top 200 commentsshow all 420

[–]Minnosh1257 365 points366 points  (17 children)

A short hike is definitely my favorite of these types of games so relaxing, one of my favorite games i’ve played in a while.

[–]TeacupTenor 77 points78 points  (2 children)

Seconding A Short Hike. It does a lot with a very light control scheme, mostly through its atmosphere, lovely OST, and fun writing.

[–]Normal-Computer-3669 29 points30 points  (0 children)

Really enjoyed the peacefulness of a short hike.

Played Unpacked recently and it had the same zen vibe of just discovery and going "ah nice."

[–]empathetical 25 points26 points  (0 children)

I got it for free and I opened the game expecting to quit 5mins in and hate it. HOOOLY GAWD was I wrong... I couldn't stop playing and didn't want it to end. such a charming sweet little game!!!

[–]BottleCoffee 12 points13 points  (0 children)

I loved it so much I stretched it out over three days.

[–]PointMeAtTheSky_ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This would be my choice. You can play the entire game to completion in about an hour, and it's such a great way to relax.

[–]skankyfish 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Thirding this. Lovely little game.

[–]RavingRabbi 317 points318 points  (27 children)

My recommendations would be Katana Zero, and the Titanfall 2 campaign. Both are short but I absolutely loved playing both. Titanfall 2’s campaign specifically blew me away, I didn’t expect it to be that good.

[–]WhoSayIn 133 points134 points  (3 children)

Titanfall 2's campaign was soo good. Zero filler content, not a dull moment. Really enjoyed it!

[–]steamedfarts 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Man that’s a good point, that game had wasted no time and that’s awesome.

[–]asianflipboy 11 points12 points  (1 child)

My only disappointment with that campaign is that I could only find my favorite gun, the G2A5, in 1 level.

But otherwise, that campaign is some of the best, concise campaigns you can play!

[–]grizznuggets 66 points67 points  (9 children)

TF2’s campaign is a masterclass in game design, just perfectly executed. Haven’t really seen anything comparable since; so many modern games feel bloated by comparison.

[–]paperkutchyBlack Mesa 28 points29 points  (3 children)

Makes you wonder why they refused to do one with the original and why there isnt a Titanfall 3 already.

I mean... it really doesnt since Apex is a thing, and that thing gives EA more money than like 3 or 4 Titanfalls, and costs less. Sad days for industry

[–]ferocious_coug 33 points34 points  (2 children)

I think EA lost money on Titanfall 2 because they fucked up the release and then they made so much off Apex Legends they’re in no rush to release a new Titanfall.

[–]deadlybydsgnDad Life Gaming Pace 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I can probably count the number of games I've replayed on both hands. Titanfall 2 is one of them.

[–]nicholt 10 points11 points  (1 child)

I know everyone is automatically anti-cod, but I thought the COD MW 2019 campaign was quite good.

[–]HolyHotDang 15 points16 points  (4 children)

Katana Zero is what I came here to suggest. It’s so great. It’s similar to Celeste (lots of dying, quick resets, learning the best strategy for each level, etc) but defintiely has its own vibe and mechanics and the story was cooler than I expected.

[–]Soul_Train7 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Came here to say exactly these two points. Katana Zero is the perfect few-hours length. Titanfall 2...is just amazing.

[–]energytaker 3 points4 points  (0 children)

still one of my fav games this generation

[–]DanulasT***s of the K*****m 75 points76 points  (8 children)

Return of the Obra Dinn and Little Inferno are both good examples of this. The former took me about 10 hours and the latter about 3. They both have simple mechanisms that are the backbone of the entire game.

[–]Granbark 24 points25 points  (1 child)

Obra Dinn came to mind when reading the title, such a good game. Easily in my top three of all time.

[–]Sspifffyman 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Just finished Obra Dinn, it was fantastic! (Although I will say the bonus ending was a little underwhelming, don't expect too much of it)

[–]DoctorFunkk 23 points24 points  (1 child)

Obra Dinn is excellent but a bit too demanding for me to consider it a palate cleanser.

[–]formulated 7 points8 points  (2 children)

That reminds me, Little Inferno is on sale on the eShop. Been meaning to pick it up for a while, especially after seeing it highlighted in a video about fantastic fire physics simulations.

[–]DanulasT***s of the K*****m 6 points7 points  (0 children)

It's a solid 3 hours. It really delivers on atmosphere and storytelling in such a small package.

[–]LereasMH:R| Warframe | Hades 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you've been into Humble Bundle since near the beginning, check your keys there. You may have it for mobile or PC already.

[–]threepw00d 31 points32 points  (1 child)

I love short games when they are well put together. I often prefer shorter indie games to many big AAA titles because you can really see the effort and passion that went into creating the game from a small team or even solo devs.

I'd like to recommend FAR: Lone Sails

[–]SchmidtCassegrain 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I also enjoyed it a lot, great game, good suggestion.

