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It's Short, so It Sucks
"Seven levels? Please, I did that almost in my sleep. It is difficult, but still beatable in a very short amount of time. And once you are done, there isn't a whole lot of incentive to play it again. Yes, you can change ships and weapons load outs, but the levels play exactly the same. So there's little to no replay value once you've beaten it."
This review of Gradius V. Gradius V is a 90-minute shmup.

Games in the 1970s and early 1980s usually had no fixed ending; if you survived, you kept going. Then came the 8-bit generation. Games started to have a definite length. If a player was highly skilled with the game, then most could be beaten in anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The general lack of saving and soul-crushing difficulty of these games meant that one had to play them for much longer in order to become good enough to get to the end. Gamers were more or less satisfied.

Then the 1990s and 2000s came. Hours long adventure and role playing games started to increase in popularity, and the average length of a game increased. Many games these days last 20 to 40 hours. No longer could an hourlong game be regarded as standard length; it was now passed off as a short, budget game to be avoided at all costs. The game's length must be directly proportional to its price. In other words, it's short, so it sucks.

It doesn't matter what genre the game being targeted is: first person shooters, shoot 'em ups, RPGs, action adventure, you name it. If you can beat the game in a day or two, or worse, in one sitting, expect review sites to, at best, cut off a whole point or letter grade. To some, complaining about an arcade-style game's length is to entirely miss the point.

Truth is, there is nothing (inherently) wrong with a short game. As the original generations of gamers have grown up, many of them have never left the hobby. But they find that many complications such as college, jobs and family life leave them with less time (and more money) to play. Many of them prefer a shorter game that can be beaten in a few days, or even hours, so they can get on with their lives, or at least move on to the next game (or the New Game+, or whatever post-game content is available in the present one).

A single, hours-long game tends to satiate the player after one playthrough, leading to the mentality of “oh, I'll put this game away or sell it.” In comparison, shorter, arcade-like games, due to their inherent replay value, are less likely to do this; multiple playthroughs of such a game can total up to the time needed to beat a modern video game.

This goes double for handheld consoles. One of the handheld's primary strengths is that it can be played intermittently while you're out in your normal day; on the bus, or during your lunch break. Portable games arguably need to be short, or at least be amenable to frequent interruption. This is further mitigated by handheld games commonly being cheaper.

Another viewpoint argues that it's exceedingly rare to find a long game that achieves its length without resorting to padding, repetitive gameplay, being a victim of story to gameplay ratio, and other forms of fake longevity. Therefore, shorter games of consistent, satisfyingly concentrated quality are often thought to be preferable to games that were artificially stretched out in response to this trope, but would otherwise be short.

Still, as the general price of games remains high, gamers may blanch at paying full price for such a game, making this perhaps a legitimate complaint for a review, though a more apt label would be “it's short, so it's too expensive.” Some reviews have forgiven shorter games that are either budget-priced or cheap downloads (Portal is a commonly cited example, lasting around 3-4 hours, but originally sold in a $50 bundle with four other AAA games). Sufficiently egregious examples come across as a mission pack sequel masquerading as actual games.

Note that the minimum amount of time necessary to complete a game is never actually paid attention to, as very few games remain unbeatable within the space of a single day for the dedicated and experienced; it's only the amount of time it takes on a casual playthrough that draws this fire.

It's Easy, so It Sucks is a sister trope. This is not the inverse of Bigger Is Better in Bed.

This page is not about complaining about games that are too short. This is when the fandom (or hatedom) and reviewers make the complaint.

Non-Video Game Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • Outside the video game realm, there have been a number of examples in anime. Because many major series run for hundreds of episodes (Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Naruto, InuYasha, etc.), many fans have low tolerance for shorter series and films, and apply the it's short, so it sucks mantra.
    • Blood: The Last Vampire, as a film, is only 45 minutes long, including the opening and closing credits. Despite being a very well made film, many anime fans seem to regard it as bad solely for its short length.
    • The same is true of Dead Leaves, another anime film clocking in at about 45 minutes.
    • Fooly Cooly, at only 6 episodes, has gotten the criticism.
    • Puni Puni Poemy at only 2 episodes.
    • For a long time, 26 episodes was the standard length of an anime season, but more and more studios are outputting higher quality 13 episode seasons, many of which receive the it's short, so it sucks response.
    • Ironically, this is running full circle. Nowadays, everyone is saying that any anime that runs for more than 26 episodes, let alone 50, gets all sorts of criticisms thrown at it for simply how long they are. Of course, a lot of these people don't understand the main reasons for anime series based off of manga trying to intentionally prolong the show's run. You'd think the whole divisions into "arcs" as opposed to "Seasons" for most anime would be able to alert most people to this, but apparently, this doesn't seem to do so.
    • In the case of adaptations, this complaint is simply bundled in with how completely it reproduces its source. Adaptation Distillation reduces this complaint while a gutted adaptation of the same length elicits more. There can also be a lot of subjective differences among fans disappointed that a scene important to themselves was left out of the adaptation.

