/The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020
The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

From blockbuster hits to indie gems, these are the best single player games we'd recommend right now

A lot of people, for obvious reasons, are stuck at home right now, and thus wondering what the best single player games are for killing time with some healthy distraction therapy away from the real world. There's hundreds to choose from, but we think we've narrowed down our recommendations to just 20 that we think are the cream of the crop.

Full disclosure: our ranking is of the best single player games to play right now, in 2020, not necessarily the best single player games of all time. That means you'll find a range of mostly modern titles here, available across a variety of current platforms, though some golden oldies remain in here purely because their entertainment value has barely subsided in the years since their original launch. Pretty much all of these titles don't feature any multiplayer component whatsoever, too, ensuring that those with even the weakest internet connections can still have a good time.

Best co-op games | Best open world games | Best horror games | Best PS4 games | Best Xbox One games | Best Nintendo Switch games

Outer Wilds

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Not to be confused with Obsidian's sci-fi RPG, The Outer Worlds (more on that later), Mobius Digital's indie darling is also set in the far flung reaches of space, yet offers an entirely different narrative experience to the game it shares two thirds of a title with, and indeed any other title out there.

Outer Wilds puts you in the astronautical boots of a newly trained spacefarer for an alien race, but it just so happens your first day on the job also coincides with a solar supernova wipes out the entire galaxy. I'll refrain from spoiling anything else beyond that, but suffice to say that what follows is a daring, deviously clever investigation into time and space that will have you awe-inspired from the moment you take off.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Final Fantasy 7 Remake achieves what we thought was impossible. It takes just the first section of Square Enix's 1997 JRPG, stretches it out into a full, 50 hour experience, switches up turn-based combat for real-time action, and subverts everything you thought you know about the original story.

And yet, even with those daring, potentially controversial changes, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is incredible, and arguably an even more timeless and magical experience than the beloved title it's inspired by. If this is just the beginning for a multi-game re-imagining of one of Japan's most beloved stories, then count us in for every new chapter.

Half-Life: Alyx

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

I am fully aware that few people have the financial means to play Valve's unexpected prequel to its Half-Life series, which released earlier this year as a virtual reality exclusive on PC. That being said, it would be criminal to ignore the achievements that Half-Life: Alyx makes for immersive storytelling, and the VR platform as a whole, making this a must buy if you happen to own a headset and PC right now.

Not only is it a brilliant experience on its own merit, however, Alyx makes important statements about the future of Half-Life itself, with our titular scavenger's adventure connecting to the series' overarching narrative in jaw-dropping ways. Here's hoping Valve brings out a non-VR port sometime soon.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Nintendo's latest return to its beloved critter collection franchise is the most ambitious Pokemon entry yet. Set in the UK-inspired Galar region, your trainer travels on Nintendo Switch features a gorgeously rendered, three-dimensional world full of dynamic encounters, quirky characters, and - yes - hundreds of Pokemon to find, battle, and evolve. What's more, with two new expansions on the way, there's never been a better time to pick Pokemon Sword and Shield, and begin your adventures across Galar and beyond.

Gears Tactics

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

The turn-based strategy genre might seem like unexpected territory for the Gears franchise to wade into, but it turns out The Coalition is onto something here, as Gears Tactics represents a fantastic debut entry in what could be a new spin-off franchise for Xbox's beloved shooter series.

Maintaining everything you love about Gears' combat, from its cover-focused rhythms to its love for OOT viscera, Tactics demonstrates a clear love for its source material even while it drags it kicking and screaming into the top-down, turn-based framework. What's more, its comprehensive campaign boasts A-grade production value, and connects itself to the ongoing Gears saga in surprising ways. Marcus Fenix would be proud.

The Outer Worlds

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

If you've never played an Obsidian game before, you're in for a treat with The Outer Worlds. The studio's latest new IP is a ragtag, zigzap tour through the future of the final frontier, one where corporations are in control, and as jovial and joyous in tone as it is cynical in satire.

