Not everyone has that kind of time, however, especially as gamers get older and have to deal with more responsibilities in their life. So even if you’re gaming in a pinch from your work laptop, or your internet is reliable enough for streaming services, there’s plenty of ways to squeeze some pixelated joy into your weekend life. So for everyone after a bit of virtual escapism, here are under an hour games for when you only have an hour to spare.
The Best Games to Play in Under an Hour
Age of Empires IV
The beauty of RTS games is that you know how much you’re in for. Missions in those games are all designed to be completed within half an hour or less, which is perfect if you just need to knock out a quick historical victory before moving onto your next set of chores.
Age of Empires 4 follows the formula from the beloved Age of Empires 2, with its singleplayer campaigns all modelled on various historical conflicts: the rise of the Mongols, the Hundred Years War between England and France, the Normans’ conquest of England, and the origins of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. If that’s not enough to take your fancy, there’s also a host of challenges and skirmish matches you can enjoy against the AI.
If you love your history, the campaigns have an extra bonus. Each mission is interspersed with micro-documentaries shot in 4K HDR, ranging from real-life footage of the battlefields in question, deep dives on historical armor and weaponry, and even factoids exploring the different paints used to create various tapestries.
It’s fascinating to watch — and just as much fun to play. There’s an extra bonus, too: if you and your mates are ever hankering for that old school, pizza-and-LAN party vibes with suitable Lenovo Legion laptops, AOE’s 4v4 multiplayer battles are an absolute blast.
Art of rally
Want the experience of driving through gorgeous environments, with a cracking retrowave soundtrack and a stylized throwback to classic racing games and the golden age of rally racing? That’s art of rally in a nutshell.
Created by the same team behind Absolute Drift, art of rally is a great homage to the top-down racers of old with its emphasis on bright, low-poly pastels. The campaign follows the decades of rally racing from the ‘60s and onward. There’s 72 separate tracks to conquer, ranging from the dusty roads of Kenya, the treacherous downhill hairpins of Japan, the snowcapes of Finland and Iceland, and more.
It takes about 10 to 20 minutes to finish a single stage, depending on the stage’s complexity and how much you’re compelled to restart.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
When you only have an hour at most to work through a game, sometimes you want a sense of progression. Single-player adventures can be great for that, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — which hits Game Pass on March 10 — has plenty to offer.
Combining both Marvel Studios’s humorous and cinematic approach to the Guardians with bits of lore and character designs from the comics, Eidos-Montreal’s adventure adopts an almost kaleidoscopic approach. The game bounces between third-person, Final Fantasy XV-inspired combat sequences, ship battles, story beats with branching dialogue choices, and minor RPG elements. Underpinning all of this some truly astonishing art design, with set pieces, jokes and level design to delight any Marvel fan.
When you haven’t got a ton of time on your plate, you’d like to spend that free time smiling. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy makes sure you will.
When you’re tired, stressed or just frustrated at the state of the world, sometimes there’s no better cure than a dose of nostalgia. PowerSlave Exhumed, a recent remaster from Lobotomy Software and Night Dive Studios, is a great solution.
The original PowerSlave was released in the ‘90s for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation 1. PowerSlave Exhumed makes all of that accessible on PC and consoles with all the usual benefits you’d expect from modern gaming: 4K graphics, checkpoints, buttery-smooth 60 FPS gameplay, support for widescreen and high refresh-rate monitors, achievements, and more.
Classic games like PowerSlave are also perfect for short bursts, too. If you’ve only got 15 or 20 minutes, you can focus on working through a single level. Got a full hour? Then play through three or four, with cloud saves as a backup in case you run out of time.
It’s a perfect throwback to one of the most underrated gems from the ‘90s. If you never had the chance to play PowerSlave, now’s the perfect chance — whether you’ve got 10 minutes, an hour, or even a whole weekend.
The Outer Worlds
Welcome to Halcyon, friend. After years of fans lobbying for Obsidian Entertainment to return to their beloved work on Fallout: New Vegas, the company finally delivered with an irreverently colourful anti-capitalist adventure, The Outer Worlds.
