We all have games that we’re always down to play again. Spanning genres, decades, and console-specific games, these replayable games crop up in every category. The question is: what are the elements that make a game replayable? Well, today you’re going to find out!
Alternate endings are one of the most intriguing ways for a game to be replayable. Often, alternative endings come about because of decisions you make throughout the game, so knowing that you can control some of the outcomes and discovering the different things you can do to exert that control makes it exciting to play a game many times.
One of the best examples of a game that’s pretty upfront with the possibility of player-driven alternative endings is Until Dawn from Supermassive Games. It’s a game that relies heavily on the butterfly effect for decision-making, and it’s exciting to play through multiple times to see what you can do differently to make changes in the end result. Also, it’s just an awesome game, so it’s always a good one to replay.
A delightful way of adding replayability to a game is to pop in lots of secrets for players to discover. From easter eggs to specialty items to secret lairs, finding secrets peppered throughout a game is a surefire way to keep you coming back to search for more.
Secrets to discover works equally well across all genres of games because all it really takes is enough interesting aspects in the game to get you coming back to look for more. Whether it’s horror, adventure, or anything else, hidden secrets are an excellent source of replayability because they keep bringing players back as we (the players) look to make sure we’ve discovered everything.
Any game with endless possibilities to explore means that the game never really gets finished, so it’s less about replaying and more about always playing.
For me, the best example of endless possibilities comes from World of Warcraft. If you know me at all, you know that WoW is my favorite game, and one of my favorite things about it is the amount of exploration available. I’ve been playing WoW for around a year now, and there’s still so much I haven’t even begun to explore. Technically, I’ve replayed the game many times with different characters, and every time I start running through, there’s something new to discover. The possibilities will always keep me coming back for more.
A New Beginning
Another way is the option of having different starting options that change the way the game plays out in small ways. The first thing that comes to mind for me is Pokemon, where your game is influenced by which starter Pokemon you choose.
It’s a small change, but it can alter so many things about the game, from how you battle to which other Pokemon you collect along the way. The Pokemon games certainly have enough content that you don’t have to start over to continue having an adventure, but the allure of starting with a new companion Pokemon makes starting a new game an enticing option.
The Story Makes The Game
A compelling storyline, if done properly, makes a game replayable in the same way you read your favorite books over and over again. If a story is compelling, it makes you want to replay the game to discover the story over and over again, and it often ties into the other replayable aspects of discovering easter eggs and secrets and learning everything about the game.
This aspect of replayability can work well for any genre of game as long as the game itself is compelling and draws you into the story. That being said, some of the best storyline-driven replayable games often come in the form of mystery and horror games because they are just so enticing.
Personality Wins The Day
And, last but not least, having the ability to customize your character, from their appearance to their skillset to their personality, gives you that much more to look forward to with a replay and a new character creation.
Any genre of gaming can use new character creation and customization to amp up its replayability, and any game with multiple character options is likely to make its way to your replay list. The ability to change up your character’s looks, attributes, and backstory can give any game a new angle when it comes time to play it again.
So…What’s Your Favorite Game to Replay?
Any game has the potential to be extremely replayable, and having any or all of these qualities will certainly help a game on its way to that replay fame. When you really take the time to think about it, some of your favorite games to play again and again absolutely incorporate one or more of these aspects of replayability.