Obsidian's talent for classic role-playing immersion is firing at full throttle here, complete with branching storylines, deep and robust character customisation, and a whole cast of companions to befriend and explore the galaxy with. Hopefully The Outer Worlds is just the start of many a new adventure in Halcyon, because we already love what Obsidian has shown us so far.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Capcom's initial announcement of Resident Evil 2 Remake was naturally met with some scepticism at first, but we couldn't have been more off-base. The studio's loving recreation of its 90's survival horror classic is the perfect example of how to modernise an old game while staying true to its roots.

Leon's harrowing gauntlet through the Raccoon City Police Department is one of the scariest, toughest campaigns we've ever had the joy of running through, completely accessible to series newcomers yet still littered with easter eggs to delight the Resi faithful. This is how horror is done, and proves just how much life there is in Capcom's seminal franchise yet.

Marvel's Spider-Man

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Fans of the original PlayStation 2 Spider-Man games had been crying out for a new title with satisfying web-swinging physics, and Insomniac answered their prayers with glee. Spider-Man PS4 is essentially a Spider-Man simulator - you swing through New York, defeating the bad guys and saving the day over, and over, and over again. Much to the dismay of J. Jonah Jameson, of course. It's one of the best PS4 exclusives from 2018 and for good reason. There's even a bunch of DLC available now, which is all absolutely stellar.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is magical. There are moments where you'll ponder just how a platformer has managed to pull off such a wonderful experience. From the very start, you'll be weeping like a willow as you're re-introduced to Ori, Naru, Sein, alongside equally adorable new character, Ku.

Gameplay-wise, Developer Moon Studios also manage to refine and finesse everything that was great about 2014's Ori and the Blind Forest, bringing new depth and joys to combat, exploration, and platforming. A mesmerising adventure from start to finish.

Football Manager 2020

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

If you enjoy football/soccer, then you've missed a beat if you've never tried the Football Manager series before. Football Manager 2020 is the latest instalment and it's the "best in the series by some distance". Whether you want to play as the biggest club in the world - Manchester United, of course - and dominate the Premier League with all the riches you could dream of, or start from the very bottom and work your way up, Football Manager 2020 has it all.

Turn to the next page for ten more of the best single player games to enjoy right now.

Control

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Remedy's latest delve into new weird is perhaps the studio's strangest, and finest, work yet. Putting you in the boots of the Federal Bureau of Control's newly appointed Director, Jesse, it's up to you to journey into the depths of its HQ, the Oldest House, which is as creepy, magical, and mysterious as it sounds.

With its supernaturally flavoured third-person shooter combat, delectably off-kilter story, and genuinely jaw dropping visuals, Control is a preternatural pill of kaleidoscopic carnage, with every moment managing to top the last in its pure, surreal wonder. Oh, and without getting too spoilery, Alan Wake fans do not want to pass this one.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Who'd have thought that of all games, the Zelda series would be the one to introduce one of the best open worlds of all time? Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Zelda's first... sorry, Link's first journey on the Nintendo Switch and it's one of his best ever. There's so much to do! From searching for the 900 Korok Seeds to hunting down Guardians and completing shrines, Breath of the Wild is perhaps the best RPG available on Switch right now.

God of War

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

The God of War franchise has always been great, but God of War PS4 has taken things to the next level. It's gone from linear storytelling to a semi-open world, where players control Kratos and explore worlds taken straight from Norse mythology. It's brutal, bad ass, and bafflingly beautiful, which is why we called it one of "PlayStation's finest moments".

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

After churning out yearly Assassin's Creed games for some time, Ubisoft took a step back and realised it wasn't quite enough and the series didn't have the prestige it once did. They released Assassin's Creed Origins, which turned the franchise into a more open world RPG, then built upon that with Assassin's Creed Odyssey; the best Assassin's Creed game yet. An engrossing story and stunning visuals make for a vast journey across ancient Greece. It's a true odyssey.

Super Mario Odyssey

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Everyone's favourite plumber leapt onto the Nintendo Switch with a purpose with Super Mario Odyssey, along with his new best pal Cappy. Embark on another treacherous journey across multiple worlds to save Princess Peach from Bowser's clutches and meet numerous friendly and fearsome characters along the way. Super Mario Odyssey retains the charm and captivating gameplay from previous instalments, while keeping up with modern gameplay elements and introducing new mechanics of its own.

