Short & Sweet: RPGs Worth your time

Monday, January 11th, 2016

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If you are like me, you love your RPGs. In my opinion, they provide some truly memorable experiences but the problem is….THEY CAN BE LONG AS HELL!!!! Unfortunately, this aspect of the genre is both a blessing and a curse. Which is the reason so many are hesitant to pick one of these games up. This little list is made to show that there are games out there that can tell its story and give you a great RPG experience in under 25 hours! I think that’s a fairly reasonable game length for the average busy person out there. Of course RPG is a broad term so for the sake of this article, we are going with games that:

  • Let you gain experience and level up
  • Give you more than 1 character in your party

The games on this list are not exclusive to one particular system making them easily accessible. Most are even playable on current generation consoles! Without Further ado…HERE WE GO!

Suikoden (Ps1, PSN)

Suikoden | Boss suikoden 1 | dialogue

Suikoden is a classic RPG from Konami that is a war story. Simply put you are Tir McDohl, a young boy whose father is working for the enemy. Once you find out about and even carry out some of their corrupt acts, you decide to build an army that is strong enough to overthrow the evil empire. In Suikoden you recruit up to 108 characters, build a castle, fight in massive wars and even have 1-on-1 duels. It is quite the engaging story and best of all, it’s told in under 25 hours. One of the best examples of the term “Short and sweet”, Suikoden is classic that should be enjoyed by everyone! 

Golden Sun (GBA, Wii U)

Golden Sun | Djin Golden Sun | Ragnarok

Possibly one of the wordiest RPGs ever. This early Game Boy Advance title was one that blew my young 9 year old mind. Screenshots do not do it justice, as Golden Sun is the kind of game you have to see to believe! The graphics are among the best you can get on the handheld and it came out within the first year! There was a big emphasis on puzzle solving similar to Lufia, Wild Arms or Zelda. The world was also filled with things for you to find as well, but what really sold the game was the music. Plus the story was not too shabby either! Do yourself a favor, look up the battle theme and keep it playing as you read the rest of this article. Many complained that the characters are too chatty in this game. While there is some truth to that, I did not think it detracted from the experience at all. Play this game and you will see why I wish Isaac was actually playable in Super Smash Bros. His assist trophy in Brawl and the song in one of the Metroid levels are such teases.

Chrono Trigger (SNES, PS1, DS,Virtual Console, PSN)

chrono Trigger | Ayla Chrono Trigger | Imp battle

Chrono Trigger is pretty decent and short.

Mario & Luigi: Super Star Saga (GBA, Virtual Console)

Chuckolator_Two Mario & Luigi | hoopla

The Mario & Luigi series is the third style of RPGs based on the Super Mario Bros. series and it is no disappointment. This game is hilarious and very cleverly written. Superstar Saga is the closest we will get to a “Sitcom RPG”. The situations the iconic duo get themselves into are absolutely ridiculous and they encounter some truly memorable characters and villains. It is also home to some of the most fun battles and bosses ever to be seen in a turn based RPG. Superstar Saga is highly recommended and the sequels are not too bad either! If this game does not win you over with the great animation and spritework, I do not know what to say to you…..

Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs The Soulless Army (PS2, PSN)

Raidou Kuzunoha | Slash Raidou Kuzunoha | dialogue

That title is a mouthful, but this often overlooked PlayStation 2 gem is great! Shin Megami Tensei games are known for their lengthy narratives, but this one keeps it brief and does not waste your time. The best way to describe it, is Pokemon but in a much more mysterious “Noire” setting. You run around several areas solving mysteries, raise demons to fight alongside you while listening to an amazing soundtrack. The story is also really good, involving a curse that is said to affect only young women from a particular family. There is a rather insane plot twist late in the game, that also links it to earlier games in the SMT series. I see this one go on sale often and I am pretty sure most people are ignoring it. You can change that! When you are done, check out the sequel, which is a bit longer but also an even better game!

Of course, these are not ALL of the RPGs in which the main story is wrapped up in 25 hours or less. In fact there are plenty more than what was listed but I think this is a great place to start. What are your favorite “Short” RPGs?

About Justin Guillou

Justin joined Operation Rainfall after visiting the site numerous times and reading the articles on Xenoblade Chronicles. He enjoys searching for and collecting some of the more obscure video games out there.




  • Mr0303

    I rarely play RPGs nowadays for that exact reason. I don’t have 80+ hours to spend on a game just to get the main story. One game with a rather short playtime is Child of Light – it has an awesome artstyle and satisfying gameplay. It takes around 10 hours to complete.

  • Brian

    Great article!! I love the idea behind this! And these all seem like pretty accessible, fun games!
    Maybe I’ll share a list of my own!

  • RJ MacReady

    the original Arc the Lad.

  • Antonio Capillo

    i’m loving lord of magna… 20 hours for the first playthrough! the story might not be deep, but is a nice jrpg, broadly speaking

  • Josh S.

    Great list, except for Golden Sun 😉 I am not a fan of that first game at all.

  • Aside from a lack of time I have zero interest in the endless grinding to level up characters. Sometimes the story makes it worth it…other times I want to stop playing altogether. Random encounters also drive me nuts, nothing frustrates me more in an RPG than having to completely stop whatever I’m doing for a battle.