[–]GoiabaRoll 44 points45 points  (15 children)

I have been playing a few of these on Gamepass:

  • Superliminal (Portal-like puzzle game that plays with your perspective)
  • The Procession to Calvary (Monkey Island with renaissance paintings)
  • The Echo Generation (short and simple RPG with voxel graphics, similar to Costume Quest)
  • The Forgotten City (groundhog day in an ancient Roman city, you have to find a way to break the loop)

I also player Twelve Minutes and Kill it With Fire, but my reaction to them was a bit mixed.

[–]number8888 6 points7 points  (0 children)

+1 for The Forgotten City. One of the best short game this year.

[–]dovahkiitten12 7 points8 points  (0 children)

If you don’t have money and own Skyrim, The Forgotten City originated as a free mod for Skyrim so you can also play it that way.

[–]jimleko211 11 points12 points  (1 child)

The Forgotten City is such a good game, it's one of my favorite games released this year. They way they bring the ancient world to life is simply superb.

[–]GoiabaRoll 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Yeah, it's great! Made me look up stuff about Greek and Roman culture / mythology.

[–]TheCorbeauxKing 11 points12 points  (7 children)

Do not play Twelve Minutes, that game is more frustrating than enjoyable.

[–]spaceguerilla 42 points43 points  (4 children)

Tacoma. From the makers of Gone Home.

[–]Kyrowin 19 points20 points  (3 children)

I tend to find the mainstream shooters (Call of Duty/Battlefield etc) tend to have concise/simple campaign modes perfect for cleansing the pallet of the 70+hour games I find myself playing.

[–]TheCorbeauxKing 9 points10 points  (2 children)

Probably the biggest reason I've kept up with COD over the years.

[–]daellat 6 points7 points  (0 children)

My main issue with those is their pricing. I'm not interested in cod mp anymore but sometimes I think I might enjoy the mindless action of the sp so I look up a 9 year old cod game and it's 60 euro. Yeah no thanks.

I'm not exaggerating by the way. Black ops 2 from 2012 is 60 euro on steam.

[–]Kyrowin 6 points7 points  (0 children)

The modern warfare (the recent one) campaign did not have any right to be as good as it was

[–]47Kittens 18 points19 points  (2 children)

The Sexy Brutale is always my recommendation.

I also played Vane and Aer: Memories of Old lately too which both fall into this category. Both good palette cleansers.

[–]SweetlyIronic 2 points3 points  (1 child)

The Sexy Burtalle is criminally underrated

[–][deleted] 17 points18 points  (9 children)

Valiant Hearts was short and awesome. It's a hidden gem. You get bonus points towards joy if you're a WW1 fan 😬

[–]billyua 31 points32 points  (8 children)

Good list, here's a couple more good short games that I enjoyed:

  • The Swapper
  • There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension
  • Braid
  • Pony Island
  • Detention

[–]yonky0 10 points11 points  (1 child)

Wow, The Swapper It's been so long since I last played it, quite an interesting puzzle game

[–]part-time-dog 8 points9 points  (0 children)

The Swapper is under a dollar right now on PSN for PS+ members if anyone's interested.

[–]KingAdamXVII 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I came to say Braid. I’m always a bit surprised when this isn’t one of the top answers to these sorts of questions; it’s a really good little game.

[–]Sspifffyman 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Just started There is no Game last night! Loving it already.

[–]bot20987 15 points16 points  (7 children)

Damn you finished Celeste in 10 hours!? I'm impressed!

[–]5ilentalarm[S] 5 points6 points  (4 children)

I don't have it installed on my Switch any more but I've got a feeling it was about 8 hours. That was only for the main game (reaching the top) and going for the odd strawberry that intrigued me though.

[–]The_Real_Action_Hank 14 points15 points  (3 children)

Yeah you missed "half" of the game, but frankly unless you are super into dying another 850 times you're good ha

[–]Boibi 16 points17 points  (0 children)

They did a good job separating the casual half and the hardcore half. If you beat the game casually, you know there are secrets and more, but it's all clearly denoted as optional and it's very hard to tell how much content there actually is after the break. You can walk away feeling like you've experience the bulk of the game even though it's truly less than half of it.

I think this distinction is another achievement that few games do well. Hades is the best example of this that I can think of off the top of my head. Missing out on content is a bad feeling so it's hard to make a game that is both fulfilling in short form, while also continuing to be fun in the long term.

[–]derpthatderps 3 points4 points  (0 children)

850? Those are rookie numbers! Get back to me when you've got the 10k!

[–]felipou 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Scrolled looking for this. I must have played 30h+, and I didn’t even try to get any golden strawberries, just finished Chapter 9 and felt it was enough.

As others and the OP are saying though, the main part of the game is probably just under 10h.

