should. Get downloading with immediate effect!

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10:39 Feb-23-2014

No money

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20:06 Feb-23-2014

You can download it cracked but I would recommend to buy it to give more support on the game makers ;)

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07:28 Feb-24-2014

No I am not Allowed to do that :)

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06:56 Feb-23-2014

The Swapper is great.haven't completed it yet.only around 45 mins into it but it is really interesting.

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04:03 Feb-23-2014

The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning was a pretty awesome game, and fairly short (about 4 - 5 hours I think). Used to have it for my old PS2 :D

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00:58 Feb-23-2014

Would've voted for Stanley Parable because of its genious and epic narrator but it's actually not that short of a game if you try to get all the endings. So instead my vote goes to Journey. I've played through this game multiple times and loved every session :)

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22:33 Feb-22-2014

Unfinished Swan is also a great little game.

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22:27 Feb-22-2014

Dear Esther was also really good, my first completely story driven game, that used the Source Engine in a whole new way as far a s I know, and did that well.&#60br

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14:39 Feb-24-2014

I got stuck at the beach graveyard part, I reached the paper airplanes near the water and then I didn't know what to do next :(

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22:26 Feb-22-2014

The game Home (not Gone Home) was absolutely astounding and is only about 1.5 hours long, I played it through several times after I initially beat it.

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20:46 Feb-22-2014

Brothers A tale of Two Sons really this is great game
I played it and it is awesome. ;) funny, interesting and sad :(
Ending was very hard for me :(

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20:22 Feb-22-2014

JazzPunk was -5 hours, but I loved every second of it.

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20:13 Feb-22-2014

i love Journey, the game is beautiful :D

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19:40 Feb-22-2014

Proteus??? That game was awful, it was just dear esther without even a story!

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19:24 Feb-22-2014

Mine would have to be Brothers or Portal. I like VVVVV and gunpoint, but, I think Brothers and Portal are my favorites from this list, Brothers was just...incredible.

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18:08 Feb-22-2014

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons all the way! :D
I also played VVVVVV and it's good.. , maybe Outlast should be added there. :)

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17:33 Feb-22-2014

Journey is absolutely amazing

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17:31 Feb-22-2014

Gave my vote to Flower, playing with wind and leafs is an epic win :)

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17:27 Feb-22-2014

You forgot Rochard, it took me 5 hours to finish and it's a nice action/puzzle/platformer.

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