It would be fair to say the AAA industry can occasionally be accused of bloat. Games have rarely been bigger and more content-filled, but as anyone who values time more than money will attest, this isn’t always a good thing. In among all the Assassin’s Creed Origins, Witcher 3’s and Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s of this world, it can be immensely satisfying to break it up with some short games.
Brevity is a wonderful quality, and there are games out there can spin tales as epic as any 100-hour JRPG but that can be played within a single lazy afternoon. They trim the fat, delivering short, sharp, varied experiences where the credits roll long before you’ve grown tired of clearing out yet another monster nest.
This year I’ve completed some absolute monsters, including Breath of the Wild, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Nier Automata, Stardew Valley, Dragon’s Quest VIII and Xenoblade Chronicles, to name but a few, and it’s been nice to sink my teeth into a few palette cleansers in between.
A few neat ones I played this year included What Became of Edith Finch, Superhot VR, and Orwell. The less said about the former the better, as it’s the sort of game that deserves to be played unspoiled. Suffice to say, Edith Finch has a fascinating approach to storytelling and surprisingly ambitious mechanics that make its three-hour or so length an absolute joy.
Superhot VR meanwhile was only about two hours long, but the sheer exertion involved in being an absolute dual-wielding badass forced me to break it up into 30-minute chunks before coming up for air. If you haven’t played Superhot VR or the standard version, do yourself a favour and grab it pronto.
Lastly, there’s Orwell, a rather relaxing snoop-em-up that delves into government surveillance and issues of privacy following a terrorist attack in a fictional city. Some of it’s a little bit ropey but the general vibe of perusing through fake Facebook profiles, emails and phone calls was intoxicating.
So what are some of your favourite short games that you’ve played recently? Do you prefer a tightly structured experience to an open-ended sprawl, or are short games a waste of money? Let us know below!