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Video games, eh? Sometimes, they feel like they're going on forever - and then, when you check the time, you've only been playing for a couple of hours. (Looking at you here, Kingdom Hearts 3.)
Which isn't to say that lengthy experiences aren't often rewarding - I wouldn't trade those hundreds upon hundreds of hours with Breath of the Wild and The Witcher 3 for anything. (Well, maybe... what have you got?) But don't you ever get that itch to just finish something, and finish it quickly?
Here are five very, very different video games that you can play right now, and you'll likely have licked before your next hot meal. Which, admittedly, depends on how often you chow down, on the daily. But by our reckoning, these titles can all be played from start to finish in an afternoon.
Valve's brilliantly brain-testing and sides-splitting platform-puzzler isn't one to rush through, necessitating a good degree of problem-solving focus to see the end of. That said, trial and error isn't significantly punished, so, sure: run around blind and see how you fare. You'll still have a laugh, pinging your body around a series of test chambers designed for, basically, Maximum Death. And chances are, even if you are goofing about more than you should be, you'll see those end credits in around five hours or so.
PlatinumGames has long been a studio held up as producing the very best action titles, and Vanquish sure backs that reputation up. Breathlessly fast-paced, mixing third-person combat with bullet-hell intensity and wickedly cheesy cutscenes, don't be fooled into thinking this is a Gears-style affair where cover is the name of the game. Duck down for a rest here and you will be picked off, instantly, by projectiles that come from all angles. So make the most of those rockets strapped to your arse, and jet through one hell of a rollercoaster campaign - you'll be blasting through the end credits, literally, in about six or seven hours.
Behind-the-butt not your perspective of choice? Here's a supernatural first-person shooter that should satisfy any hunger for a compact campaign. With BioShock-ish combat and a wonderfully weird story where mafia shenanigans meets otherworldly horror, plus a chilling voice-over performance from Faith No More frontman Mike Patton (as the 'darkness' of the title, a shape-shifting entity of soul-consuming evil), The Darkness II is both accessible and undeniably, well, weird. Its comic book-like visual style is also quite something, managing to feel very modern despite the game releasing for previous-gen consoles. Just... don't hold out hope for a happy ending.
Recently made available for free (!) on the Epic Games store, Giant Sparrow's follow-up to its similarly brief The Unfinished Swan is one of the most surprising, beautiful and - at times - completely shocking games you'll ever play. The multi-award-winning What Remains of Edith Finch is a narrative adventure that isn't a walking simulator; an exploration game where most of the searching isn't for answers at all, or clues, or markers on a map, but for closure and contentment with fates that can't be altered. It's a game consumed entirely by death and loss, and yet, on finishing it, will likely charge you with hope. It's innovative, imaginative, aesthetically remarkable, and just a bit special - and you can play the whole thing, beginning to end, inside three hours.
This interactive thriller, in which you play an FBI officer investigating the disappearance of a young boy, plays more like a film than many a game manages, by using editing commonly seen in cinemas and on television. There's no walking from your office to your car here, through the various corridors and stairways of a building; rather, the game snaps you from point A to point B without all the meandering and pointless clicking on things, to see what's interactive and what 'achievements' you can earn from poking about at junk, because that's where you need to be. Completely dialogue-free, its Twin Peaks-y story is told by strong imagery and a stirring (BAFTA-winning) score, and you won't be sat in front of it for much longer than two hours.
We could have listed many, many more games here, of course - For starters: Inside, Firewatch, Abzu, Her Story, Brothers, The Stanley Parable, Oxenfree, 80 Days, Superhot. All great, all short. But, y'know, space is a thing. Likewise time. But what are your favourite games to finish in a single sitting? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.
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