Regardless of the point in your life you are at, we’re living in pretty busy times, and spare time itself is something of a luxury for many of us. For the purposes of this text, however, let’s all assume we have way more time on our hands than we actually do, and we’re looking for games to help us spend it in an entertaining, satisfying way.
So, which games make it easy to spend dozens and hundreds of hours playing them? Well, thanks for asking, myself, let’s take a look at ten of them.
Yes, we’ve written about Warframe before, in our piece about letting off some steam. Digital Extremes also managed to create a game which encourages and properly rewards virtually endless grind. It may sound discouraging for some, but in effect playing Warframe you are always working towards something: getting new blueprints, finding resources to actually start crafting, or finding new mods to customise your playstyle.
And the best part? It’s really easy to either compartmentalise your playtime into handy half-hour bursts, or spend your entire day running, shooting, slashing, farming. It doesn’t hurt, that the game is phenomenally diverse in terms of gameplay. Each weapon changes how your combat goes, and each titular Warframe (all 30+ of them craftable) has a very different playstyle, from support, to mobility, to stealth, to sheer devastation, and any imaginable mix thereof. And don’t get us started on #fashionframe.
The point is: you can spend hours on end and be free to change pretty much your entire playstyle at a drop of a hat.
9. Grand Theft Auto V
So there’s this sort-of underground video game franchise called Grand Theft Auto V, created by an indie studio Rockstar Games.
Yeah, who are we kidding, everybody and their dog has heard of GTA. Be it from personal experience or by multiple more or less unwarranted uproars about the franchise over the years, there’s little chance someone’s never heard of GTA.
What nets it the place on this list are two things, actually. The first is singleplayer GTA’s shamelessly sandboxy nature letting you screw around the game virtually to no end, screwing with the NPCs, having fun with the plentiful minigames, or just generally driving around, looking for trouble.
The other aspect of that is famous/infamous GTA Online segment, which let’s you interact and compete against other players in a shared environment. They even released their own version of the new big buzzword in gaming, a Battle Roayle mode, albeit with a sort-of Mad Maxian machine wars bent, rather than ground-pounding of PUBG or other BRs. And wouldn’t you know, we have a piece about that too. PUBG vs GTA. Whichever mode you pick, there are hours upon hours of gameplay there, if you need them to be.
8. No Man’s Sky
Yes. No Man’s Sky. Fight me. In all honestly though, terrible, downright atrocious launch aside, Hello Games are apparently working hard to release a steady stream of significant updates to the originally nigh-contentless game. We got base building, we got improvements to trade, actual ability to meet other players out in the world and travel together. Bit by bit NMS is getting all the content everyone was wowed with before the wonderful dream came crashing down like every Death Star so far.
As it is, No Man’s Sky offers enough planets and systems to give an entire generation something to discover for… well, probably the heat death of the universe will come before most of it gets discovered.
If you want some rather calming, colorful game about virtually endless space exploration, give No Man’s Sky a chance, it’s nothing like this weird thingy that got initially released.
Yes. Minecraft again. Sorry, that the kind of topics I’m getting. We have written about it endlessly over the past weeks, there’s nothing to add now, completely tapped out. I refer you to our previous pieces.
6. Fallout 4
Fallout 4 is the second of Bethesda’s journeys to the weird and unfriendly world of Fallout. Featuring androids (Synths), weird faction politics, and probably the most negligent parent in the entire history of gaming, Fallout 4 has plenty of contet to keep you playing for a long time.
For one, it lets you build and develop your own settlements, complete with automated foundries. People have managed to create some pretty impressive contraptions, aided by robust modding community and multiple DLCs.
There are also radial quests, providing possibly an endless stream of tasks to complete if you find yourself in need of more experience or at least incentive to explore some more. And with no real level cap in place, you can spend with Fallout 4 enough time to become a semi-literal god of the wasteland.
5. Middle-Earth: Shadow of X
Monolith was truly onto something when they created the Nemesis system for the first venture into glum Talion’s journey around the land of Mordor, and then expanding it for the second game.
A dynamic, procedurally generated list of personal enemies, thralls, and, in the second one, allies is a ton of fun to manage and game for greater rewards and emergent storytelling. If you choose to play these games it won’t be long before some Thrak or a Goruk or any other guttural-sounding name becomes the bane of your existence, unwilling to die and always somehow finding way to interfere with your actions.
It doesn’t hurt, that while not exactly difficult, the combat system is bloody and varied thanks to your Nemeses’ particular vulnerabilities and resistances, often requiring you to think quick and stack the deck in your favour before going in for the kill or subjugation. Spending time hunting Uruks and manipulating the orc hierarchy is a ton of fun.
Tetris. Yes. Depending on how the version you’re playing is configured, the odds may be stacked in your favour enough to let you play virtually indefinitely. No other game on this list can boast about entertaining people for the past thirty years, and there is something to be said about the joys of simplicity. And it’s fair and skill-based, so that’s already better than most other mobile games you might play on your daily commute.
3. Destiny 1&2
Some may joke that Destiny is a high-budget, paid version of Warframe, but it’s also a juicy, polished mix of Bungie’s famed tight gunplay, visual splendour, and, in the case of the sequel, even a story and a sense of humour.
Jests aside, Destiny can be a lot of fun for people looing for a great first-person shooter in science fiction trappings and a decent amount of RPG-like mechanics like loot to add some spice to the proceeding and justify grinding for levels, power, and gear. Finding the best equipment, getting all the exotics you are interested in, completing the raids and whatnots pappering the solar system is going to take a lot of time, all of it spent with very satisfying guns. What’s not to love?
2. Rogue-likes and Rogue-lites
Yeah, take your pick on this one, Steam has plenty of them. The Binding of Isaac is a good start. Heat Signature gets some talk, too. There’s also Dead Cells, and very stylish Don’t Starve, mixing survival gameplay with rogue-like principles.
Whatever’s your pick, you’re in for potentially endless procedurally generated challenges. Depending on the one you play, you may keep a portion of your belongings upon death, or your only reward is the better understanding of the game, letting you, maybe, just maybe, go even further than you did on the previous attempt.
You can get a lot of mileage out of any roguelike (or roguelite) you set your eyes on, byt Don’t Starve (and a multiplayer version: Don’t Starve Together) is a good place to start.
1. Civilization VI
What can we say that hasn’t been said before? Sid Meier’s Civilization, with the latest incarnation numbered at VI is a legendary series of 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) about growing a civilisation from a single city to a sprawling empire capable of pursuing victory via peace, space exploration, or ruthless subjugation of other cultures.
Although the single playthrough may not be endless (not optimally, nobody’s stopping you) there are always multiple cultures to try out, a lot of fun with diplomacy, and there’s multiplayer. If you fancy growing empires from zero, Civilization VI is your best way to start.
The time’s out
We respect your time, sometimes, maybe, just a little, so the text had to be finished before it got bloated into an ungodly monstrosity threatening your spare time and patience. As usual, the list is not meant to be exhaustive as much as… inspirational, so you know what to start playing when you have too much time on your hands and a great Internet transfer to quickly get one of those from your game distribution platform of your choice.
What’s your go-to game to spend an unexpected free day with? Let us know in the comments.