Image via Nintendo

The 10 best games for when you only have an hour to spare

For those who don't want to put too much of their life into a game.

While there are plenty of games you can lose hours of your life into, that is only sometimes the preferable way to enjoy your games. If you have only a short amount of time to devote to gaming, getting into a large RPG with an expansive world and complicated skill tree can be challenging. Instead, if you are short on time, you want a great game to unwind with for short bursts or even potentially finish in one sitting. Here are our picks for the best games to play when you only have an hour to spare.

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Best games to play for an hour — Our top 10 picks

Donut County

Image via Annapurna Interactive

Donut County is one of the most chilled and relaxing games you can play. The idea is simple: you only control a hole in the ground and drag it around. The more items that you make fall into the hole, the bigger it will slowly grow, letting you get even more in there. If you want to unwind after a stressful day, there are not many games that we recommend you destress to than Donut County.

Hitman 3

Image via IO Interactive

Hitman 3 is a game that will have you hunting down and eliminating targets and escaping the scene without being found and killed by the area’s security. Sometimes, this is much easier said than done, but a single playthrough of any level should generally fall between 20 minutes to an hour. It depends on how you attack each situation with your gear and whether you take a stealthy approach. You can spend plenty of time exploring these areas and figuring out how best to take down Agent 47’s target without being discovered.

Kirby’s Dream Buffet

Image via Nintendo

Kirby’s Buffet is an adorable game following one of the many favorite round pink guys from Nintendo. This game is a lot like Fall Guys, where you have to avoid falling off the edge of the map. You can also play with up to four of your friends while locking some cute dessert-themed items while you inhale all the foods around. This game can be intense if you want it to be, or it can be a great game to just play between chores or other activities.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Image via Nintendo.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is such an easy game to play for an hour and then put down for later. Of course, you can play the many Grand Prix tracks available in the base game or the Booster Pass, or you can take the challenge online and face off against random players from worldwide. If you want a more head-to-head experience, you can also play some Battle Mode, but the races are much more varied and filled out in this entry.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Image via The Pokémon Company

Pretty much any Pokémon game can be picked up and enjoyed for a bit before you save it and put it down for the next day. With Scarlet and Violet, the map is much more open and less linear. This can lead to you organically exploring the area and creating a unique experience for yourself as you find more creatures around. There is no pressure to be set on any path here; just go where you want when you want. You can also run around these areas with friends in local or online multiplayer, making Pokémon collecting even more fun.

Rocket League

Image via Psyonix

Rocket League is one of the more popular competitive games out there. Essentially, you are playing soccer in rocket-powered cars. Unlike the real-world soccer game, matches are short, with regulation lasting five minutes and overtime ending whenever someone scores if the teams are tied. Rocket League is a stimulating game with a ton of excitement in short bursts that can be enjoyed on your own or with friends.

Splatoon 3

Screenshot by Gamepur

If you are in a hurry but want to get in some fun and adorable battle-action, Splatoon is a great way to go. Matches in this game only last for about 3 minutes, and the goal is to get as much paint for your team all over the turf map as possible. So you load into the game with four other players, whether that be friends or other players, and you battle it out with the other players, splatting them with paint from power-ups and more. This game will keep you on your toes and be an enjoyable time within the little bit you have to play.

Related: How to win at every minigame in Kirby’s Dream Buffet

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Image via Nintendo

Speaking of games that are fun either solo or in a group, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to its name by providing the most robust Smash experience to date. With a roster filled with dozens and dozens of gaming icons, you will enjoy the colorful stages and unique movements of each character. You can use single-player modes or test your prowess in online and offline tournaments. These matches are fun and can fill you up after an hour of play.

Related: How to use the Super Chump in Splatoon 3

Tetris Effect

Image via Enhance/Steam

Any Tetris game could be added to this list, but we put Tetris Effect because it is the most recent and gorgeous entry in the series. If you are looking to destress and relax following a busy day, you can get lost in the simple music and scenes that pass by as you clear lines in this classic puzzler. It is simple Tetris, so you know what you are getting into, but sometimes a familiar game is all you need to play in an hour.


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John Hansen
John Hansen is a Full-time Staff Writer for Gamepur as well as a host for the YouTube channel Pixel Street Videos where he co-hosts a weekly gaming podcast and more. His favorite games include Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Breath of the Wild, Left 4 Dead 2, and Overwatch. He covers Overwatch 2 and other FPS titles, Minecraft, Sonic the Hedgehog, Legend of Zelda, and whatever zombie games are placed in front of him.
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Faith Lane
Freelance Writer for Gamepur since February 2023, after working in journalism since 2022. Faith Lane's core beats are GTA 5/Online, Minecraft, and Disney Dreamlight Valley, but she loves writing about any and all video games. Faith published her first book at 17-years-old, started her own editing business, and began her journey in journalism writing. She's a Christian who loves fandoms and all things games.