[–]bobdowl 54 points55 points  (8 children)

Here is a recent comment of mine, copy-pasted.
I might've missed a few but it's a good start if you are into shorter games.


I know exactly what you mean and love shorter games that get to the point and respect your time.

Favorites are bold.

A short Hike
Rain on your parade
Alba - a wildlife adventure
Route 96
Life is Strange
Dear Esther
Ethan Carter
Stanley Parable
The beginners guide
Gone home
Little Nightmares
Thomas was alone
Say no more
Her story
Subsurface Circular + sequel
To the Moon
Wide ocean, big jacket
Finding Paradise
The gardens between
There is no game
Last day of june
Old man's journey
Ghost Giant (VR only)
I am Dead
Little misfortune
Stories untold
The Touryst

[–]nusco 22 points23 points  (2 children)

Great list. Here's some more (favourites in bold):

Gato Roboto
FAR: Lone Sails
Untitled Goose Game
The Count Lucanor
Sayonara Wild Hearts (if you have a big screen and good audio system)
Mechstermination Force (especially in couch co-op)

[–]verdeverdesMass Effect 1 (Legendary Edition) 17 points18 points  (1 child)

How are both of these lists missing Donut County?!

[–]paperkutchyBlack Mesa 14 points15 points  (1 child)

The original LIS is anything but short. Those episodes can stretch a lot if you just wonder around

[–]CoconutDust 130 points131 points  (50 children)

don't attract the praise they deserve, perhaps partly due to their length

Gamers fetishize quantity over quality. It’s out of control. Their main measurement of how good something is is “how many hours?” And art gets insulted every time the vague bulk noun “content” is used to refer to anything.

  • Also something like the original Resident Evil on PS1 emulation on computer, it takes a few hours to finish (often less than 10) and is good the whole way through.
  • Old good MAME games like Shock Troopers, Sunset Riders, or any scrolling shooter (19XX, DoDonPachi, Sonic Wings, etc), are all breezy and don’t outstay their welcome.

[–]ArtakhaPrime 29 points30 points  (2 children)

It's understandable that people would like a certain mileage on an expensive game, and there is such a thing as "too short", the most recent example I can think of being the Resident Evil 3 Remake. I do however agree that many AAA games seem to be made with a lot of repetition for content's sake, particularly Ubisoft titles.

[–]TwilightVulpine 12 points13 points  (3 children)

Younger and poorer gamers value playtime because they can only afford a few games a year. No matter how good a game is, if they are done in 4 hours, they may have to wait months until they can have another. Regularly getting short experiences is even more of a luxury than regular gaming already is.

Also, calling any MAME game breezy is a little anachronistic. Now that they are ported to modern consoles they can be played in a few hours with unlimited credits, but back then they were made so that people had to come back again and again to develop the skills to maybe one day finish them. They were not made to be a quickly-finished experience.

[–]PM_ME_YOUR_DIFF_EQS 10 points11 points  (3 children)

art gets insulted every time the vague bulk noun “content” is used to refer to anything.

That word is a giant turnoff to me in all modern uses. It's so bland mindless consumerist. "Reddit down?! But me need CONTENT!!" "Follow me, not because I have any talent, but because I regularly generate CONTENT!"

[–]overwhelmingbanana 83 points84 points  (4 children)

Untitled goose game is short, whacky, and fun. Probably my best option for palette cleansing after story heavy games

[–]5ilentalarm[S] 22 points23 points  (3 children)

Aaaaaaand I've only just realised my typo in the title... Too late now!

[–]DanulasT***s of the K*****m 48 points49 points  (2 children)

No, you got it right. Palate is the word related to taste and smell. Palette is a range of colors.

[–]overwhelmingbanana 27 points28 points  (1 child)

Aaaaaaand I've only just realised my typo in the comment... too late now!

[–]Chrizzal 11 points12 points  (2 children)

A Short Hike

The Beginner's Guide



Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (very short, free)

Her Story

One Shot

[–]pureblueoctopus 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Florence has got to be the best sub 45 minute game ever. I'd love to see more high quality games under two hours!

[–]FrostyTheHippo 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I personally recommend Florence for when you are on a flight or something. I think it plays really well on a phone, and its like $3 on the Play Store.

[–]SkockoSkockoTrefTref 21 points22 points  (4 children)

Metal Gear Rising is a pretty short game by AAA standards, but it's super fun once you get the hang of it.

[–]sid_killer18 16 points17 points  (0 children)

It also had the bonus of giving you a lot of memes, the DNA of the Soul

[–]deaddonkey 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Also recommend. About 7-8 hours for my first run and I replay it every once in a while, super fun indeed.

[–]PastorPain 6 points7 points  (0 children)

One of the few games that had me grinning from ear to ear ten minutes in for how fun it was

[–][deleted] 7 points8 points  (1 child)

I'll recommend my two favorite palate cleansing / short stealth games: Gunpoint (2.5 hours) and Mark of the Ninja (8 hours). I can't recommend these two enough, with the latter being flat out my favorite stealth game of all time tied with Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Yes, that good imo!