    Film 
  • One of the major criticisms against the Jonah Hex movie is its 81 minute runtime (with about nine minutes of that being credits). Probably doesn't help that pretty much all of its action movie competitors are closer to 2 hours.
    • Also, that with a cast including Megan Fox, most people aren't expecting the film to be one to stand up on its artistic qualities.
      • The film's length (or lack thereof) was but one of many, many complaints that critics had. Still, major releases that short are rare.
  • This was one of many criticisms of The Last Airbender. Shyamalan edited the film down to only 90 minutes (for rather vague reasons), meaning that whole scenes had to be dropped and replaced with narration.
  • Disney's 2011 Winnie the Pooh film was criticized in some circles for being only 59 minutes long, partly because the movie was so good that they wanted it to keep going.

    Literature 
  • For decades there has been debate in literary circles as to what defines a true "novel", with some scholars/readers stating any book less than a certain length is not a true novel. Shorter books as a result often get the label "novella" attached, even if they're 150-200 pages in length. Aside from semantics this has also stretched into quality arguments, even though there are literally thousands of examples of subversions, such as Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, to name only three.

     Live Action TV 
  • Common reaction from Americans to British TV shows, even the ones with thirteen-episode series, though normally only if they're unfamiliar with typical series lengths in Britain. Can result in a curious form of dissonance on forums, with some people moaning about the length being too short and others feeling that it would have benefited from being a more typical eight episodes due to the amount of filler in the same thread.
    • Community mocked this tendency when Britta praises British shows for offering closure.
  • From 1963-89, Doctor Who was presented as a serial, with storylines sometimes taking a month or longer to unfold. When the series returned in 2005 it adopted a more US-style format consisting of standalone single episodes and a couple of two parters per season (though each season to date has had a background story arc of some sort). Some die-hard fans complained (and continue to complain) that they miss the more leisurely pace that four, six, or more weekly episodes afforded the viewer.
    • In the '80s the series actually moved to something closer to the current format with an experiment during the Colin Baker era of splitting stories into two 45-minute episodes (as is done now) and with a few Peter Davison stories clocking-in at two 25-minute episodes (not much longer than a stand-alone 45-min episode from post-2005 series). Another thing worth mentioning is that, especially in the Eccleston and Tennant eras, there were complaints that some writers (often those who grew-up watching the 63-89 run) were scripting stories that were more suited to 4x25mins rather than a single 45min episode meaning that sub-plots were resolved extremely quickly, there was poignant dwelling on the death of characters the viewer had only known for about 15 minutes etc etc.
  • A common complaint from print journalists about soundbite-driven TV News.
  • The first ever James Bond adaptation, Casino Royale 1954 from Climax!, is a whopping 54-minutes long. This is fairly forgivable as it was produced solely as a low-budget CBS 'movie of the week', performed live, and happens to be a damn good adaptation of the source novel, despite the Americanization of James Bond.

    Music 
  • Weezer's second Self-Titled Album (a.k.a. The Green Album) occasionally got this complaint by fans, since it's only 28 minutes long. That's only 4 minutes shorter than Pinkerton was, but some were still disappointed that the band's first album in five years was under a half-hour long.
  • Likewise, They Might Be Giants' album The Spine was criticized for being less than a half-hour long. On the other hand, TMBG recorded so many songs during these sessions (the leftovers being released on two EP's, plus two spare songs released online) that fans have made their own jam-packed extended versions of the album.
    • TMBG's Factory Showroom was criticized not for total length but because it only had 13 songs, compared to their usual album lineup of 18-20 songs. This was due to the songs being a bit longer than usual.
  • Subverted with The Ramones' debut album, which is a little over 29 minutes long. One reason why it's so popular with fans and critics was that the songs were short and to the point, while at the same time packing a punch, making what little time the music was playing worth it.
    Joey Ramone: They're not short songs, they're long songs played fast.
  • It's not uncommon for Country Music albums to feature only ten songs with an average length under three minutes.
  • Short albums are pretty much the norm in Grindcore. For example, Gridlink has (as of this writing) two albums that are both less than thirteen minutes long. This is pretty much the Joey Ramone quote above taken Up to Eleven. This is one of the reasons that grindcore is a Love It or Hate It genre.
  • Wintersun's Time I received a lot of complaints about its short length, despite the fact that it is explicitly labelled as being only half of an album.
  • Frederic Chopin's Op. 28, Preludes, consists of 24 short pieces for solo piano, the vast majority of which could be played in under 2 minutes. His contemporary Robert Schumann called them "sketches, beginnings of études, or, so to speak, ruins, individual eagle pinions, all disorder and wild confusions."

     Web Original 
  • Inverted by this Cracked article — one of their complaints is about developers (particularly of open-world titles) artificially padding their games with filler in order to avert this trope. They specifically cite Portal as proof that games don't have to be over fifteen hours to be fun.
  • The Sonic Fan Film suffers from this; it was in development for roughly 2 1/2 years, had Jaleel White from Sonic Sat AM voicing the titular protagonist, yet the film lasts less than half an hour and has an incoherent plot that meanders all over the place.
  • Sonic For Hire is given flak sometimes for "being too short", with episodes lasting about 2-3 minutes long and being posted every Sunday (During a season).

