Awesome Games You Can Beat In A Day

by Tim Turi on Sep 06, 2010 at 11:30 AM

True gamers turn to their favorite pastime whenever presented with a day off from school or work. Sure, you could fire up your favorite FPS and grind a few ranks online or gain a few levels in your favorite RPG, but wouldn’t you rather experience a game in its entirety? We here at Game Informer want you to look back on this Labor Day not as just another day off, but rather that awesome vacation day when you beat an awesome game in one sitting. Here’s a list of 13 great games you could complete today, from start to finish.

Braid – The game that defined downloadable gaming for hesitant adopters is easily conquerable in a handful of hours. Sure, there will be times when Braid’s time manipulation puzzles cause your brain to leak from your nostrils, but the eureka moments which come 20 minutes later are entirely worth it. If you get stuck on one puzzle, you’re free to move onto the next, so getting completely snagged is rare.

Approximate Time Commitment: 4.5 hours

The House of the Dead: Overkill – If you’ve got the day off from work then you’ve probably got a frosty beverage glued to your hand. Video games take up a lot of your hands’ valuable drink-holding real estate, so a Wii game that only requires your gun hand is perfect. Don’t spill your tasty beverage while listening to Agent G and Isaac Washington’s hilariously profane banter, though. Nothing says holiday enjoyment like simultaneously shooting zombies and drinking.

Approximate Time Commitment: 4.5 hours

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero – Why wait until Dead Rising 2’s release date to start playing the game? You can begin crafting custom zombie-slaying weapons like the spiked bat and drill bucket in this downloadable prequel. Even better, Chuck’s experience, unlocked combo weapon cards, and outfits transfer into the full game. Case Zero is proof that big things come in small packages, and it’s short enough to enjoy on your day off. (Read our review).

Approximate Time Commitment: 4 hours

BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den – Has the announcement of BioShock: Infinite got you all hot and bothered? Why not hop into the boots of another lumbering Big Daddy in Minerva’s Den? This densely-packed DLC delivers a punchy single-player experience with varied enemy encounters, a new Big Daddy enemy type, and an interesting narrative featuring a dispute between the two geniuses of Rapture. This add-on stands apart from BioShock 2 as a more fun, tightly wound experience. (Read our review).

Approximate Time Commitment: 4.5 hours

Contra III: The Alien Wars – The beauty of plowing through a Contra game in one sitting is that you can simply turn your mind off and shoot. Contra III represents a distilled 16-bit shooter experience, and if you crank down the difficulty and pump up the lives you’re bound to come out with a win. If you’re afraid you can’t handle this one-session shooter alone, grab a friend.

Approximate Time Commitment: 3 hours

Mega Man 2 – The Blue Bomber’s second outing is often described as his finest. A combination of awesome 8-bit music, amazing level design, and gripping boss fights makes this a game you can’t put down. Any self respecting Mega Man fan will find themselves dusting off this gem whenever they’ve got a nostalgic itch to scratch and a day to kill. Oh yeah, I recommend killing the Robot Masters in this order: Metal Man, Wood Man, Air Man, Bubble Man, Heat Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Quick Man.

Approximate Time Commitment: 4 hours

Shadow Complex – We were originally going to suggest Super Metroid, but if you don’t know your way around that game, Samus is bound to get lost for awhile. Shadow Complex came to mind immediately after that, as Epic’s side-scrolling adventure has awesome pacing and an intuitive map. Throw in a solid story and cool weaponry and you’ve got enough reasons to keep your butt glued to the couch from the beginning to the end of this exploration-heavy quest.

Approximate Time Commitment: 6.5 hours

Super Mario Bros. 3 – Even if you don’t abuse the warp whistles you can still breeze through this Mario classic in no time. If you know your way around the game’s hidden 1-ups and Toad house minigames, you’ll have more lives than Bowser can shake a koopa shell at. To beat this game in one sitting requires patience, because the flames of World 8 will consume those with faltering will power. Have you ever wondered how long it would take the Game Informer crew to beat Mario 3? You may know sooner than later.

Approximate Time Commitment: 5 hours

Portal – It’s amazing how much excitement Portal 2 has garnered considering the first game can be completed in a day. If you’re savvy with puzzles involving space-time then you should be able to rock through the stark labs of Aperture science and destroy GLaDOS between breakfast and dinner. If you bring a buddy along for the experiment, your dual intellects are bound to make things quicker – unless you’re drunk or stupid (or both).

Approximate Time Commitment: 7 hours

Limbo – Similar to Braid, this game is good to chug through if you have the patience to chew on tough puzzles. You don’t have to worry about burning out on annoying music or repetitive enemies thanks to the game’s variety of bite-sized puzzle scenarios. Limbo’s stark black and white presentation makes it easy on the eyes, too, and is so user-friendly that you can pass the controller to any friend that’s watching.

Approximate Time Commitment: 4.5 hours

Left 4 Dead 2 – Valve’s zombie apocalypse FPS sequel is packed with tons of options, alternate routes, and awesome multiplayer that you can sink weeks into. On the other hand, the five core campaign levels can be completed in under an hour and a half each, barring terrible luck or idiotic teammates. Why not spend your day off trekking through burning hotels, infected swamps, and an undead New Orleans?

Approximate Time Commitment: 7 hours

Ico – Yet another puzzle-heavy game makes it onto our one day gaming list. Team Ico’s first title expertly leads gamers from one quagmire to the next, delivering satisfying but not overly complicated puzzles. Sure, the game’s combat isn’t that great, but Ico is more about the journey than anything else. This PS2 title has held up great, and its timeless narrative is best enjoyed in a single sitting.

Approximate Time Commitment: 8 hours

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Everything about Sonic is fast-paced, including the passage of time when you’re playing his games. From Emerald Hill Zone to Death Egg Zone, each level of Sonic 2 can be beaten in a maximum of 15 minutes. If you really want a breezy spin while taking down Dr. Robotnik, then ignore gathering chaos emeralds.

Approximate Time Commitment: 1.5 hours