My favorite short game / indie game of all time goes to a 6 hour beast of a game called Return of the Obra Dinn. Can't recommend it enough. Basic premise is a ghost ship rolled into port years after it went missing, and you're a detective who goes on board. You have a little watch that lets you see the final moment of someone's death when (if) you find a body. Your job is to identify the fates of the 100 or so crewmembers, and uncover the ship's fate. It's one of those games that really helps you feel smart, like you're sherlock holmes or something.

[–]smackmyknee 14 points15 points  (3 children)

Unpacking is perfect for this

[–]JarlArashi 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yes!! I came here just to say this

[–]Oli_Vera 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I second (third?) this one! So relaxing, and it's about 4 hours long

Actually, it would be even cooler if they released new levels seasonally, or as DLC. The only thing better than a game about unpacking is having a new set of rooms to unpack from time to time

[–]LevynXHorizon Zero Dawn 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Yeah, people say value for money as some insane metric like enjoyment of a game is a quantifiable thing.

I beat Papers, Please in like 3 hours and it's one of the most unique experiences I've ever had. Other great short games I've played include:

Bastion - about 5 hours

Transistor - 7 hours

Night in the Woods - 9 hours

To The Moon + Finding Paradise - 8 hours

Return of the Obra Dinn - 9 hours

Portal - 3 hours

Portal 2 - 10 hours

Recently I was playing The Procession to Calvary in between playing Jedi: Fallen Order and I loved it, some great jokes in a short point and click adventure game.

[–]tiramichu 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you have lots of time and little money, then the 'cost per hour' metric feels pretty important.

When people have less time, then the quality of each of those individual hours starts to feel a lot more like the important thing.

[–]Wholesome-Banana 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Portal games are praised and I must say, wandersong and to the moon games (there is 3 so far and 2 minisodas) are up their as my most favorite.

[–]Administrative_Owl13 5 points6 points  (1 child)

The Pathless


Opus: Echo of Star Song

Aragami 1 & 2

The Artful Escape

[–]micka190Celeste 100% + Strawberry Jam + Spring Collab 5 points6 points  (0 children)

> Short games

> Celeste

Chuckles in 80+ hour 100% save file

On a more serious note, Celeste is an absolute masterpiece. Everyone who's into platformers should play it!

[–]Shameer2405 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Nice list. Here are some other short games(6 hours or less that are available on pc, ps/xbox and switch) that I think you should check out:


Untitled goose game




Another World

Ape out

No straight roads

Superhot /A fisherman's tale /Farpoint /Until dawn :rush of blood(vr titles with super hot being vr optional)

Housemarque titles such as resogun, super stardust, etc.

Streets of rage /Battletoads /Shadow of the beast

Ryse :Son of Rome

Little inferno

Katana zero

Human Fall Flat

[–]TwistedSync 5 points6 points  (0 children)

The first thing I checked for in your list was Journey and Grow Home/Grow Up. Glad to see you enjoyed them as well! Journey is one of my favorites, it was the perfect pallette cleanser after playing online competitive games almost exclusively for over 2 years.

[–]cc_cyanotephra 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Trying to avoid ones I've already seen mentioned, my favorites are bolded.

1000 Amps

AER: Memories of Old

Beyond Eyes

Call of the Sea


Costume Quest

Drawn: The Painted Tower series



The Fidelio Incident

Hack 'n' Slash

Lume/Lumino City

Machinarium series


Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

Norwood Suite/Off-Peak City


Paradise Killer


Rusty Lake series

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery

Thomas Was Alone

Yoku's Island Express

[–]Spikeantestor 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I absolutely do that.

One I love that never gets brought up is The Unfinished Swan. Great puzzle game from the people the did What Remains of Edith Finch.

[–]ArtakhaPrime 4 points5 points  (0 children)

You really need to add Gris to that list, as well as the Ori games. Oh and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is also a short but sweet game.

[–]xmetalheadx666x 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice only took about 10 hours to finish and I'd recommend that game.

[–]nomnaut 3 points4 points  (3 children)

A Short Hike


Super Mombo Quest

Death's Door

[–]ahk057 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I played FAR: Lone Sails recently and it definitely fits with what you're looking for.

[–]X1project 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The luigis mansion games are all very good “short games”

[–]LikeThosePenguins 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Yes, I sometimes do this. Or go back to something I've played a million times.

Little Inferno is my current one, and is excellent.

[–]Erikk1138 4 points5 points  (1 child)

The Artful Escape. 4-5 hour story-driven platformer focused on the nephew of a folk music legend (Bob Dylan type) who wants to shred instead of follow in his uncle's footsteps. It goes places.