     Western Animation 
  • The first season of The Legend of Korra is accused of this as it only lasted 12 episodes, eight less than the first season of the original series. Though this doesn't just relate to it's length, but many fans felt that it didn't make the best use of it's time and tried telling a story that was too big for 12 episodes (especially since it blew one of them on a rather unpopular romantic conflict), and have it end with a 60-minute Series Faux Nale.
  • The last episodes of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes sometimes had this complaint lobbied at them. The new executive producer had some planned storylines compressed into one episode each, making the show feel more rushed and less deep than before.
  • Total Drama Revenge of the Island and All Stars lasted 13 episodes, as half as long as the 26 episode seasons (not counting the 27th episode specials in Island and Action, or the former season's big recap before the finale), and they're blamed for having rushed plotlines.
    • The All Stars title sequence is also criticized by fans, as it lasted 20 seconds and uses an abbreviated version of the theme song.
  • Many fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have called out the season 3 episodes "Keep Calm and Flutter On" and "Magical Mystery Cure" as being rushed, and say they should have been two-parters. Unfortunately, the season got cut to just 13 episodes and already started with one two-parter, meaning a significant portion of it would have to be lost to make this happen. Of course, that just transfers the criticism to the season rather than the episodes; if it had been longer, there would have been more room to extend stories that needed it.

Video Game Examples:

     Action Adventure 
  • One massive criticism of Luigi's Mansion was having exactly four areas in the game and being over in about a day's worth of gameplay.
  • ICO. 6 hours or so on a first playthrough — maybe 8 or 10 if you just sit around watching the scenery — and it can be finished in 2 ˝ hours on a replay. It's still regarded as a very fine example of the genre.
    • Hilariously enough, the HD version of Ico has a trophy for beating the game under 2 hours. Two freaking hours! There are other games with speedrun trophies (like God of War HD for 5 hours) but never before was it two freaking hours. Guess even the developers acknowledge the game's short length.
    • Its prequel Shadow of the Colossus is just as short, roughly 7 hours but only if it's your second (and so on) playthough. Because in your first one you probably didn't know how to kill the Colossus, so one battle could easily spanned for 1-2 hours. It is after all, also a puzzle game.
  • Tomb Raider Legend. Even the developers themselves later said that the game was too short and subsequent games would be longer. Anniversary was indeed much longer (though still half the length of the game it was remaking). However, Underworld wasn't much longer than Legend and got the same complaints.
  • Mirror's Edge's story is approximately six hours long, but it can take much longer to master each level in Speedrun mode. Ironically, once you get good at Mirror's Edge, it is over that much faster. The game is about running after all. Speedruns on YouTube can clock in at under half an hour, skipping cutscenes and loading times.
  • Anyone who says this about a Lego Adaptation Game has obviously never tried to get 100% Completion.
  • Beyond Good & Evil also seemed to mostly avert this, getting very good reviews despite its length. It was a commercial disaster, however, which may have been partly a result of this.
  • Surprisingly enough, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess got this because the average playthrough time was somewhere between 25 and 50 hours, and some people expected a 100 hour game. This is jarring when you consider that previous Zelda games were only around 15 to 20 hours long; Twilight Princess is the longest and deepest yet.
  • Some people complained that Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword could be completed in 6-8 hours. However this didn't really affect its actual reception.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 can be finished in just a couple of hours... which means you could watch the movie it's inspired on in the same timeframe and have a more enjoyable experience.

     Action Games 
  • Averted by God of War; despite its short length, it has garnered mostly positive reviews. As X-Play put it: "Sure, it's a little short, but we dare you to only play it once!"
    • Just like the example above with Ico, the developers seem to acknowledge the game's short length, since one of the trophies requires you to beat the game in under 5 hours. Unlike Ico though, you can easily beat the game well under the time limit by not fighting enemies unless you really have to (there's actually a surprising number of enemies that don't need to be fought) and obtaining a costume to give you infinite magic (or by exploiting a Good Bad Bug for the same result) and just spam magic on all required enemies. It helps that if you die and have to restart from a checkpoint, the timer restarts from the checkpoint too, useful when doing those particularly tricky puzzles. If that's not enough, you can exploit Good Bad Bugs to skip a few segments of the game.
    • PSP prequel Chains of Olympus did get this, though, since it was roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the other games.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the video game, got this complaint (among others; it's a video game of a movie). On the one hand, it's unadulterated Wolverine, brutally slashing people to death and ripping them apart and stabbing them with scenery and yay! On the other, it's repetitive and can be finished in 7 hours and boo.

     Adventure Games 
  • The Neverhood
  • Due to being the first episodic game in the series, some Monkey Island fans felt that Tales of Monkey Island was too short...even though if you play each chapter back-to-back, it's probably the longest game in the series.
  • This is the single most common criticism against Full Throttle (that, and its simple puzzles). Cinematic storyteller, cool characterization, great Mad Max-like setting, but it's all over before the player knows it.

