Most people think that, unlike TV shows or movies, you can’t finish a game in one sitting. Those people also forget that indie games exist. Also, there’s something for everybody even among mainstream games, and storyline length is one of many variables. Another benefit is that such games aren’t always resource-intensive and don’t occupy a lot of storage space. So, you can play them from start to finish in your spare time, and even manage to cram two or more games on the same day. With that said, let’s introduce the best quick games for PC, sorted from quickest to longest.
1. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is one of many quick games for PC that was drastically more popular than intended. This stealth FPS game was made as a standalone prologue of the award-winning Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain game. The only objective is to infiltrate a camp of hostiles and rescue their prisoner. How you do it is up to you, and the possibilities are nearly endless, allowing you to replay it for as long as you’re enthralled by it. And you will trust us, thanks to gorgeous graphics, captivating soundtrack and voice acting, and flawless game design.
2. The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable started as a mod for the Half-Life 2 made via Source engine in 2011 but turned into a marvel after the independent 2013 release. This first-person exploration game puts you in the role of a silent protagonist named Stanley during his 9-5 workday. The “parable” part comes from the fact you decide how the gameplay unfolds. You can listen to the narrator’s instructions or go against them, triggering paradoxes, contradictions, and setting or breaking in-game rules. You’ll start stupefied, as most gamers do, but you’re in for an engaging and thought-provoking experience.
3. Subsurface Circular
Subsurface Circular combines multiple elements. At its core, it’s based on old-school text-only RPGs, but with a graphical element. It puts you in the role of a detective who visits a futuristic subway to investigate the chain of vanishing among the robot working class. Each robot has a distinct personality, and you must use tricks, solve puzzles, and quiz them carefully to get them to open up. The game also has its own vocabulary system to satisfy the urge for achievements. Through extensive dialogue, you’ll collect words and phrases and obtain “Focus Points” as a reward.
4. What Remains Of Edith Finch
In this single-player adventure game, you’ll play as Edith, who suddenly becomes the only surviving member of the Finch family. She must explore the enormous family home, take a deep dive into the family history, and investigate the mystery of their demise. To do that, she’ll experience every family member’s last day on Earth from the first-person perspective. What’s more, each vision has a different tone and gameplay. Finally, to back up our claims of it being among the leading quick games for PC is that it won “Best Game” at the 2018 BAFTA Game Awards.
Journey was released for PlayStation 3 in 2012, but a PC version saw the light of day in 2019. This indie game combines history and environment, allowing you to explore by flying over ruins and sliding across miles of desert territory. There are multiple levels to beat, and you’ll have to solve a few puzzles in an eerily quiet, spooky surrounding. And for a good reason- you’re alone and without knowledge of your genetic identity. The game also has a dual player mode, but instead of voice, video, or text, the two of you must convey your messages via chirp sounds.
ABZÛ was imagined and realized by Journey‘s art director, Matt Nava. This game falls into the same niche as one of the leading monster PC games, Subnautica. And, while it retains its visual appeal, feeling of adventure, fluid acrobatics, and active marine life, it’s also among the best short games for PC. You won’t only be chilling among the school of fish, either. Predators lurk in the darkness of the ocean’s bottom, and you’ll feel dread when diving deeper. Also, a few underwater mysteries require you to put two and two together.
Next up on our selection of best short PC games is Trackless, a futuristic first-person puzzle game inspired by text-based RPGs such as King’s Quest, Shadowgate, or Zork. You’ll interact with objects or other characters through text input (mostly verbs) on the phone screen in the bottom right corner. The goal? Go to a mountain shrouded in mystery, complete a host of trials and challenges, and reach The Object. Problem is, no one knows what this monolith is, or where it came from. Well, no one but you – if you piece things together correctly.
8. Gone Home
Gone Home is an investigation game with a heartbreaking but immersive story. You come home from university, and instead of your family, you’re greeted by inexplicable silence. Immediately, you start examining the house, recreated in the style of the 1990s, accompanied by rainstorm sounds. As you rifle through the Greenbriars’ possessions, you must make connections to conclude why they vanished. There’s no combat nor puzzle-solving either, so you can progress at your own pace.
SUPERHOT was all the rage when it was released in early 2016. And while the hype died down, its quality, engagement, and entertainment value hasn’t. It’s a hardcore time-manipulation FPS where time only moves when you do. You’re not only outmanned and outgunned, but your health doesn’t regenerate, and there isn’t an abundance of ammunition lying around. Initially, you must use stealth and feign moves to dodge enemy attacks and slice them to death. Afterward, you can snatch their weapons to kill their brothers in arms in slow-motion, no less.
10. Grow Home
In the middle of our curated collection of the best quick PC games is Grow Home, a cute PC game. It stars BUD (Botanical Utility Droid), an adorable robot whose main goal is saving his home planet. He has to traverse the systematically generated worlds, mostly made of floating islands, to harvest crystals and seeds. You, as BUD, can jump and climb the terrain, but also use the seeds to sprout plants into custom pathways and thus move independently in any direction.