Kingdom Hearts 3

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Who needs a significant other when you can journey through various Disney worlds with Donald Duck and Goofy by your side? Kingdom Hearts 3 is the long-awaited third instalment in the franchise and it hasn't disappointed. From climbing the North Mountain in Arendelle (Frozen) to exploring Andy's Room in Toy Box (Toy Story) and flying around San Fransokyo (Big Hero 6), Kingdom Hearts 3 is a lengthy JRPG that is perfect for veterans and newcomers to the series alike.

Red Dead Redemption 2

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Is there a better way to kick off this list than with Rockstar's western epic? A prequel to the first game, Red Dead Redemption 2 places you in the shoes of Arthur Morgan. Explore the staggeringly beautiful wild west on horseback, hunt animals, play poker, go fishing and more as you saunter around as part of Dutch van der Linde's gang. When you've finished with the 80+ hour journey, jump into Red Dead Online for even more wild west action.

Horizon Zero Dawn

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

Robot dinosaurs. Need we say anything else? Probably not, but we will anyway. Take control of Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn, an open world RPG where she discovers herself and her history. Robot dinosaurs inhabit the landscape, from small Watchers to terrifying Snapmaws and Thunderjaws. Horizon Zero Dawn rarely puts a foot wrong, from the plethora of ways to engage in combat to travelling across the map and exploring the various tribes that have set up homes and towns in every corner.

The Last Of Us

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

One of the oldest games on this list, The Last Of Us is a heart-wrenching journey set in the near future. Without spoiling too much, a deadly disease has covered most of the world and your goal is to escort the only known immune human to a research lab, so a cure can be created. What ensues is a tale of love and loss, with breathtaking moments that tugs on the heartstrings like never before.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The best single player games to while away the hours in 2020

If you can get your head round a brand new style of combat that does away with most conventions seen in other games, the rest of The Witcher 3 could be considered perfect. You are Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher - also known as a monster slayer to you and I. There's so much to do and see in The Witcher 3, it may seem overwhelming at first, but after you complete your first few monster contracts and begin Geralt's journey to find the ones he loves, you will not put the game down until you've reached the end and slain thousands of enemies.

A lot of people, for obvious reasons, are stuck at home right now, and thus wondering what the best single player games are for killing time with some healthy distraction therapy away from the real world. There's hundreds to choose from, but we think we've narrowed down our recommendations to just 20 that we think are the cream of the crop.

Full disclosure: our ranking is of the best single player games to play right now, in 2020, not necessarily the best single player games of all time. That means you'll find a range of mostly modern titles here, available across a variety of current platforms, though some golden oldies remain in here purely because their entertainment value has barely subsided in the years since their original launch. Pretty much all of these titles don't feature any multiplayer component whatsoever, too, ensuring that those with even the weakest internet connections can still have a good time.

Best co-op games | Best open world games | Best horror games | Best PS4 games | Best Xbox One games | Best Nintendo Switch games

Outer Wilds

Not to be confused with Obsidian's sci-fi RPG, The Outer Worlds (more on that later), Mobius Digital's indie darling is also set in the far flung reaches of space, yet offers an entirely different narrative experience to the game it shares two thirds of a title with, and indeed any other title out there.

Outer Wilds puts you in the astronautical boots of a newly trained spacefarer for an alien race, but it just so happens your first day on the job also coincides with a solar supernova wipes out the entire galaxy. I'll refrain from spoiling anything else beyond that, but suffice to say that what follows is a daring, deviously clever investigation into time and space that will have you awe-inspired from the moment you take off.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy 7 Remake achieves what we thought was impossible. It takes just the first section of Square Enix's 1997 JRPG, stretches it out into a full, 50 hour experience, switches up turn-based combat for real-time action, and subverts everything you thought you know about the original story.

And yet, even with those daring, potentially controversial changes, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is incredible, and arguably an even more timeless and magical experience than the beloved title it's inspired by. If this is just the beginning for a multi-game re-imagining of one of Japan's most beloved stories, then count us in for every new chapter.