     Beat Em Ups 
  • MadWorld receives criticism for this, as single playthroughs of the game's storyline tend to average at around four hours.
  • Asura's Wrath recieved criticism for its story being only 6 to seven hours. Migitated someone by the episodic formula it has, as well as some future DLC that adds in a few chapters amongst other new stuff.

     First Person Shooter 
  • Inverted with the original Deus Ex which was explicitly designed as a return to longer in-depth gameplay, leading critics to complain that they never found time to finish it or use half the features. The story pacing and quality of the level design in the later parts of the game were also heavily criticized, by fans and even some of the original developers.
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando really, really suffered from this. (However its more of a its sucks that its so short)
    • Yet another Star Wars example; a common criticism of The Force Unleashed was how short it was. The game can easily be finished in less than 10 hours. The sequel gets it even worse, as it's even shorter.
  • Left 4 Dead is accused of being too short for only having 20 maps (5 maps per campaign) and a minimal storyline. Each campaign takes about 20 minutes to a little over an hour, depending on difficulty and the AI director's mood. Then again, the meat of the game is in its online multiplayer and the randomization of item and monster spawn locations.
    • With Valve announcing the new campaign, Crash Course, only being 2 maps long in order to make VS mode faster and more decisive so that people wouldn't quit when losing, fans naturally complained that the new campaign was too short and that Valve were appealing to scrubs for trying to make VS mode more fair.
      • With Crash Course now out, people are still complaining about it being too short, despite the fact that they knew about it. Both maps can take around 15 minutes each to complete and are a bit longer than a standard map that takes 10 minutes each. The finale is tougher than the other finales, which will cause restarts.
  • The Conduit has accused of not being worth $50 due to only having a few hours worth of single player as the developers admitted, no split-screen multiplayer, and being stuck with the Wii's overprotective online multiplayer matchmaking.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has been criticized for this, as the single-player only lasts for about six hours. Infinity Ward has actually responded to this criticism, saying that the story largely came first and they designed the game around it without for the effect this would have on the length, because they specifically wanted to avoid artificially padding it out. Modern Warfare 2 has a similar length for the same reasons, but a new co-op gametype is being introduced, with scenarios based off of ideas suggested for the single player campaign that were ultimately left out because there wasn't any good place or good reasons to put them in.
    • Declassified, the Playstation Vita tie-in between the first Black Ops and the second, can have its entire campaign completed in under an hour if you can handle the random spikes in difficulty.
    • It's pretty clear that Modern Warfare 2 started a trend. Every Call of Duty game released after 2009 has had a pretty short campaign ranging from 4 to 6 hours, and so has pretty much every military-style FPS game since. The Medal of Honor reboot and the more recent Battlefield games come to mind. Presumably the developers have realized that the real meat of the game lies in multiplayer so it just isn't worth it to have a long campaign anymore.
  • The Australian gaming show Good Game gave Halo 3: ODST an average review due to the reviewers claiming to have beaten the game in co-op on legendary in 4 1/2 hours.
  • Painkiller: Resurrection caught lots of flak for being only six levels long (each of which taking 30 minutes to beat tops), whereas its predecessor came packed with up to 34 levels (counting the Expansion Pack), and even Overdose had 16 levels - and both games combined can be bought for half the price of Resurrection, which was also initially advertised as having three new chapters instead of just one.
  • Homefront has a tiny 3-4 hour single player campaign, which means that you're basically buying it for the multiplayer, and at the time that was already being done bigger and better in Bad Company 2.
  • Battlefield 4 is getting slammed for this, with a campaign that is merely 7 missions long and plagued with bugs. Most Youtube playthroughs of the campaign can barely crack 3 or 4 hours.

     Hack And Slash 
  • Heavenly Sword only takes roughly 5 to 7 hours to complete. Considering that it was heavily marketed as Sony's new, big hit title which would be taking full advantage of the PS3's capabilities, gamers were less than pleased.
  • A common criticism regarding Lollipop Chainsaw was its incredibly short length. There are only six chapters in the game (seven if you count the Prologue), and each one takes about a half hour to complete (sometimes longer). While the game was very well-received by general gamers (but not so much by critics), everyone agreed that it was far too short, and not worth $60.

    MMORPGs 
  • Less than two days after the World of Warcraft expansion pack Wrath of the Lich King was released, complaints were heard from people who had played it straight through and finished it within that time. However, some of those complaints were arguably a case of Unpleasable Fanbase, since many noted that the complainers had played the game straight through from beginning to end in marathon sessions - if they'd played the game like human beings, they would have gotten longer out of it.
    • These complaints even sillier when you stop to consider that World of Warcraft isn't a game that's supposed to have a definite ending. When these players complained of "finishing the game" in two days, all they'd really done was reached the level cap. Most of the new content only becomes accessible once you reach maximum level, and the typical player spends much more time doing things at the level cap than they spent reaching the cap.
      • The complaints were mostly directed at post-80 content; in particular, all of the launch raids and the launch "hard mode" (defeating Sartharion with all three mini-bosses buffing him) had been beaten within the first week. Granted, all of this was up during beta, and the predominant raid was a rehash of a level 60 instance.
    • The same complaints arose when fans learned that the third expansion pack, Cataclysm, would raise the level cap from 80 to 85, as opposed to the ten-level increments added by the previous expansions.
  • Most MMORPGs have this problem. Players who were dedicated enough to reach a level where content exhaustion becomes a possibility also tend to be skilfull, geared and dedicated enough to binge on everything the developers add and finish it within a week or so at most - after which they're again left with nothing to do. The fact that more and more MMORPGs offer players methods of maxing in short order on just an hour or so a day (arguably following WoW's example) has been both helpful and detrimental to this issue.

