10 Great Short Games on Steam
Image source: Dana Tentis

10 Great Short Games on Steam

Sometimes you just want to play a game from start to finish without having it take several days worth of hours. It’s not that I don’t enjoy longer games (some of my favorite games are very lengthy RPGs), but it’s still nice to play some short games sometimes. In this list, in no particular order, are 10 games available on Steam that I’ve enjoyed in the past, and they all take less than 8 hours on average to finish!

For each game here, I’ve provided a rough estimate of how long it takes to finish the main story. This information was pulled from HowLongToBeat.com, where I took the Main Story completion time for each game and rounded it up to the next whole hour. You could definitely play many of these games for longer that the specified time if you wanted to complete some of their extra content, but even then they’re all fairly short games!

10. Octodad: Dadliest Catch (3 hours)

  • Developer: Young Horses
  • Release: January 30, 2014

I’m not sure what genre Octodad falls into. Physics-based…puzzle game, maybe? You take control of an octopus with a human wife and two human children. Your family is somehow unaware that you are an octopus, and you have to make your way through several levels, completing objectives without looking too suspicious. Aside from the absolutely bizarre premise, the controls make this game hilariously entertaining. You control the “legs” and “arms” of the octopus independently as he walks around looking as human as possible. Mundane tasks like turning off your alarm clock suddenly become quite entertaining under this control scheme!

9. Costume Quest (6 hours)

  • Developer: Double Fine Productions
  • Release: October 15, 2011

RPGs are usually a large time commitment. 20 to 30 hours for the main story is on the short side for the genre, but there are definitely exceptions to this, and Costume Quest is one of them.

Costume Quest is a turn-based RPG with that shares several things in common with classic Paper Mario games: turn-based combat where you must execute various button commands to deal damage, and overworld abilities that you must use to progress. Supporting all of this is a whimsical story set on Halloween night, where monsters suddenly appear and kidnap your sibling. You have no choice but to don your Halloween costume and do battle against the monsters to rescue your sibling. While collecting a ton of candy along the way. It is Halloween, after all!

8. SteamWorld Dig (5 hours)

  • Developer: Image & Form Games
  • Release: December 5, 2013

SteamWorld Dig is an unusual metroidvania. It definitely has the mechanics of one, but certain parts definitely distance it from other games in the genre. Notably, you spend quite a bit of the time digging downward through the earth, crafting your own tunnels and shaping the map as you go.

SteamWorld Dig was a lot of fun, and I definitely recommend it if you’re into metroidvanias and looking for something a bit different!

7. Tokyo Dark (5 hours)

  • Developer: Cherrymochi
  • Release: September 7, 2017

Tokyo Dark is a point-and-click adventure game with a mystery/horror focus. This one is a little deceptive since that “5 hours” is for a single playthrough, and truthfully Tokyo Dark is best experienced by playing through it twice. The initial playthrough is an enjoyable trek through a horror-tinged anime mystery set in Tokyo, while the second playthrough is an opportunity to see how your choices affect the outcome, and a chance to see additional endings.

Subsequent playthrough after the first go much more quickly, as you’ll be able to skip dialogue you’ve seen already, and unlock save slots to be able to try different choices without having to start from the beginning all the time. I was able to get 6 or 7 different endings after 8 and a half hours of playing, so there’s still not a huge time commitment with this one.

6. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (4 hours)

  • Developer: Bombservice
  • Release: March 4, 2016

My own playthrough was under 3 hours, but Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight somehow manages to pack a complete metroidvania experience into its short duration. There aren’t many ability upgrades here, but the ones you get are cool. The pixel art throughout this game is really good. It definitely seems to draw inspiration from the look of Cave Story in some ways.

5. The Mummy Demastered (5 hours)

  • Developer: WayForward
  • Release: October 24, 2017

The Mummy Demastered is a shining example of how licensed movie tie-in games can be really good! I’ve never seen the movie it’s based on, but I had to give it a try after hearing good things about it on Reddit, and I’m so glad I did. The Mummy Demastered follows your typical metroidvania formula very closely, but that’s not a bad thing because it’s executed very well. The map was fun to explore, as upgrades and collectibles are hidden around every corner. The pacing is quite good, and the 5 hour running time has a number of challenging and satisfying boss fights packed into it.

If you like metroidvanias and haven’t played it yet, give The Mummy Demastered a try!

4. LIMBO (4 hours)

  • Developer: Playdead
  • Release: Auguest 2, 2011

Limbo is a 2D physics-based puzzle platformer with a very distinctive visual style: it’s entirely in black and white. It’s a bit dark, in that you can and will die gruesome deaths as you make your way through this remarkable experience.

To me, Limbo is one of the must-play indie games. It’s a really solid experience, and I think anyone interested in the genre should give it a try!

3. Cave Story+ (7 hours)

  • Developer: Nicalis, Inc.
  • Release: November 21, 2011

Here’s another indie game I consider a must-play. Cave Story is a metroidvania with an interesting weapon system. You gain points that increase your weapon’s level as you defeat enemies, but taking damage reduces your points and can downgrade your weapon’s level. Combat can get really hectic though, so you’re almost definitely going to take damage. It’s been a long time since I played Cave Story, but I remember being absolutely enamored with its story. The story sort of reminded me of something you’d see in a Miyazaki film. It just had that general sort of feeling to me, and that’s definitely a compliment!

2. Bastion (6 hours)

  • Developer: Supergiant Games
  • Release: August 16, 2011

I was blown away by Bastion when I played it. It’s an isometric action RPG with gorgeous 2D visuals. Couple that with the fully voiced narration that tells the story as you play, and you have another must-play indie game on your hands.

Developer Supergiant Games is seeing enormous success with their latest game, Hades, these days, but Bastion is proof that they’ve been crafting excellent games for years.

1. GRIS (4 hours)

  • Developer: Nomada Studio
  • Release: December 13, 2018

Gris is a platform adventure game, and is yet another must-play indie in my book. Some of my exact words as I played it were, “Gris might be one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played,” and after finishing it I definitely stand by that statement. Gris manages to be beautiful, emotional, and inspiring, despite there be no dialogue whatsoever.

I really can’t recommend Gris enough, especially if you’re looking for a short game to play. My playthrough was only 3 hours, and I loved every minute of it!


The self-proclaimed "Guy with the Backlog", as of this writing his Steam backlog is slowly growing to the point of consuming him. Meanwhile, he spends most of his time trying to catch up on the retro classics he missed, as well as replaying the games he grew up with.

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