5 short Xbox games you need to play

As the gaming industry has seen a shift towards longer experiences, such as a focus on replayable multiplayer and open-world designs, games with shorter lengths have been removed from the spotlight. That doesn't mean they're gone, though, and there's plenty of them worth playing if you want a break from the norm. Here are five of them that blew our socks off.


Firewatch is a choice-based narrative adventure game set in the woods of the Wyoming wilderness in 1989. You play as Henry, a new fire lookout worker charged with the task of keeping the forests safe during a hot and dry summer.

Eventually, strange events draw you out from your lookout position, and you're thrust into the dangers of Mother Nature. Your only connection back to the world you came from is Delilah, a woman whom you can contact over the radio. As you explore the wild, the dialogue you choose to say to Delilah will end up determining the fate of your relationship with her. Despite only being a few hours, Firewatch's story will be one that sticks with you forever.

Firewatch is available for $19.99.

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Superhot (Image credit: Superhot Team)

A common criticism of the shooter genre is that every game feels the same. If that's a view you share, then SUPERHOT is your dream title.

In SUPERHOT, time only progresses when you move. This unique idea turns your usual shooting gallery experience into an interactive skill-based puzzle in which you have to think about traditional shooter mechanics (such as predicting movement and leading your shots) in brand new ways.

In addition to guns, there are also other sandbox elements. You can hit people with physical attacks, either with the butt of your firearm or with melee weapons. If using the latter, you can even throw them at enemies from a distance if you have no gun available. The game is only an hour or two long, but the levels are heavily replayable and there's more than one way to complete them.

SUPERHOT is available for $24.99.

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Inside (Image credit: Playdead)

INSIDE is a 2D puzzle platformer game in which you take control of a young boy being hunted by a mysterious group. Your objective is to find a way to survive, but as you progress through the areas, you soon find yourself directly in the midst of a dark and disturbing project.

What makes INSIDE so great is how atmospheric and immersive its dreary world is. The stylized visuals mesh phenomenally with the haunting musical score in order to create a tension few games have achieved prior.

The gameplay pacing is fluid, and the puzzles themselves are challenging but not frustratingly so. Overall, the experience of three or four hours you spend in INSIDE is worth every penny.

INSIDE is available for $19.99.

See on Microsoft Store

Resident Evil 7 biohazard

Arguably the best horror game from 2017, Resident Evil 7 biohazard is a fantastic return to form for the long-running CAPCOM franchise. Blending elements from titles like Outlast and The Evil Within with a classic Resident Evil structure was a great idea, and it really paid off.

In just 8 to 10 hours, Resident Evil 7 is able to achieve everything you want from a scary game: an interesting plot, frightening antagonists, haunting atmosphere, and a compelling gameplay experience.

Resident Evil 7 biohazard is available for $29.99.

Read: Resident Evil 7 review

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Quantum Break

Quantum Break is a third-person action shooter that combines classic cover-focused gunfighting with the power to manipulate time. As you take control of protagonist Jack Joyce, you fight to prevent one power-hungry man (who also has these abiltiies) from causing the fabric of time to tear itself apart.

One really cool aspect of Quantum Break is that between sessions of gameplay, there are also short live-action cinematics designed to be watched like a TV show. These compliment the story in the game and help give greater detail to this new universe.

From start to finish, Quantum Break is about 10 to 12 hours long. It's on the short side for a AAA singleplayer game, but that's OK. Every moment of the experience is an absolute blast.

Quantum Break is available for $39.99.

See on Microsoft Store

Your thoughts

What are your favorite short games on Xbox One? Why? Let us know in the comments.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.