    Multiple 
  • For that matter, any arcade port. Because 30 minutes of Nintendo Hardness isn't enough; give us 50 more hours of pain. And way more pain for the developers.
  • While it often overlaps with the above two, any game in which getting a high score is the main objective, due the focus of many people being on seeing the ending.
  • thatgamecompany's titles has had been met with this at least once, but of particular note comes Journey. It takes 2-3 hours for a player to complete Journey with all its 14 trophies, and around 80 minutes to beat the game. In comparison, around one hour is how much time's needed to beat Flower, which Jenova Chen said was a "interactive poem."
  • Variant: Some complain that arcade games don't give you enough content for your money's worth. Racing games, for instance, allow you to race only one track for what is usually 1 USD.

     Platform Games 
  • The Castlevania titles released in 00s get this too, for lasting around 9-12 hours.
  • Same with Wario World and Wario Land Shake It! (a.k.a. The Shake Dimension), both of which missed out of getting better than good reviews according to various media because they ended too quickly.
    • WarioWare, too.
    • More so for WarioWare with Snapped, and likely D.I.Y., because those games have only four characters, and in the former, only around 20 microgames.
      • For those not familiar with WarioWare, keep in mind that a microgame rarely goes over 5 seconds on medium speed, much less ten seconds. Boss microgames are full-blown minigames, but still generally only last between thirty seconds and two minutes. 200 microgames or so is much more typical of WarioWare, with about one in every 20-40 being a boss minigame.
  • Various WiiWare games get criticised for this, and going from my latest issue of ONM UK, I can count both Lostwinds and a game about the Wild West as examples of a lack in content getting lowered scores.
    • Wii Music has been gouged in reviews for not having a clear goal, and is thus "only" a two-hour jam session.
  • Games that comprise many shorter games often fall prey to this - for instance, Kirby Super Star.
    • Speaking of Kirby, the second DS game, Squeak Squad, can be beaten in a little over 3 hours under one sitting, assuming that you know where every treasure chest is and how to get it. Concerning the easiness of the series, even if the player doesn't know all the secrets and locations of the treasure chests, completing the game 100% isn't very hard at all.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was criticised for this by UK television show (Games Master), because the reviewer finished it inside two hours, which by the standards of a game with no save feature will require a bathroom break or two. Everyone else in the world shrugged their shoulders and carried on playing.
  • Yoshi's Story got a lot of flack for this. Though there are multiple paths, a single playthrough only takes the player through 6 individual levels at most.
  • The Legend of Spyro games fall under this category, considering the first three games were chock full of side quests (some of them really annoying too).
    • Also the much earlier Enter the Dragonfly (although there were claimed to be more problems than length). There's only a single hub, a single boss fight (done twice in slightly different ways) and no more than fifteen levels. Apparently the designers planned to make the game much longer, however they were working with relatively new software and literally ran out of disc space. It was also Christmas Rushed.
  • For some perspective, Super Mario Bros. 3 was considered to be pretty huge at the time, and indeed, the first time through, it can take quite a while to beat, but the game can be sanely played through in 4-5 hours, and a skilled player can beat every single level in two (and, of course, you can beat it with warp whistles in about fifteen minutes), but then came save files, and suddenly you didn't have to start over from the beginning every time.
  • Metroid games subvert this by using their short playtime to encourage multiple playthroughs, with much of the bonus content requiring speed runs of less than 2 hours.
    • Cave Story is a similar case, though it's not so much speedrunning rewards (save for the ones gotten from the Sacred Grounds) so much as every weapon being impossible to obtain in one playthrough; you could play one playthrough using the Machine Gun, another using the Spur, and so on. The game is also very, very hard, which also keeps people from finishing it quickly.
    • Noitu Love 2 is the same: the game actually takes only an hour to play through, but it helps that there's a soreboard, secret bosses, and unlockable characters that play completely differently.
  • Some people will say this about You Have to Burn the Rope. Of course, these people are missing the point of the game.
  • In a bit of a subversion, Word of God states that the development of Sonic Unleashed specifically tried to avert this, and added the Werehog levels in as padding. Fans (or at least half of them) generally agree that the game would've been better without them, even if it would've only been about eight hours long otherwise.
  • Eversion did get this from a few reviews.
  • Chameleon Twist 1 and 2 suffer from this, both only having about 6 levels each. If you knew where all of the crowns/coins and carrots were, you could easily complete the game 100% in only 1-2 hours.
  • The Little Mermaid has only five not-very-long stages, disappointing reviewers.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is much shorter than you'd expect for a game that costs $15.