Half-Life: Alyx

I am fully aware that few people have the financial means to play Valve's unexpected prequel to its Half-Life series, which released earlier this year as a virtual reality exclusive on PC. That being said, it would be criminal to ignore the achievements that Half-Life: Alyx makes for immersive storytelling, and the VR platform as a whole, making this a must buy if you happen to own a headset and PC right now.

Not only is it a brilliant experience on its own merit, however, Alyx makes important statements about the future of Half-Life itself, with our titular scavenger's adventure connecting to the series' overarching narrative in jaw-dropping ways. Here's hoping Valve brings out a non-VR port sometime soon.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Nintendo's latest return to its beloved critter collection franchise is the most ambitious Pokemon entry yet. Set in the UK-inspired Galar region, your trainer travels on Nintendo Switch features a gorgeously rendered, three-dimensional world full of dynamic encounters, quirky characters, and - yes - hundreds of Pokemon to find, battle, and evolve. What's more, with two new expansions on the way, there's never been a better time to pick Pokemon Sword and Shield, and begin your adventures across Galar and beyond.

Gears Tactics

The turn-based strategy genre might seem like unexpected territory for the Gears franchise to wade into, but it turns out The Coalition is onto something here, as Gears Tactics represents a fantastic debut entry in what could be a new spin-off franchise for Xbox's beloved shooter series.

Maintaining everything you love about Gears' combat, from its cover-focused rhythms to its love for OOT viscera, Tactics demonstrates a clear love for its source material even while it drags it kicking and screaming into the top-down, turn-based framework. What's more, its comprehensive campaign boasts A-grade production value, and connects itself to the ongoing Gears saga in surprising ways. Marcus Fenix would be proud.

The Outer Worlds

If you've never played an Obsidian game before, you're in for a treat with The Outer Worlds. The studio's latest new IP is a ragtag, zigzap tour through the future of the final frontier, one where corporations are in control, and as jovial and joyous in tone as it is cynical in satire.

Obsidian's talent for classic role-playing immersion is firing at full throttle here, complete with branching storylines, deep and robust character customisation, and a whole cast of companions to befriend and explore the galaxy with. Hopefully The Outer Worlds is just the start of many a new adventure in Halcyon, because we already love what Obsidian has shown us so far.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Capcom's initial announcement of Resident Evil 2 Remake was naturally met with some scepticism at first, but we couldn't have been more off-base. The studio's loving recreation of its 90's survival horror classic is the perfect example of how to modernise an old game while staying true to its roots.

Leon's harrowing gauntlet through the Raccoon City Police Department is one of the scariest, toughest campaigns we've ever had the joy of running through, completely accessible to series newcomers yet still littered with easter eggs to delight the Resi faithful. This is how horror is done, and proves just how much life there is in Capcom's seminal franchise yet.

Marvel's Spider-Man

Fans of the original PlayStation 2 Spider-Man games had been crying out for a new title with satisfying web-swinging physics, and Insomniac answered their prayers with glee. Spider-Man PS4 is essentially a Spider-Man simulator - you swing through New York, defeating the bad guys and saving the day over, and over, and over again. Much to the dismay of J. Jonah Jameson, of course. It's one of the best PS4 exclusives from 2018 and for good reason. There's even a bunch of DLC available now, which is all absolutely stellar.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is magical. There are moments where you'll ponder just how a platformer has managed to pull off such a wonderful experience. From the very start, you'll be weeping like a willow as you're re-introduced to Ori, Naru, Sein, alongside equally adorable new character, Ku.

Gameplay-wise, Developer Moon Studios also manage to refine and finesse everything that was great about 2014's Ori and the Blind Forest, bringing new depth and joys to combat, exploration, and platforming. A mesmerising adventure from start to finish.

Football Manager 2020

If you enjoy football/soccer, then you've missed a beat if you've never tried the Football Manager series before. Football Manager 2020 is the latest instalment and it's the "best in the series by some distance". Whether you want to play as the biggest club in the world - Manchester United, of course - and dominate the Premier League with all the riches you could dream of, or start from the very bottom and work your way up, Football Manager 2020 has it all.

Turn to the next page for ten more of the best single player games to enjoy right now.