We’ve rated its successor as the top mind game for PC, and this one is no different. Portal isn’t only among the dominant quick games for PC, but also one of the best-rated PC games of all time. It’s seen as a pioneer in both the puzzle, escape room, and platformer game genre, and still holds up today as well as it did after its 2007 release. The game is all about using a “portal gun” to either manipulate your own body or the surrounding objects through space. For an added challenge, the portal that connects any two places is only active until you create a new one. 3 hours.
12. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a story of two brothers who embark on a desperate mission to obtain Water of Life from the Tree of Life, in hopes of curing their gravely ill father back home. On the way, they must explore, solve puzzles, fight bosses, and step in to show strength where the other brother lacks it. Additionally, it’s a co-op game in single-player mode. To clarify, you must own a controller, and control each brother with one thumbstick. Unfortunately, the true co-op mode is reserved for the Nintendo Switch version.
13. The Darkside Detective
We already made a comprehensive list of detective PC games. Well, if we reorganized the list by story length, The Darkside Detective would’ve been the clear winner. This quirky, magic-filled, 2D pixel game is a nod to the 1990s gaming era. For one, there are pop culture references throughout the game. Also, the names of 9 paranormal criminal cases you must close in the fictional Twin Lakes City use obvious puns such as “Tome Alone” or “Malice in Wonderland”. Finally, the genre is familiar, a point-and-click adventure and the soundtrack adds a feeling of nostalgia and enthusiasm.
If you’re a fan of dark, dystopian games, INSIDE will make you feel right at home. Throughout the entire game, you’ll experience a sense of dread, depression, and impending evil, but will never discover what’s truly going on. All of these feelings stem primarily from the fact that the color palette is monochromatic. Also, the camera work will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s hard to see who’s coming and where from when you’re swapping between 2D side-scrolling platformer gameplay and 3D game animations to crack numerous puzzles.
Firewatch seemingly has the most boring premise among the quick PC games we listed. As a park ranger, you’ll explore the Wyoming national forest while only talking to your supervisor, Delilah, via a walkie-talkie. If it sounds lonely, that’s because it is – the narrative is the primary driving force. Your decisions in this single-player game will shape the gameplay and either bring you closer or tear the relationship between you two apart. Also, there’s an underlying mystery that initially draws you outside the watchtower and adds purpose to trudging through the wilderness.
16. To the Moon
Until you try To the Moon, you won’t have an idea of how emotional an 8-bit/16-bit pixel art game can be. Where it lacks in graphical prowess, it dominates in storyline and character psychology. You’ll quickly start to understand their feelings, hopes, desires, and flaws, and get invested in their relationships. The storyline revolves around a company that implants artificial memories for the terminally ill. Well, the most recent patient, Johnny Wyles, wishes to go to the moon. That’s all we could muster before shedding a tear.
17. Far Cry 3 – Blood Dragon
After a long search, we determined Far Cry 3 – Blood Dragon to be among the top traditional FPS short games for PC. It wraps the entire story up in one evening’s time because you get the show on the road immediately. You’ll play as Sargeant Rex Power Colt, a super-soldier that’s a mix of Terminator and Robocop. The goal? Protect the girl, kill the bad guys, and save the world. Along the way, you’ll slay typical monsters of the 1980s – robots, dinosaurs, nuclear mutants, cyborgs, aliens, and, evidently, blood dragons.
18. The Swapper
The Swapper is a narrative-driven sci-fi mystery game with existential dread/horror elements. After spawning on an isolated world, you use the eponymous ray gun to create clones on a whim. You can then switch consciousness with them, essentially swapping bodies and escaping certain death. In fact, the game demands it, so you better practice ad-lib activities if you plan on overcoming the hurdles ahead. What’s more, The Swapper is both the only weapon and the only tool you’ll own, and we believe you’ll fall in love with the clay models art style, too.
19. Costume Quest
If you’ve played any of the Square Enix games, the pioneers of the JRPG genre, you know their storyline runs for tens, if not hundreds of hours. Well, Costume Quest fits the genre, but not the duration. Instead, you’ll pick a hero, gather a group of characters that love cosplaying, and complete quests while trick-or-treating on Halloween. Your goal is to collect costumes that let you transform into powerful champions and exterminate conquering monsters named Repugians. As you progress, you’ll traverse the 3 available worlds and adore their cute setting.
Undertale took the last spot on our rundown of quick PC games. It’s a 2D JRPG that has entertaining dialogue, likable and memorable characters, and GameBoy-like graphics. You assume the role of a kid who falls deep beneath the human world, into an underground monster society. While you must escape, you can but don’t have to fight a single monster or the main boss in the process. Instead, you can befriend or convince monsters to let you go. Uniquely, the game remembers your choices even if you reload so every decision you make affects the story.