     Puzzle Games 
  • Braid has been subject to this, despite the fact that finding all the puzzle pieces in order to earn the game's ending can take ages if you're not using a guide.
    • Interestingly enough, Braid also has examples of Fake Longevity even with a guidebook: One of the secrets involves idling on a level for literally 2 hours (of real life time), the time it takes for a platform to appear at the correct location so that you can jump on it and reach a secret location.
  • Portal has mostly avoided this despite taking only around four hours or so to complete on an average first-time playthrough. This may be due to a few factors. It is generally considered exceptionally good, it was relatively underhyped for a Valve game, and it is cheap. It originally came with two other mods/expansion packs and the individual unit retails at Target for 10 bucks. Hard to complain a game you paid 10 dollars for is too short.
    • It's quite ironic as Portal, being a non-randomised puzzle game, is perhaps the least replayable game on this list!
      • The fact that it includes the advanced challenges, and some very hard "limited" modes, helped. Plus, Source games are relatively easy to mod, so we get tons of maps.
    • The sequel has however come under this criticism by some, despite the single-player campaign being somewhere around 3 times the length of its predecessor, and including a co-op campaign which itself is almost twice the length of Portal. With Valve saying that the SDK is on the way, plenty of user-created maps will be on the way to give Portal 2 players more to do. Not that that will stop anyone from complaining, though...
      • The main reason that this got so much attention is because people submitted reviews early saying they beat the game in three to five hours, starting the occasional flame war. Although the main reason people were complaining was that Valve didn't release the game early. (they did).
  • The Xbox Live Arcade game Limbo has already gained this reputation for some, thanks to its 4 hour game length, its $15 price tag and most importantly, its almost complete lack of replay value. While gamers who felt cheated after completing the game didn't hate it, they thought it was fun but forgettable.

     Real Time Strategy 
  • Pikmin 1 and 3 both seem to get this a lot.
  • Ninjatown caught some flack for this, although it was intended as a budget game.
  • A common criticism of Brutal Legend, with some going so far as to say the story missions can be finished in four hours. This is partially due to the drastic change in pacing after the first half, and the lack of proportionate attention given to the third (and most threatening) final enemy army.

     Rhythm Games 
  • Parappa The Rapper, the first one at least, consists of 6 stages, each of which last about 2 to 3 minutes, with a cutscene of about that length in between them. In other words, assuming you don't mess up so bad that the game forces you to try a stage again, you can finish this game within an hour. There was not much negative criticism for this game when it first came out, as it was right after score-based arcade-style gaming (and, like the genre it started, it is score-based), meaning people were used to very short games meant to be played for high scores. However, its PSP re-release could not hold up to the Dance Dance Revolutions, Guitar Heroes, and Rock Bands of later years, which would come with dozens of songs and have DLC and mission pack sequels for dozens more, and Sony's attempted revival fizzled out within weeks.
  • Space Channel 5 can be completed in under 45 minutes on a clean run. The sequel has two more levels than the original but will still take only a shade over 60 minutes to complete if the player doesn't fail a stage.