Control

Remedy's latest delve into new weird is perhaps the studio's strangest, and finest, work yet. Putting you in the boots of the Federal Bureau of Control's newly appointed Director, Jesse, it's up to you to journey into the depths of its HQ, the Oldest House, which is as creepy, magical, and mysterious as it sounds.

With its supernaturally flavoured third-person shooter combat, delectably off-kilter story, and genuinely jaw dropping visuals, Control is a preternatural pill of kaleidoscopic carnage, with every moment managing to top the last in its pure, surreal wonder. Oh, and without getting too spoilery, Alan Wake fans do not want to pass this one.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Who'd have thought that of all games, the Zelda series would be the one to introduce one of the best open worlds of all time? Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Zelda's first... sorry, Link's first journey on the Nintendo Switch and it's one of his best ever. There's so much to do! From searching for the 900 Korok Seeds to hunting down Guardians and completing shrines, Breath of the Wild is perhaps the best RPG available on Switch right now.

God of War

The God of War franchise has always been great, but God of War PS4 has taken things to the next level. It's gone from linear storytelling to a semi-open world, where players control Kratos and explore worlds taken straight from Norse mythology. It's brutal, bad ass, and bafflingly beautiful, which is why we called it one of "PlayStation's finest moments".

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

After churning out yearly Assassin's Creed games for some time, Ubisoft took a step back and realised it wasn't quite enough and the series didn't have the prestige it once did. They released Assassin's Creed Origins, which turned the franchise into a more open world RPG, then built upon that with Assassin's Creed Odyssey; the best Assassin's Creed game yet. An engrossing story and stunning visuals make for a vast journey across ancient Greece. It's a true odyssey.

Super Mario Odyssey

Everyone's favourite plumber leapt onto the Nintendo Switch with a purpose with Super Mario Odyssey, along with his new best pal Cappy. Embark on another treacherous journey across multiple worlds to save Princess Peach from Bowser's clutches and meet numerous friendly and fearsome characters along the way. Super Mario Odyssey retains the charm and captivating gameplay from previous instalments, while keeping up with modern gameplay elements and introducing new mechanics of its own.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Who needs a significant other when you can journey through various Disney worlds with Donald Duck and Goofy by your side? Kingdom Hearts 3 is the long-awaited third instalment in the franchise and it hasn't disappointed. From climbing the North Mountain in Arendelle (Frozen) to exploring Andy's Room in Toy Box (Toy Story) and flying around San Fransokyo (Big Hero 6), Kingdom Hearts 3 is a lengthy JRPG that is perfect for veterans and newcomers to the series alike.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Is there a better way to kick off this list than with Rockstar's western epic? A prequel to the first game, Red Dead Redemption 2 places you in the shoes of Arthur Morgan. Explore the staggeringly beautiful wild west on horseback, hunt animals, play poker, go fishing and more as you saunter around as part of Dutch van der Linde's gang. When you've finished with the 80+ hour journey, jump into Red Dead Online for even more wild west action.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Robot dinosaurs. Need we say anything else? Probably not, but we will anyway. Take control of Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn, an open world RPG where she discovers herself and her history. Robot dinosaurs inhabit the landscape, from small Watchers to terrifying Snapmaws and Thunderjaws. Horizon Zero Dawn rarely puts a foot wrong, from the plethora of ways to engage in combat to travelling across the map and exploring the various tribes that have set up homes and towns in every corner.

The Last Of Us

One of the oldest games on this list, The Last Of Us is a heart-wrenching journey set in the near future. Without spoiling too much, a deadly disease has covered most of the world and your goal is to escort the only known immune human to a research lab, so a cure can be created. What ensues is a tale of love and loss, with breathtaking moments that tugs on the heartstrings like never before.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

If you can get your head round a brand new style of combat that does away with most conventions seen in other games, the rest of The Witcher 3 could be considered perfect. You are Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher - also known as a monster slayer to you and I. There's so much to do and see in The Witcher 3, it may seem overwhelming at first, but after you complete your first few monster contracts and begin Geralt's journey to find the ones he loves, you will not put the game down until you've reached the end and slain thousands of enemies.