Video games and palate cleansing

The last two AAA games I’ve played have been pretty big ones. Horizon Zero Dawn features a massive world and an epic story. Dishonored 2 has a pretty lengthy campaign that all but demands to be played (at least) twice. The two games accounted for over 100 hours of officially counted play time, meaning the real number is actually a bit higher considering forgotten saves and questionable decisions.

I used to jump from one big game to the next, but it just doesn’t work for me anymore. As much as I love video games, especially big AAA experience video games, I always feel like a need a break after finishing a big game. Not necessarily a break from gaming, but a break from gaming’s big experiences.

That’s where palate cleansing games come in.

They might be games you typically wouldn’t play. Different genres. Different systems. Or they might be the same kinds of things you usually play on a smaller scale. Sometimes I turn to shorter AAA games. Others I go for small indie titles. Or puzzle games. Sometimes it’s just a matter of setting my console controller aside and playing on my iPad for a while. That’s what happened this time.

80 Days

80 Days screenshot
80 Days (Inkle)

80 Days has been installed on my iPad, unplayed, for what feels like years. It might actually be years. I finally checked it out over the last couple days, and it’s great. It’s a fairly straightforward adventure game based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. Players take on the role of Passepartout, personal valet to adventurer Phileas Fogg, in a visual novel that adapts to player decisions and throws more and more challenges as progress is made.

It’s a pretty quick experience, and it’s different every time. I’ve played through three times now, missing the target by just one day on my first attempt, not even getting close on my second, and finally getting there (in only 64 days!) on my third. There are still a lot of cities I haven’t been to, and I’m sure many more subplots and side stories I haven’t witnessed.

80 Days was a great way to cleanse my gaming palate between Dishonored 2 and whatever comes next (probably Prey), and I won’t be surprised if it plays the same role after I finish that.

Fallout Shelter

Fallout Shelter screenshot
Fallout Shelter (Bethesda)

I installed Fallout Shelter the second it was available back in 2015. I played it for a few minutes deciding it wasn’t for me. I installed it again on a whim last night, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a resource management sim with a Fallout skin, so I’m not sure what I didn’t like about it two years ago.

It’s not a game that needs to be played for hours at a time, and I don’t expect to even check on Vault-182 every day, but it’s a pleasant enough way to spend a bit of time between other, more important tasks. Whether I’m trying to cleanse my palate between bigger games, clear my head between writing sessions, or simply avoid adult responsibilities and the real world, Fallout Shelter is a decent way to pass the time.

 


 

Do you use palate cleansing games between bigger titles? What games or types of games do you turn to? Let me know in the comments.

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