5 short games with less than 2 hours of playtime

Time is precious, but few video games make anything of that realization. Adventures don’t have to be long to be good fun. These five titles do that perfectly.

“Tempus fugit”, time flees. Unfortunately, most video games do not heed this wisdom from ancient Rome. Instead, they demand dozens of hours, artificially stretch out their story or delay suspense. According to the motto: much is better. But a lot is not always better. Even short games can be fun.

Games with respect for the time of their fans, which can be completed quickly. Five of these titles we recommend here. None takes more than two hours to complete.

Donut County

Hole in the ground
Das Hole in the ground wächst in Donut County mit seinen Aufgaben – bis auch das Liefermoped und größere Dinge drin verschwinden. Photo: Annapurna Interactive/dpa-tmn

In “Donut County” (2018), players become the ever-growing hole that swallows the world. No kidding, that’s exactly the game principle around which an amazingly exciting story is knitted. The main role has said hole, which is moved through the colorful world and swallows everything that fits through the opening.

The special trick: The more objects the hole swallows, the bigger it gets. While at the beginning a wooden chair just about fits through the opening, neither skyscrapers nor trucks are safe from the gluttonous hole on the way to the finale.

Worth playing because: Pretty pastel colors, a friendly game world and a nice story. In the middle of it all are the players, who make this idyllic hole disappear bit by bit. Thanks to the great implementation, this is a lot of fun even for a few minutes.

“Donut County,” Ben Esposito/Annapurna Interactive, for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Android, iOS, Xbox One and PC (Windows, Mac).

The Darkside Detective

Borderline puzzles
What are the green creatures doing there? In The Darkside Detective, players solve borderline puzzles. Photo: Spooky Doorway/dpa-tmn

Anyone who remembers the TV detective Columbo will immediately feel at home with “The Darkside Detective” (2017). A clever, but at times somewhat dimwitted detective investigates the strangest cases in entertaining episodes. Always along for the ride: his trusty colleague from the small-town police department.

But there is one difference to the TV investigator: “The Darkside Detective” always mixes the supernatural into its stories. Sometimes it’s about deadly sad ghosts, sometimes about lost demons. In any case, players have to show brains to lead the short detective stories to a happy ending.

Worth playing because: Entertaining and cleverly constructed criminal cases await – all of this is wrapped up in a detailed pixel look with plenty of retro charm.

“The Darkside Detective,” Spooky Doorway, for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC (Windows, Mac), approx. 12 euros.

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Even on the move
In Superhot, the enemies only move when you are on the move yourself. Photo: Tri Synergy/dpa-tmn

Stylish, tactical, challenging: “Superhot” (2016) is all that. A game that elevates the fight against a superior force to a small work of art. From the first-person perspective, players have to throw objects at approaching enemies, dodge the projectiles of their pistols, and finally disarm them while always keeping an overview.

This is because the enemies only move when the players move. If the character remains motionless, nothing happens in the level. Superhot” can thus be compared to a chess game, in which every move and every movement must be carefully thought out.

Worth playing because: The gameplay of Superhot is unique. This slow-motion action game requires brains, spatial thinking skills – and looks really good.

“Superhot,” Piotr Iwanicki / Tri Synergy, for Oculus Quest, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC (Microsoft, Mac), approx. 25 euros.

A Short Hike

A colorful walk without predefined paths – that’s “A Short Hike”. Photo: adamgryu/dpa-tmn

Emotional, relaxed, and adorable is how things get when we take a walk in “A Short Hike” (2019): as a little raven, we set out on a trek through a friendly, invitingly colorful world. True, there is a destination to which the journey will lead sooner or later. But how long that will take and which path will be taken – that’s up to the players.

And a small detour can be worthwhile: There are other walkers everywhere who want to tell their stories and send the players on short missions – if they want to. Walking has rarely been more beautiful and relaxing, whether on the screen or in the real world.

Much to discover
Oh a boat, how nice. There’s a lot to discover in “A Short Hike Photo: adamgryu/dpa-tmn

Worth playing because: “A Short Hike” wants very little, but gives very much. You are allowed to reach the goal of the game at any pace and on any path. So everyone writes their own story in this wonderfully colorful world.

Also interesting: The best alternatives to the gaming platform Steam

“A Short Hike,” adamgryu, for Nintendo Switch, PC (Windows, Mac), approx. 8 euros.


Abzu turns players into ruin divers on the trail of a lost civilization. Photo: 505 Games/dpa-tmn

“Abzu” (2016) is just right for the warm season – as a digital cool-down: In a seemingly endless deep ocean, you dive to the ruins of a long-since submerged civilization and its legacies. There is no time pressure.

Quick Dive
Quick dive into the shoal of fish. “Abzu” offers a fixed digital cool down there. Photo: 505 Games/dpa-tmn

But it’s not just amateur archaeologists who get their money’s worth here, because the underwater ruins are inhabited by dozens of species of fish and deep-sea animals. They cross the path of the ruins divers sometimes more, sometimes less threatening. However, it never gets really hectic or dangerous: “Abzu” is first and foremost an entertaining adventure to relax.

Worth playing because: Beautiful coral reefs, a deep blue ocean and mysterious ruins: “Abzu” offers everything an explorer’s heart desires and provides at least a mental cooling, especially in summer.

“Abzu,” Giant Squid / 505 Games, for Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC (Windows), about 20 euros.

With material from dpa