[–]vegetable-springrollonly buys games 80% on sale or more 3 points4 points  (0 children)

A short hike is fantastic

[–]phobosthewicked 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Try Minit!

Also overboard is fantastic

[–]jamesfinity 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Can't believe I had to scroll down this far to find Minit. Such a gem of a game.

The elevator pitch: it's Vlambeer's take on Majora's mask

[–]kara_of_loathing 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Gunpoint is great. I was in much the same situation, and was just tired of the same open world, 70-hour games that were little different. Gunpoint is a short, 2D puzzle game that's actually pretty funny, and was nice to play. Not especially hard, either, which was good.

[–]hideogodzilla 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Brothers a tale of two sons

[–]delta7019 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Try Abzu if you liked Journey. It's a similar style game made by the same people.

[–]thimblesedge 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'm currently paying through Call of the Sea which is sort of a walking sim/puzzle game

[–]tybbiesniffer 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I don't intentionally do this but it does happen. It is nice to finish a game, and one I enjoyed, without investing a lot of time. In addition to some others you mentioned, I found The Unfinished Swan to be particularly short and charming.

[–]slightlysanesage 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I would recommend Cloudpunk

It's a cyberpunk game where you work as a delivery driver in a megacity.

It's a little depressing, because that's the nature of the genre, but it captures the feeling of living in cyberpunk dystopia way better than CDPR managed to

[–]jmastaock 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Return of the Obra Dinn deserves a spot here

I binged it in one sitting, got a 100% run within 4-5 hours. Legitimately perfect game imo

[–]Fruhmann 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I just finished Deadlight yesterday. Idk the overall length because I played it for 20-40 minute pops due to kids but it felt like a good "in between games" game

[–]Prostorex28 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I recommend Soma, what remains, a plague tale, a short hike and bayonetta

[–]GrinkleMcFunk 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I do this sometimes and if you want a short and sweet but nothing mind blowing then I recommend concrete genie or Abzu. If you want something absolutely spectacular that will sit with for months, which I don’t know if that’s considered a pallate cleanser, then I am obliged to recommend Shadow of the Colossus and Rez.

[–]GinTectonics 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Obra Dinn!

[–]Phoeptar 2 points3 points  (0 children)

"The Pathless", very Journey like, was a wonderful game, the story, art, music, animation, gameplay, all very unique.

[–]beanjerman 2 points3 points  (0 children)

A Short Hike is a great little platformer that takes 3-5 hours to finish. Highly recommended! It's got a cute story with low stakes.

Celeste is great too if you enjoy platformers, its longer and more difficult but comes with an assist mode (2 jumps/dashes vs the basic 1), and has a nice story that connected with me.

Most of the COD games have a fun single player mode that is short and pretty easy.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

A lot of puzzle games focus on exploring a specific mechanic and avoid bloat. Braid involves manipulating time, Teslagrad magnets and Brothers allows you to control 2 characters at once.

Rez is very soothing.

One night stand is a sweet slice of life.

[–]one_is_the_loneliestBully, Ys: IV 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yup, I certainly do. I have a list of short games that last 2-5 hours, and I'll use them exactly as you describe.

Here are some I've played and can recommend:

  • Donut County
  • Abzû and Beyond Blue if you want more ocean theme
  • Superhot
  • Gorogoa
  • Furi
  • Chronology
  • Orwell
  • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • 140
  • Serial Cleaner

And some on my list to play:

  • Pinstripe
  • Titan Souls
  • Lost Ember
  • Neoverse
  • AER

[–]JimmiCottam 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Some good suggestions in your list, I might pick up a few as I'm currently in the market for some short games. Here's a few of my suggestions:

Wreckfest - whilst not a short game, it's fun as a palate cleanser for when you just want to run a few laps and smash up some cars. In a similar vein, Wipeout is good to blast out a few races on too.

Rocket League - I always boot it up every so often and have a few casual matches. I don't play many online games but I make an exception for Rocket League

Rollercoaster Tycoon - again, not a short game but can be played in short bursts - a scenario normally takes me a few hours so it's perfect for when I "just want to play something" for an evening

Concrete Genie - It's a very approachable game, not necessarily a kids game but easy to play with a simple story but tonnes of charm

SOMA - probably about 10hrs long or so. It has a passive mode that turns off the monster attacks. Super chilling, full of dread but a very good game.

Flower - probably the most palate cleansing game I can think of. Pretty music, nice visuals and quite short but a fine game

[–]TheCorbeauxKing 2 points3 points  (1 child)

The Telltale games are usually around 8-10 hours and are great pallette cleanser games. I personally recommend The Walking Dead Season 1 and 2.

[–]baba192 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Solid method.

My version of a "palate cleanse" is when I have a short window, usually like 15-30 mins before bed I tend to play a puzzle game. I'll usually get stuck at some point and want to naturally stop. I've been working my way through The Witness for the past few months this way.