     Role Playing Games 
  • It's happening again to Tim Schafer in Costume Quest. However, they fail to realize that the game was made for very, very, young gamers who have not yet played an RPG, which is why it's so short and easy.
    • Schafer specially pointed out in the commentary for the updated version of Monkey Island 2 that no matter what you do, people will complain that the game is too short.
  • Prior to the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda ran a speed run contest within the studio. Both competitors beat the main story in just over two hours. Some people took this to mean that the story could be completed as fast and began to complain that they were paying $30 per hour forgetting it was a speedrun where both competitors were constantly shaving time off the clock via shortcuts among other things. They also were unaware that Fallout 3 and Oblivion speedruns were done in just over an hour. On top of that those complainers seemed to forget or be unaware that the real meat of the game is through side quests.
    • In the end, gamers could play for hundreds of hours and still find new things to do.
  • Rhapsody A Musical Adventure got a lot of criticism on its release for being an RPG that lasts all of ten hours if you really, really dawdle. It was also brainlessly easy even on its highest difficulty setting. Still, it has its supporters simply because it's downright weird and practically unique (outside of Japan, anyway).
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, in addition to also being "easy, so it sucks".
  • One of the criticisms leveled at Tales of the Tempest, also called "Tales of Ten Hours", though not the only one.
  • Mass Effect 1 was accused of this as well; its story quest can be completed in less than ten hours. When you add in that most of its sidequests were fairly repetitive, the criticism may be fair, especially given the depth of content usually expected from an RPG.
    • The second game is also criticized for being too short, despite having many more "important" missions (recruitment and loyalty missions) and side missions (which were much more varied and interesting than the first, despite planet exploration being removed). The argument is that the loyalty/recruitment missions are padding to make up for the relatively few main plot missions.
      • The complaint is somewhat disingenuous, as the whole point of the game was to give it more of a Wide Open Sandbox quality. You're going on a Suicide Mission and the odds of returning are slim... but you're also railroaded into working for a criminal conspiracy and taking their orders. As such, ignoring half the Player Party characters, and all their Character Development side quests, can be justified in that it allows your character to find the sweet solace of death.
  • In a mixture of Seinfeld Is Unfunny and this, Star Ocean 1 can be seen as this. The game has about ≤12 hours worth of unskippable material - for a JRPG? That's actually a rather short game for genres where games are often 20-50 hours, with some games like Tales of Graces advertising 60-80 hours, and reports of people even putting as much as 300 hours into games like Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Dragon Quest VII, or Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. No wonder it had this criticism - even when the game was new and was a huge experiment for the SNES (however, it still was hampered by the fact that it is an Obvious Beta - it has a huge amount of Dummied Out content).
    • Of course, the keyword is "Skippable" - one can nearly double the amount of time it takes to beat the game if they wished to invest a lot of time in the skills, witness every Private Action available with their set of characters, etc. It helps that being a PSP Game, you can watch a few stuff on the bus or during a lunch break.
    • It's also a case of Seinfeld Is Unfunny for Star Ocean 1 because the first game that most people played in the series was Star Ocean: The Second Story, which spanned two Playstation Discs.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: The Darkspawn Chronicles, is easily completed in a couple of hours. It has no dialogue, no NPC interaction beyond recruiting and executing unwanted thralls, and no real customization. For being so different from previous Dragon Age offerings, critics are giving it negative reviews.
    • Dragon Age itself, similar to the Mass Effect example above, got a few complaints from people who just did the bare minimum required to reach the ending, ignoring the fact that the numerous optional missions make it a very long game indeed. The sequel worked around this by making it less obvious which missions could be skipped, 'tricking' such unpleasable people into actually experiencing more of the content they paid for.
    • The expansion pack Awakening can be comfortably beaten in about 13 hours, rather disappointing considering that Bioware found it worthy of selling on its own disc rather than making it a DLC.
  • X-Men: Destiny is an RPG that can be beaten in about five hours. As expected, it gets a lot of criticism for it.
  • At least one reviewer has held this up as a good reason that Infinite Undiscovery is a terrible, irredeemable disappointment of a game. Never mind its other perceived problems; the length is what makes it especially bad.
  • This is the most common criticism (aside from its relative lack of difficulty) reviewers have against Chrono Trigger. The game is, maybe, fifteen hours if you do everything in a single playthrough.
  • The original Suikoden is an unusual case: not only is it famous for being one of the shortest JRPGs of all time (at least, amongst the commonly known ones), but it's actually become a selling point for it. Then again, the means to obtain the Golden Ending are another story...
  • When people compare installments within the Fallout series, this is generally the one factor held against the first game.

     Shoot 'Em Ups 
  • Pick a shoot 'em up. Any shoot 'em up, preferably one made after the 16-bit era. A few infamous examples:
    • Star Soldier R. With five minutes of gameplay in total for eight USD, the Wii Shop Channel even warns you about the length of the game when you go to buy it.
    • Ironically, shmup fans have bashed Space Megaforce (Japan's Super Aleste) for being too long.
      • However, it does have a "Short Game" mode which consists of four stages (as opposed to the standard mode's 12), ideal for shorter stretches of free time.
    • For a more specific example, GameSpot gave Raiden Fighters Aces a 6.5., and bashed it for being "only an hour of gameplay." Even though it's $20. And it's three games.
    • Sigma Star Saga, being a shooter/RPG hybrid, is something of a strange case in that it is considered short both by RPG standards AND by shooter standards.
    • Gradius V is the game being talked about in the page quote. Gradius V is also considered to be unusually long for a shmup. That should tell you something about this and shoot 'em ups.
    • On the plus side, there are players who believe Gradius ReBirth's five stages are worth $10, possibly due to ReBirth being pretty cheap for a new Gradius game, when the past several iterations have been around $30.
  • The House Of The Dead Overkill gets complaints that it's only about four hours long, even though it's a rail shooter whose predecessors are in the 30-minute range.
    • The game manual kinda sorta lampshades this though, noting that you're not allowed to go on internet forums to complain about the game until you beat it, and then beat it again on the harder difficulty mode you just unlocked.
  • The Silent Scope series. Doesn't help that the home versions don't have a gun peripheral (except for the crappy one that came with Silent Scope Complete).
  • All of the Star Fox games (other than Adventures due to a Genre Shift) carry the same criticism noting their short lengths. Ironically, Star Fox Assault receives the most flak for this, despite being ten missions long with repetition and objective shifts, whereas the more popular Star Fox 64 and the SNES game are seven and six missions respectively, with only one on-rails segment in each. Star Fox Command is a bit more varied.
    • It must be noted that both Star Fox and Star Fox 64 has enough variability to encourage replay value. Star Fox has three separate quests that are split by its difficulty. Even when you enter the same levels, the way they're designed changes with each difficulty, and since the game wasn't exactly easy when picking the intermediate and hard quests, most players will simply replay the game for the sake of finishing all three quests.
    • As for Star Fox 64, while the game always starts at planet Corneria and ends in planet Venom, there are 15 levels you could play in, even though it's impossible to play each level on one sitting. Each individual playthrough is determined by how each level is completed, and determines where the next level begins. Depending on how the game is played, it even affects how the final level begins and ends. Sure, Star Fox 64 takes roughly an hour to finish, but given the huge number of ways to play the campaign, the secret levels, and reaching high scores for unlockable features, it's rich for replayability.
  • This is a common complaint with Liberation Maiden, as it can easily be beaten under an hour or less. However, given the very cheap price tag, some people overlook the length due to it still being good after quite a few replays.

