As Dusk Falls and Stray have ended my live-service nightmare

These captivating single-player adventures have helped me break free of the live-service games that have long held my routine captive

Stray As Dusk Falls live-service nightmare: A ginger cat curls up on the stomach of a robot sleeping on a couch

In between trying to complete thankless Escape From Tarkov tasks, hot dropping in PUBG: Battlegrounds, and throwing blast balls at unsuspecting Fall Guys beans, I’d forgotten how it feels to truly lose yourself in a single-player action adventure. Fortunately for me, Stray and As Dusk Falls have proven to be the perfect antidote, teaching me more about myself along the way.

On paper, As Dusk Falls isn’t my type of game. I haven’t played a lot of interactive adventures or full-motion videogames before, but there was something about the game’s story that sucked me in. Perhaps it’s because it tells a very human story that could well be told about any of us or maybe it’s because it’s the sort of crime drama that you would happily watch unfold on Netflix.

Either way, Interior Night’s debut game sucked me right in, giving me a break from the live-service games that have long been terrorising my daily routine for months. Instead of turning on my PC to play the same game with my friends pretty much every night, I found myself booting up my dusty Xbox Series X, desperate to uncover the secrets hidden within the desert of Two Rock.

And, if you’ve not played the game or read our As Dusk Falls review, you’ll know there are plenty to be found. The way the game analyses the way you play and reveals key traits helped me understand my core tenets – something that until recently I didn’t fully comprehend myself. I’ve always considered trust to be one of my core principles in life, but it’s not until you’re digitally placed in a hostage situation that you understand how much that trust – or a lack of it – influences your decisions.

By the time the credits rolled, I felt like Interior Night understood me inside and out. I played the game as if I was placed into each of the main As Dusk Falls characters’ shoes and the traits I was given at the end of the six chapters were pretty much the same ones my career coach had picked out six months prior.

Although I still have many questions over the As Dusk Falls ending, the game was exactly what I needed to break free of the live-service nightmare I’ve been living. Sure, it’s only a six or so hour adventure, but I’ve been sucked back into yet another save with a morbid curiosity of knowing what will happen if I go against my instincts this time around.

Stray As Dusk Falls live-service nightmare: Tyler holds Paul, Vince, and Jim at gunpoint

And if that’s not enough, the soft pitter patter of toe beans from the world of Stray is helping supplement this love affair with single-player adventures. It probably doesn’t help that BlueTwelve Studio’s game has come at the exact time I’m looking to adopt a cat (more so because it’s making me want to buy the damn thing a backpack too), but it has stopped me from wasting my evenings playing the same old game day in, day out.

Both these games are short and while I still have another hour of Stray left before the great catscape ends, I’m hoping this flirty fling with new, single-player adventures will be the start of something new.