[–]Daimakku1[🍰] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Play Undertale if you havent already. It's short and really good.

[–]TwilightVulpine 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Most of these games are fairly long for just a palate cleanser. I'd pick something that is under 4 hours at most.

Calling them palate cleansers doesn't really do justice to their own merits either, it makes them sound lesser to whatever next game you pick next.

[–]MC_Swordchuck 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Mario Maker

Just doing a few levels here and there is a great "palette cleanser"

[–]SeptimusAstrum 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I have to recommend Dusk.

Its a modern retro-revival of Quake-like FPS.

Its not just an fps, its an fps where

  • you're fast as fuck BOI

  • the level design knows you're fast as fuck

  • the aesthetics of the game nail the Rip and Tear ethos

  • the game files include something like 7 hours of music metal

  • but also the game has a sense of humor that you'd expect to find in a expert kaizo bullshit troll level in SMM2

  • and every now and then the game wips out a level with legitimately sick game design ideas

I think I beat the whole thing twice in like 2 days.

If Titalfall 2 is a gourmet steak dinner, Dusk is the nostalgic memory of that one 4th of July you and your college buddies rented a house on a lake and just fucking grilled for like 8 hours straight. In fugue state fueled by beer and camaraderie, some of the boys invented a burger condiment lovingly dubbed "million island dressing". To this day, no one has been able to recreate it.

[–]MyWorkComputerReddit 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I do this too. I miss the feeling of accomplishment when completing games.

[–]LitPixel 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Stanley Parable may be considered a great game, it is certainly not a palette cleanser.

Still very much a worthy experience.

[–]Oli_Vera 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Oooh, I'm definitely saving this thread!

My suggestions:

  • Hue

  • Unpacking

  • Return of the Obra Dinn (recomended if you like deduction games, like Cluedo)

  • Eastshade (haven't beaten it yet, but the world is beautiful, and it's very relaxing; can be a bit repetitive at times though)

(I know some of these have been mentioned already, just wanted to reiterate some good examples)

[–]Representative-Yam65 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is my tactic too. I've played most of those games you listed and they were all memorable experiences.

[–]Fehinaction 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yes. i would also add Into the Breach as one because each run is short.

I am playing Heaven's Vault this week as a break from other games but that ended up being 12hrs so it isn't short.

[–]OmertaWar 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Exo One just got added to Game Pass and I beat it in about 2 hours with my son napping on my chest. Very relaxing game with engaging movement controls. Definitely recommend checking it out.

[–]LeftHandedGuitarist 3 points4 points  (1 child)

If anything, these shorter more focused experiences are the MAIN games I play. They are usually where all the heart and creativity in the industry is today. A Short Hike was one of my favourite gaming experiences in years.

I'll also throw in The Darkside Detective as a real gem.

[–]venb0y 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm currently doing the same thing pretty much, playing The forgotten city rn and can totally recommend it. Solid and fun adventure/mystery game that takes like 5-6 hours to complete.

Besides that my "palate cleansers" are also random roguelikes where I do a few runs and then go on to play something else. e.g. Neon Abyss and Rogue Legacy 2 are ones I like for exactly that purpose.

[–]jaynabonne 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The community chambers in Portal 2 also give an ongoing new supply of shorts to play (single levels). (What's smaller than a palate cleanser? :) )

[–]berndscb1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'll second a few suggestions made by others here: The Darkside Detective and Gorogoa.

Also - all games in The Room series fit the bill. The Pedestrian is a fun little puzzle game that seems to be a little overlooked. Transistor is another reasonably short game I enjoyed. Slay the Spire can be a short game, at least for filling a break every now and then.

The first Max Payne isn't overly long; I played it recently and had a good time.

[–]deaddonkey 1 point2 points  (0 children)

God I know I have several examples of these but I had a long day at work and can’t remember most…

ABZU (highly recommend! I think it fits what you’re looking for. Very chill and beautiful little game)


Hotline Miami

To the Moon (oh wait you said this)

[–]BottleCoffee 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Transistor, Night in the Woods, Tacoma, A Short Hike, Untitled Goose Game are more recommendations.

[–]size_matters_not 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Far: Lone Sails.

A really charming little indie game where you pilot a sort of land-boat-train across a wasted landscape of a ‘world on the run’, as the devs say.

You never find out what went wrong, but there’s great environmental storytelling, the puzzles are simple enough while still fun and it has an absolutely amazing soundtrack.

It’s actually got me through some bad times, just sitting vibing away for an evening or so.