     Sports Games 
  • Message boards all around blare with the cries of fans of the Punch-Out!! series being angry with the new Wii installment only having thirteen opponents. And apparently, "Title Defense" mode does not count because they're just Recurring Bosses.
    • To clarify, the opponents in title defense aren't just the originals with more speed and HP. In general, whatever number of attacks the opponent had in the first fight, you can expect at least double in the second fight. They get new cutscenes and outfits too. Exhibition challenges.
    • Don't forget you can fight Donkey Kong.
  • The TonyHawk video-game franchise has been going downhill for a long time (no pun intended), many considering the beginning of the end to have been Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, whose single player could be beaten in about 2 hours the first time through, and replays of single player (which you must do to unlock everything) could be completed by experienced players with 100% completion in under 30 minutes. The following game, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, took an up-turn for the series, with 190 single player goals, competitions, mini-games, and collectibles; finishing with 100% completion could take over 10 hours. After that brief return to (lengthy) glory, each game has been annoyingly short.

     Stealth Based Games 
  • Hideo Kojima specifically stated that the original Metal Gear Solid game was designed to be completed at a leisurely pace in about ten hours, so that the people it was marketed towards (adults) would be able to work it into their busy schedules. The short length ended up being a frequent complaint about it and its sequel (although Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear Solid 4 were somewhat longer).
    • Complaints about shortness also extend to the level designs. For instance, Grozny Grad is suppose to be the prototype for Outer Heaven, a city sized fortress. Yet, you only need to explore a section of it.
    • For Ground Zeroes, the prologue game to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, this was essentially the only major complaint raised against it. However, it was such an extreme case (being beatable within 2 hours) that despite being praised endlessly for its gameplay, story, voice acting, and visuals, it received some very mixed scores.
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction, reportedly five hours long, is beginning to receive this treatment.
  • Some Assassin's Creed I fans have given Assassin's Creed: Revelations flack for this. Not only does it have the shortest single-player campaign in the main series, it also has far less sidequests than that of the previous two installments.
  • Dishonored gets some flak for take around eight hours to complete at a normal pace. Some still consider it worth it due to feeling like a more advance "classical-style" stealth game, however.

     Survival Horror 
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the first installment of the series on the Wii, and has gotten average reviews thus far, with one of the criticisms being its short length, 4-6 hours.
    • However, some have said that Shattered Memories is about the same length as any other Silent Hill game as far as distance traveled. The main difference being that this installment cut out the actual running around killing monsters. The fact that you can't fight back and can only just run to the checkpoint as fast as you can makes the game go by much faster.
  • One of the main criticisms of the otherwise decent Dementium: The Ward is that it can be completed in about 5-7 hours, which actually is kinda short, even by survival horror standards. The sequel had similar criticisms, though it was slightly longer.
    • Given the technical limitations of the Nintendo DS in comparison to contemporary consoles, the brevity of the game shouldn't come as a surprise.

     Third Person Shooter 
  • Gears of War
  • Uncharted. A typical first runs of each game in the series take between 6 and 8 hours. Repeat runs take much less time to complete.
  • Vanquish was a critically acclaimed game and received high marks all around, but it was absolutely savaged for its short playtime, ranging from 4-6 hours. This trope was basically the reason it failed to garner 10s across the board.
  • Kane & Lynch: Dog Days can be easily completed in four hours.

     Turn Based Strategy 
  • One of the main reasons that some Fire Emblem fans consider ''Sacred Stones'' to be one of the worst games in the series. Well, that and the existence of a world map with optional monster battles...The story was considered to be less deep, as well.
    • Didn't help that it was one of the easiest in the series.
    • Note optional content puts it on the length of your average Fire Emblem game, which usually has none or almost none of that. Also, most players were comparing it to the previous entry, which was an oddity on that regard, having two Story Modes and all that (Well, three, but one is a glorified tutorial, basically), so it was not as much "Sacred Stones is short" as "The Blazing Blade is really long". Suffice to say, because we were given Blazing Blade first, we got massively spoiled.

     Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The length of Mafia II (2010) pales in comparison to its predecessor from 2002, and there is a fair amount of unused content within the game files. Swathes of content was cut just before release.
    • All three DLCs for Mafia II are relatively short and made so cheaply they look like fan mods.

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