You star as the spanner in the cogs of a galactic megacorporations, whose largesse and incompetence have caused the Halcyon colonies to fall on hard times. It’s up to you to venture across the galaxy as you attempt to salvage what’s left of humanity, working with an eclectic cast of companions as you solve quests from one planet to the next.
Taking inspirations from shows and movies like True Grit, Deadwood, Firefly, and the offbeat humour of Futurama, The Outer Worlds is an absolute blast. Its quest-based progression also fits in perfectly if you only have a small chunk of time to dedicate to the game: tackle one big quest every hour, or work off some of the smaller ones while you explore. Either way, it’s worth it.
In Sable, characters come of age by undergoing a religious rite called The Gliding. It sets the stage for one of the most serene, almost meditative, gaming experiences of the last few years.
You play as Sable, helping her navigate the vibrant desert as she leaves her nomadic tribe to discover her powers and sense of self. There’s no combat in Sable, and few puzzles to conquer. It’s a story about helping people, finding your place and understanding how everything is interconnected.
It’s perfect in small chunks, with the main story lasting around seven to eight hours. It’s an absolute visual treat on high quality screens too, especially 4K HDR-capable models like the Legion 7i.
Slay the Spire
The ultimate timesink for 10 minutes, an hour, or even 10 hours, Slay the Spire is still a masterclass in design. You begin the roguelike card battler at the bottom of the Spire, a tower filled with various creatures, bosses and challenges to overcome.
A single battle in Slay the Spire can be finished in seconds; longer fights may take a few minutes. If you have a good run, you can work your way to the heart of the Spire within an hour. Or you may fall tantalizingly short. It all comes down to your deckbuilding, the paths you take and the random encounters thrown in your way.
With daily challenges, multiple characters with their unique cards and relics, an Ascension mode, and tons of encounters to discover, Slay the Spire is endlessly replayable.
In Splendor you take on the role of precious stone merchants just starting out in the thrilling world of spled6a-1international gem trading. Very simply, on a turn you’re going to make a move that either brings gems into your supply or spend those gems to earn you cards representing trade routes, mines, gem experts, or trading houses. Some of the cards you acquire will earn you points, but they all will produce gems for future purchases. One of the big appeals of Splendor is the high quality gem tokens that have the weight of poker chips. As you wait for your next turn to roll around invariably you find yourself playing with your chips. It’s therapeutic and cathartic and makes planning your next move a calming exercise. Many people thought Splendor would walk away with the game of the year honours, but it’s still respected as one of the best games to come out in 2014.
Looterz is a game about assembling a team of plunderers to venture into a recently vacated dungeon and bring back the riches. The Dragon who had been guarding the loot has flown the coop for looterz1reasons unknown (and who are we to judge?) leaving his mountains of gold unguarded. Trouble is, news like this travels fast. The fun of this game is combining different characters and seeing how they work together. Each round your team will search for gold, do battle with other players’ Looterz, or tap in to a special ability. It’s a small game that plays quick, making it perfect for break rooms and patio gaming sessions.
King of Tokyo
Good golly, this game is fun! Giant monsters fight over control of kot66aTokyo through Yahtzee-style dice rolling. You can win the game by gaining 20 points faster than anyone else, or (much more satisfyingly) by killing off all of your fellow monsters and being the last one standing. Collecting energy cubes will allow you to buy cards that grant special powers. It has a king of the hill mechanic, with the monster controlling Tokyo gaining extra points and attacking everyone at once, but also having to put up with attacks from all the other monsters. For me, King of Tokyo is the game that I want to play again immediately once one round finishes up.
The short game is generally considered those shots played from within 100 yards of, and on, the green.
I’d say anything under 10-12 hours is short, regardless of genre. 4-6 is short. 8-12 is optimal.
The added benefit of having a great short game is that it will also relieve pressure on your tee shots, and approach shots. If you’re not as worried about missing fairways and greens, then you will swing more freely, and that’s when you hit your best shots.
The short game, from 100 yards in, equates for just under 70 percent of golf shots.
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