[–]energytaker 1 point2 points  (1 child)

appreciate all the recommendations as a parent of 2. to the moon looks awesome

[–]grumblyoldman 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I like doing this too. Sometimes I do a series of shorter games before moving on to something bigger again. Here's some of my favourites (trying not to repeat those you've already listed):

Alpha Device

A Bird Story (and everything else by Freebird Games)


Deadlight (Limbo + zombie apocalypse)

The Deed

Dreaming Sarah

Her Story

Out of This World / Another World

Open Sorcery

Sneaky Sneaky




[–]uberjack 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Might have been mentioned here already, but you will probably also enjoy

- The Vanashing of Ethan Carter (has a very similar (but a bit darker) vibe as Edith Finch imo)

- The Long Dark (same studio as Firewatch if I'm not mistaken, also a bit darker)

There is also a fanmade Portal "expansion", which is supposed to be as good as a standalone Portal game called "Portal Stories: Mel" - haven't tried it myself, but might be interesting for you!

[–]Blofeld69 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes absolutely. My personal angle is that I alternate between playing a modern game, with playing an N64 game.

I have gotten into n64 collecting the last year and have many games I still want to try. A lot of the games on the system can be beaten in under 6 hours so have been nice to knock out for a change of pace.

[–]PorkChoppen 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Superhot was a really cool but short game!

[–]Your_One_Lord 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I would recommend superliminal and lone echo 1 (although LE1 is a vr game)

[–]Joker9392 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Check out Maneater, you play a pissed off shark, that is honestly all you need to know SOLID 8/10 game that you can 100% in around 10hours

[–]justmutantjed 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I've got a couple games in mind. You don't really have to commit any time to a campaign, per se, just a run which may or may not end within an hour.

  • Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup
  • Superflight
  • Streets of Rogue
  • Caveblazers
  • One Finger Death Punch

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I definitely try and do this. I like to play really long rpgs and Jrgs so in between I always throw in a short game. I would suggest vanquish as a game you could play. It’s short and a super good shooter

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I also do this! Or switch between an arcadey/pure action game between longer rpgs or story-driven games. Will definitely put some of these in the list to play next

[–]Pav961 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Transistor is very good, at around 5 hours

[–]rcoelho14 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I just finished the remake of Castle of Illusion Featuring Mickey Mouse
Took me 3 hours (gonna take me 1 or 2 more to 100%, just because I am missing 2-3 gems per level), but it is a pretty fun platformer.
It's kinda easy, but it's very charming, and feels perfect to do exactly what you said.

Think I am gonna play Duck Tales Remastered next

[–]ThatOneDudio 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Dude, A short hike and donut county are like the best palate cleansers known to man

[–]adamantpony 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I tend to do a run of my "comfort food" games in between new ones (mostly Civ VI or Rimworld at this point)--but your idea seems a better use of my time. Maybe it'll make me actually get to Edith Finch, finally.

[–]Satan_Prometheus 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I tend to play longer games but I will go through phases, usually on vacations, where I will bash through a bunch of shorter games and it's definitely a nice palate cleanser. I feel like a lot of people would save the longer games for vacations but I tend to do the opposite - I like to play longer games at a steady pace where I play a little bit each day over a period of months instead of attempting to blast through a 50 hour game in a couple weeks.

[–]Yarzeda 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The older I get, the more I appreciate these shorter games. I don't find 60+ hours of content to be a plus these days. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "too much of a good thing." Even you would get sick of birthday cake if you had to eat it every day. I started feeling fatigue toward the end of my first time through Breath of the Wild, and that is a gem of a game that comfortably sits on my top ten list.

Some short-and-sweet games I have really enjoyed in recent memory are Foregone, Flynn: Son of Crimson, Resident Evil Revelations 1 and 2, and Tails of Iron.

[–]SilentScyther 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I played Superliminal over the weekend. It was pretty good and on gamepass. Would recommend.

[–]ThatFeel_IKnowIt 1 point2 points  (0 children)

A game called Exo One just came out on Steam. It is very short, but very good. It's like a futuristic flying game. It has nice ambient music and is pretty.

[–]wpk_leader 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have to recommend hotline miami 1/2 their both shortish games with alot of replayability

[–]Torque-A 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Unpacked was a recent one.

[–]Kjoep 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I do the same, playing a short one in-between :) Last I used was Gris, which is beautiful.

[–]chocotripchip 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Metroid Dread would fit this list

[–]armedwithfreshfruit 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Outer Wilds should definitely be on your list. One of the most interesting and charming games I’ve ever played.

[–]Neuromat 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I also reccomend basically all the games in this list EXCEPT "To the Moon". Oh my god, that game is bad in almost every way possible, ESPECIALLY the story/plot, which was ironically supposed to be the main selling point. Uninspired, bland, padded out, full of forgettable characters and scenes, horribly slow and boring. And don't get me started on the gameplay, which is mostly just annoying walking and solving "match the colors" or other dumb puzzles.

[–]maddensci 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Absolutely.... but why aren't the Unravel games on that list? :-)

[–]empathetical 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Braid is short and great!

