Things move slowly at the start of the year, and with winter in full swing, finding long video games that you can sink days of playtime into is the dream. To help you find some long games that keep on giving, we’ve put together a list of some of the tried and tested “you can start at noon and forget to get up until midnight” video games.
By their nature, strategy, and sim games work well by providing the player with single matches that can run for a long time (sometimes days) while still being easy to leave and return to or start new matches. The story never really ends, and with many of the long video games on this list getting substantial support years after release, that makes them a stellar time investment, too.
This list of long video games to lose time in features new titles but also includes some old ones in preparation for sequel releases. Truly, the only requirement for this list is endless replayability and a loop that lets you escape day-to-day life continuously.
Cities Skylines II is the sequel to one of the best city-builders of the last decade, Cities Skylines. It is the newest release on this list of games, but it doesn’t make it any less of a time sink. There have already been multiple updates to Cities Skylines II. With a roadmap already laid out, there is plenty of content coming in the following year(s) for players to dive into on top of the already expansive city builder.
Age of Wonders 4 is a 4X turn-based strategy game that is full of customization and variety that players can get lost in. Being able to design every aspect of your empire makes for unlimited replayability. Despite being released in 2023 there are already two DLCS released. Dragons Dawn and Empires & Ashes gave players even more customization and variety. There is more DLC on the way that should give players even more content to explore.
Victoria 3 is an expansive historical grand strategy game that allows players to “rewrite” history from 1836 to 1936. Managing economies, diplomacy, and wars will keep players busy for hours and hours. Victoria 3 already has multiple DLC available, along with some large updates reforming some of their systems.
Planet Zoo gave animal lovers and zookeepers everything and more when it was released in 2019. For anyone looking to spend countless hours building and maintaining the perfect zoo, Planet Zoo has a variety of biomes and a grand diversity of animals to choose from. Planet Zoo also hasn’t slowed down in terms of content or updates, releasing multiple DLCs and updates each year. The latest of them is the Planet Zoo: Eurasia Pack, released December 13, 2023. For anyone looking to spend countless hours building and maintaining the perfect zoo, Planet Zoo has it.
Stranded: Alien Dawn
Stranded: Alien Dawn was released in April of 2023 after being released into Early Access in late 2022. Stranded: Alien Dawn is a survival strategy game where players need not only to build a sustainable city to survive but also to protect their survivors from extreme weather, alien creatures, and much more. Stranded: Alien Dawn released its first DLC, Robots and Guardians, on November 7, 2023. The game has been constantly getting updates since its Early Access release of 2022 to go with this DLC, so there is plenty of content and new scenarios for players to check out.
Two Point Campus
Two Point Campus was released in 2022 as a follow-up to 2018’s revered Two Point Hospital. Two Point Campus allows players to build their perfect campus in the most enjoyable ways. There are three DLCs available that add a variety of new elements to the game, along with fun new aesthetics and challenges for players to dive into.
Anno 1800 is by far my favorite game on this list and the one I have spent the most time in. Releasing in 2019, Anno 1800 had four seasons of sets of three DLCs per year, giving players so much to do and accomplish. A 4X game that has become more and more like a grand city-builder over the years, players expand and manage their empires for hours upon hours. Sadly, 2022 was the last year for any substantial content, but with a variety of cosmetic packs still being updated, Anno 1800 is one of the beefiest games on this list in terms of content.
Jurassic World: Evolution 2
Jurassic World 2 is the sequel to the 2018 dinosaur park simulator Jurassic World. Released in 2021, Jurassic World 2 added much more depth and park customization that hindered its predecessor. There have been multiple DLCs released each year, adding more and more dinosaurs and adventures for players to add to their parks. Their most recent Cretaceous Predator Pack, along with accompanying updates, were released on November 30, 2023. Much like Planet Zoo on this list, players looking into building their own animal or, in this case, dinosaur park Jurassic World 2 gives them plenty of options and variety to play with.
Frostpunk busted onto the scene in 2018. The highly rated survival strategy game forced players to make intense decisions and do what they thought was best to help their cities and survivors survive in the post-apocalyptic ice world. Frostpunk does have a few DLCs, however unlike the other games on this list hasn’t had any substanial new content since the last DLC in 2020. The highly anticipated Frostpunk 2 is supposed to be released sometime in 2024, and players, if they haven’t before, should really go and check out this game to prepare for the sequel.
Civilization is by far the oldest game this year, but still a good one. It has years of DLC to choose from and from as recent as 2022. Firaxis Games confirmed last year that they are indeed working on Civilization 7, but with still a while to go for that game, Civilization 6 is still a worthy game to sink time into.
Whether it is showcasing your creativity by making new zoos with new themes and rewriting history in a number of ways or sinking 200 hours into one island, this long video games list will keep you occupied until the winter chill is gone. Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the long video games list? Let us know on social media.