This is part 'recommend me' thread and part 'recommend you' thread.
Lately I've been loving solid games that I can start a run and finish in an hour, and pick it up again later to do it again, and again, and again. Mostly that's been Binding of Isaac: on Eden (randomized starting stats and items) hard mode. I've had hundreds of wins in this mode, a personal best streak of 13 in a row, and it just doesn't stop being fun over multiple years.. In fact I can't see any reason to stop. Maybe they'll totally screw it up with the next expansion and ruin it, but I doubt it.
I'm not normally the sort of gamer that sticks with one game. I'm more of a tourist, playing games for at most 2 weeks and moving on. If you've got Binding of Isaac, or Slay the Spire, or Dead Cells and never got deep into them, I recommend you give them a try. The game changing pick-ups in each one give you a novel experience every time; and winning is just so much fun.
Now for the recommend me. I'm sure I've missed games with similar qualities. I'd love to try some out. I think the main three qualities that fit the bill here are:
- Tight gameplay, great controls, snappy responsiveness
- Short cycle from beginning to end, no more than 90 minutes on a solid run
- Randomization in the start and along the way to keep things fresh
One note, a lot of these features are shared by most rogue-likes and some rogue-lites; except in most at least for me, a successful run is generally hours long and in most the progression path tends to be pretty fixed. In all 3 of my examples there are multiple physical paths, and multiple valid strategies, so if you're thinking of one to toss up, consider that. For example, I didnt glom onto Caves of Qud, which is a fantastic game, in the same way as the above examples because even when you get good at it, you wouldn't really 'run' it. Its too long and too samey from run to run.