Twenty-something toddler dad here. Obviously, I don’t have nearly as much time to devote to a new, big game like I used to, considering I can’t tell my 2 year old to wait just 10 minutes so I can level up really quick. I own The Witcher 3, but I’ve resigned myself to never completing it. I would be stoked to play the new Divinity: Original Sin, but I know that after a few interrupted sessions I will quickly lose track of what I’m doing and my interest will peter out soon thereafter. So, I’ve been gravitating more and more towards what I think of as endless games, experiences where I won’t have to worry about dense questlines or complex control-schemes. These could be bite-sized things or long, mindless things. The Switch is essentially perfect for someone like me–I can pause literally whenever and pick a game back up during my lunch break at work. I was obviously stoked for Stardew Valley’s release last week, and I am very excited for more titles. Honestly, were there to be a Witcher or Divinity-type game on the system, I would seriously consider playing one for once. Here are some of my favvvvvvvvvv endless games (see below). Is this just a thing for parents or other busy/tired people? I know Austin has mentioned that he sometimes prefers to drone away at a game after a long day at work rather than perform some mental gymnastics trying to get back into the middle of a 40-hour campaign. I have definitely found that games that have an objective or giant arrow pointing me toward something are more enjoyable than ones with too much to do. What are some of your favorites?
Destiny (Other than the Raid, which honestly kind of sucks. I did use LFG sites last time around, but that was before my son was born.)
- pretty much anything on Switch just because I can pick up/put down quickly
- Stardew Valley
- Breath of the Wild
- Steamworld Dig 2
- Binding of Isaac
- No Man’s Sky
Overwatch/Counter-Strike (round-based games are waaaaay easier to accommodate in a busy schedule)
Final Fantasy XIV was my jaaaaaaam for a bit, but I just follow the main questline
I have a couple, but Burnout Paradise and Dark Souls have been the ones i rely on most lately. In contrast to your situation, i use endless games more for like “I just want to not think for a few hours” and it’s nice to pick up Burnout or DS on those days where I can just zone out for an extended time.
On the other hand, when i just have like 20 minutes to play a game between things, I’m heavy on Spelunky
4X games for me, mainly Civ (finally just got into 6) and Europa Universalis IV. When I’m bored/stressed, empire-building is a good outlet for me.
For a long (long) time TW3 was this for me. After finishing the main story line and pretty much everything else i decided it was a good idea to travel the whole map visiting every interesting detail in the map. And then, after that was over, i decided it was a great idea to replay the whole game not using any fast travel unless where unavoidable. I’m still going strong, somehow.
Let me tell you. The Witcher 3 is a very big game.
Most Sonic games. Chasing faster times is always fun and there’s a lot of variety to be had. The original Sonic Adventure is one of those games I probably touch at least once every few months (heck, I just uploaded a couple of videos to my Youtube channel showing both fast and slow routes through a couple levels).
Games like Sonic Rush, Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic Generations feel specifically tailor-made to time trials, too. I have spent many hours chasing faster times in those games.
Heck, I guess the same goes for most racing games. If I just want to chill out and listen to Youtube or a podcast or something I’ll just load up a racing game because it’s usually nice and low-impact. Ford Racing 3, Forza, Gran Turismo, DiRT, GRIP, Burnout, Trackmania, Mario Kart…
I don’t even want to think about how much Mario Kart DS I’ve played. Probably hundreds of hours. And there’s a part of me that hates Mario Kart DS with a burning passion!
Crusader Kings 2 because it’s an endless storytelling machine.
This is what makes rougelikes and rougelites so appealing to me. The card based Dream Quest and more the more traditonal Brogue both feel like games I’m always going to pick up every once in a while. Very easy to pick up the basics, lots of complexity and variation to last countless hours, and both have relatively short runs (I hear even a successful run of Dream Quest is only 30 minutes.).
Shattered Pixel Dungeon has been scratching this same itch on mobile. Very easy to pick up and put down on those unevenly paced work days hits the sweet spot of how much brain power I want to use.
Edit: How could I forget the obvious choice, Tetris. Satisfying and easy to pick up with no real end and there are so many weird variations on the formula like Puyopuyo Tetris, Tetris Battle Gaiden, or Welltris when you need a break from regular ol marathon.