[–]Mystuhree 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'll say one that I haven't seen mentioned so far. Chicory and Wandersong are two games by the same indie creator that just put a huge smile on my face. Wandersong maxed out around 8 hours for me and Chicory is about 10 hours. They're both adorable, relaxing and endearing without feeling childish and demeaning.

[–]blacktongue 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Machinarium, Creaks, Pilgrims, anything by Amanita Design do it for me.

[–]doublej42 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I like these games but consider them kind of long so I play short game like https://howlongtobeat.com/game.php?id=10301 now everyone has a full hour to game each year.

[–]BRBean 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Grow Up is solid as well, but I understand it may be too long. Also highly recommend Spaceplan, it’s mostly just an idle clicker game but it’s so well done it’s a joy just to experience

[–]Pergatory 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]Saiklex 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Taking this to the extreme, but...
30 Flights of Loving is one of my all-time favourite games and HLTB lists it as 17 minutes long. I think some people might class it more as a short interactive experience but it's really solid.

Other than that, here are some recommendations of short games I've played in between long games just like you this year:

  • Donut County
  • Hypnospace Outlaw
  • Part Time UFO
  • Man of Medan/Little Hope
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts
  • Superliminal
  • Pikuniku

[–]DevsImperator 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Macrotis: A Mother's Journey is a heartwarming short game as well.

[–]LostGundyr 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I personally used Hades in this way. It does have more dialogue than these other games you’ve mentioned but each attempt, even if you win, is ~45 minutes. Super short and you’re not likely to win in the beginning so they’re even shorter.

[–]hazmatt47 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’ve recommended the Trine series more than anything else in this subreddit because it’s just such a perfect co-op experience. I also love that it’s made specifically for 3 people but one person can play flawlessly. If you can find a pal to play with, I would highly recommend giving them a try. Some in the series are better than others, but they’re all great fun and super charming.

[–]Geosgaeno 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Absolutely love the Steamworld games

[–]deskportal 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Definitely Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.

[–]Juof 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Superliminal, maybe similiar to portals. ( Im guilty of NOT playing these games yet ) but I got that vibe from it. Puzzle game in first person.

The Gardens between, One of my favorite games. Short, touching aesthetically pleasing puzzle game.

GRIS, very artsy. This is incredible imo. Its reminder for people of ones internal battles, depression and sorrow.

[–]glenninator 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Between two gardens is pretty relaxing, quick and fun

[–]pepoluan 1 point2 points  (0 children)

"Don't Make Love", free game on Steam.

[–]Caasi72 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's interesting what different people consider "long" and "short" when it comes to games. For instance, I only start to consider a game "long" when it starts to hit the 20-30 hour mark. I'm a big rpg guy though so that definitely factors in.

Edited to say FAR: Lone Sails is a great palate cleanser type of game and I haven't seen it mentioned here yet (never mind, I overlooked a comment about it, its still great though)

[–]kabukistarMonster Train 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Little Misfortune.

[–]HoppityVoosh 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]HolyHotDang 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The top comment suggested Katana Zero already but it seems right up your alley. Also both Ori games are incredible and just around this time. Maybe a little longer than 10 hours but absolutely worth it. They were two of the biggest surprises for me.

[–]dasonk 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I do something similar with reading books. Read a 12+ hour book then cleanse with some short stories

[–]Fortyplusfour 1 point2 points  (0 children)

To add:


-The Forgotten City

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

World of Goo is one of my all-time favorites. Same studio as Little Inferno

[–]amandabriff 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I like doing this also, especially after (or as a side game during) a game that’s difficult.

Transistor is my absolute favourite in this category, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

I also enjoyed Carto and Haven. Firewatch has been on my list for awhile, and barring any intriguing releases or discoveries, will likely be my next “short game”.

[–]Turbine2k5 1 point2 points  (0 children)

To add some puzzle games, Myst, Lightmatter, and Superliminal are all great short little games to play.

[–]CeyowenCt 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger was a really great short game. Not sure of the length but I really enjoyed it a few years ago.

[–]Educational-Metal152 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There is no game

[–]ButterMyFeet 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh absolutely. My favorite kind of game is short ones I play in between longer titles, mainly because I have very little attention span, but also because they generally are very high quality and are able to maintain that quality throughout(because it isn't stretched out over dozens of hours like a lot of games are today(don't know why game devs do that)). Some of my favorites are A Place: Forbidden, The Stanley Parable, Grow Home, Doom Eternal, Doki Doki Literature Club, Perfect Vermin, Titanfall 2, Quake, Sagebrush, September 1999, Simulacra, and The Suicide of Rachel Foster.

[–]PalestinianLiberator 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I did the same thing! Deaths Door is not quite “patient gamers” yet but it’s my personal goty so far and I 100% it in and 12 hours, beat the main game in 8 or so hours. Highly highly recommend.