Lunch Break Gaming
Contributed by DJMMT
For the last few years, I have been in the habit of watching anime on my lunch breaks at work while playing mobile games. I don’t actually prefer mobile games, but I do play them frequently. The major issue with most of the mobile games I play is that I am a 100% free to play user and most free to play games, that I like to play, have a time-based energy system. Meaning that you can only play until you run out of energy unless you’re willing to spend money to get more. Some examples of games like this I’ve played in recent years are DQ Tact, which I’m currently playing, Fist of the North Star Legends Revive, and DQ Dai: A Hero’s Bonds, which I ended up quitting rather quickly. I’m actually more than a year into DQ Tact and since quitting Pokémon GO back in October it has become my main mobile game. In general, mobile games also tend to get repetitive as well.
When I changed jobs earlier this year, I was given a computer that can run game launchers like Steam and Epic Games Store. This was the first time in my life that I was able to access these platforms from the office. No pesky firewalls or monitoring systems in place to stop me. So I decided that I’d try playing PC games while watching anime rather than mobile games.
There are very specific conditions I need for the games I like to play on my lunch breaks. Note these are not conditions I prefer for gaming in general. These features are necessary because of the way I like to play games while at work watching anime. The games need to be playable with no sound. Otherwise I won’t hear the anime. The games have to be playable offline as single player experiences. The games have to be playable without a controller. Preferably only with a keyboard. The games have to have a solid checkpoint system that makes it easy to jump in and out of the game quickly with little trouble and without deleting progress as a result of an inconvenient checkpoint system. It’s also important that the games aren’t particularly troublesome or annoying to play. Games that are too difficult to make progress in while playing casually are not great for this scenario. Like most of the games I play in any scenario, the games have to have a clear ending to reach. The games ideally can be beaten in under 10 hours. Finally, the games have to be able to run smoothly on a mid-range laptop. I’m using an Acer Aspire A315-57G.
Given these conditions, indie titles seem to be the best option for my needs. Thankfully, both my Epic Games and Steam libraries are filled to the brim with indie titles I’ve collected over the years. Many of which I got for free. As I haven’t been playing games at work like this for very long, the list of games I’ve beaten in this scenario is pretty short. But I’ve really enjoyed being able to game at work and I’ve discovered some new games that I don’t think I ever would have played otherwise.
Here is the list of games I’ve played in this scenario so far and my thoughts on them. Again, I’ve played all these games with no sound while watching anime.
This game, which I have also played a lot at home in normal conditions, is absolutely phenomenal for this scenario. But it’s Tetris so that shouldn’t surprise anyone. It just works. And if you don’t want to stop playing after you’ve completed the campaign, they add challenges every week to give you more things to do.
This one works very well but does require a mouse. My only real issue with it is that the checkpoint system is a bit spotty. There were a few times where my progress didn’t save where I expected it to and I was forced to replay some of the same stages. The game takes a little longer to reach the end than I might have liked but ultimately it was a good overall experience.
Superhot: Mind Control Delete
Sadly, I did not enjoy the sequel to Superhot nearly as much as the original. The problem with this game is that it made a number of changes to the formula that made the game way less convenient for my lunch time gaming sessions. For example, the game does not checkpoint after each stage. You have to beat a group of stages with a set amount of lives to move forward. In the later chapters, the game can be quite hard. This would be fine if I only had to beat one stage at a time and could pick up where I left off in my next session. But when you have to stop playing abruptly while at work, this new formula just isn’t as fun due to how inconvenient it is. I got pretty far in MCD but ultimately didn’t end up finishing the game because of all the repeat stages I had to play.
A Short Hike
This one was basically perfect for lunch time gaming sessions. I think I beat it in two sessions but it might have been three. It’s short, easy to play, has clear goals, and only needs a keyboard. I didn’t do everything available in the game, but I reached the credits and enjoyed my short time with it.
This was more challenging than A Short Hike, but it was also perfect for lunch time gaming. A story-based platformer with a clear end point. I think this one took me about five sessions. The puzzles were solid but never inaccessible, the checkpoint system was effective, and the story was good enough for what the game ultimately is. Definitely a lunch break gaming recommend.
This was another perfect choice for lunch break gaming. The way the game operates in 60 second cycles is actually perfect. It made starting and stopping really easy to do. And the game was pretty short. Only took me three or four sessions to beat. And I really appreciated that the final boss was a checkpoint. Another great option.
Sine Mora EX
I only played the story campaign but that worked really well for gaming on my lunch break. It’s broken up into stages with clear endpoints. The gameplay is easy to jump into. The story requires a lot of reading and is a bit convoluted, because time travel, but gameplay wise and length wise it was perfect. I beat it in three sessions. It’s also pretty well balanced in normal mode save for a few specific spots.
My only complaint about Sonic Mania is the checkpoint system. I really dislike that you have to start at the beginning of the act each time you get a game over. And yes I know that’s not a new thing for the franchise. It if was by stage or if you could continue with more lives then I don’t think I would have had any complaints. The boss fights in the later stages get too hard for the small amount of rings you get from the checkpoint and ultimately this is what made the game so troublesome. I ended up quitting at the final boss, because I got tired of having to replay the whole act every time. I may return to it at some point since I’m literally at the end of the game.
Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy
I both love and hate this game. I’ve played it on and off multiple times over the years and I’ve never even gotten close to beating it. It works as far as meeting my lunch break gaming parameters but it’s so frustrating and stress inducing that it’s actually a terrible game to play while at work.
I plan on continuing this trend of playing PC games at lunch time. It has allowed me to beat multiple additional games this year and let me experience more indie titles than I otherwise would have. The hardest part is always picking the next game, because it’s hard to figure out which games don’t need sound to enjoy them. I’d love to hear your recommendations on what games you think I’d enjoy during my lunchbreak based on my requirements.