Nuclear Throne is a game I still go back to for just like 20-30 minute chunks. Being a roguelite(roguelike? I don’t know the difference lol) the experience is unique each time. Tons of secret stuff too, most of which I still haven’t seen lol. I’m not amazing at it but I still find going through and even getting one loop to be really fun and satisfying.
I like a lot of run based rogue-lites: Binding of Isaac, Nuclear Throne, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Enter the Gungeon—those are good companion pieces for a podcast or a new album. Except Crypt obviously cause that soundtrack is amazing and hearing the beats helps.
Along that track I always have Friends at the Table or one of the Night Vale podcasts on when I play No Man’s Sky. That living glass isn’t gonna craft itself.
Recently I’ve also just been grinding out trials and survival mode in Street Fighter V for some reason (I want fight money for characters. Give me the fight money, please). It’s a good droning game to try and get better at using easily repeatable actions.
And, yes, Overwatch. Lovely, frustrating, Overwatch.
League of Legends and Skyrim. One offers tiny, encapsulated experiences, and the other a sprawling yet familiar expanse to get lost in over and over again.
Steam says I have 700 hours in Terraria. I don’t believe it. I also have the platinum trophy on the Vita version.
I have played Spelunky a lot and would probably still be doing dailies, but I got to the point where every run was taking 60-90+ minutes and who has that kind of time.
I have 100% completed Vice City maybe a dozen times now. I can do it without the HUD on for about 96% of it and don’t have to look up any hidden item or unique jump locations. I do it over a weekend every year or so.
I like to play Need For Speed High Stakes every year or so as well. I’ve missed the past few years though, because my CD drive on my PC doesn’t work.
If there is a hurricane or blizzard or some other storm where I can anticipate a power outage then I will charge my PSP and play some Lumines Puzzle Fusion during the outage.
Civilization V is endless and it is also easy to take breaks between turns. If there was a version of it on the Switch it’s probably the only game I would play for the rest of my life.
The most recent Pokémon game tends to be easy to return to for me, I always spend a ton of time building competitive teams and battling people after I beat the game.
Aside from the large number of Paradox/Civ games I keep going back to, I think my true endless game may be Far Cry 2.
The harsh, unforgiving setting (especially with the difficulty maxed out and realism mods installed) creates an opportune environment for messing with all the emergent systems.
Some of the common complaints with the game; the respawning camps, and shitty fast travel, are actually essential to my enjoyment. The missions themselves are bad, but they are reasons to funnel you in to larger combat puzzles. The camps keep you on edge constantly and make you actually think about your journey.
The only game I’ve seen do something similar since is Breath of the Wild.
Splatoon 2 and Rocksmith. I’m actually having a very difficult time putting any meaningful progress into the storylines of many games I’ve bought this year (Persona 5, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Titanfall 2, Mario + Rabbids) because those two games are so easy to pick up and put down while still feeling satisfying every time.
Gonna echo a lot of what people said here:
Super Mega Baseball
Gran Turismo 5/Dirt Rally
I also recently bought Starbound, hopefully it scratches that itch.
I just polished off Dark Souls 3 for the 16th time. Am planning on spending a part of my off day tomorrow starting my 17th run with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s for company. When I finish that I think I’ll go back and play 2 again, I lost count of how many times I’ve finished that game when I hit my 50th run(an all-ranged build maining Pharis’s bow). I need to go back and play the first game again soon I reckon, only played that one through like 10 times. Should also polish off a few things on Bloodborne too, play through NG+ with Eileen’s blades and the Rakuyo, redo an old Bloodtinge build. Played that game about 15 or so times I reckon.
I could just replay all these games endlessly and never get tired. It’s a miracle I take breaks to be honest.
They shouldn’t, but From could make like 7 more of these things and I’d lap them the fuck up.
Kerbal Space Program! Even if I don’t have the time to engage in more technical or long-term missions, I always enjoy building and tinkering with simpler rockets or spaceplanes in that game.
Other endless game titles for me:
Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Forza Motorsport series
I’m currently way into Final Fantasy XIV in a bad way. It’s that game I put on when I think “Well, I don’t have a lot of time to play anything… but I could run a dungeon or a few quests or something and make minor progress.”
I’ve done that a lot with Diablo 3 in the past, but more recently (before XIV) I used Path of Exile and Dead Cells for the same thing.