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14 Steam games that prove Valve's refund policy is broken

Keep your receipt
Product: Steam | Format: Steam
Steam Steam, thumbnail 1
With Steam's new refund policy, users can now ask for a refund on any game within two weeks of purchase, so long as they've played it for less than two hours.

This isn't a terrible idea at its core. Sometimes you spend outrageous sums on games you hate. Other times you realise your system can't handle the game.

But for games that are designed to be less than two hours long, this could lead to a huge hit on profits if people are feeling extremely naughty.

With that in mind, we wanted to highlight some games that could be affected by this policy. We definitely do not condone refunding these games just because you completed them. You monster.

Gone Home
By The Fullbright Company - buy on PC, Mac, and Linux (£14.99)

Gone Home

Gone Home is a quietly brilliant tale told by rifling through a family's belongings to discover what has happened in the past year or so. You can see everything in about two hours, or speedrun to the end in two minutes.

And because of its relatively high price tag, this could be a game that gets seriously harmed by the refund policy.

Dinner Date
By Stout Games - buy on PC (£1.99)

Dinner Date

Because you can't directly influence the character in any way, Dinner Date takes exactly 25 minutes to complete. All you can do is perform tiny subconscious movements while your character monologues about his life.

It's drawn a lot of flak from the Steam community for its lack of interactivity, but don't let that put you off. Dinner Date is a well-crafted character study that will suck you in if you let it.

Dear Esther
By thechineseroom & Robert Briscoe - buy on PC and Mac (£6.99)

Dear Esther

When you think of exploration games, you probably think of Dear Esther. The pseudo-random narrative and beautifully detailed environment make it a shining star of the genre.

Reaching its conclusion takes around an hour, which might not seem long enough. But you can easily get lost for hours trying to decipher all the metaphors littering the island.

The Stanley Parable
By Galactic Cafe - buy on PC and Mac (£9.99)

The Stanley Parable

The absolutely hilarious Stanley Parable has enough endings hidden within it could take you far more than two hours to find them all.

But those not dedicated enough to uncover every aspect of this surreal adventure can reach the "true" ending in about ten minutes. It would defeat the purpose of the game, sure, but it can be done.

Plug & Play
By Mario von Rickenbach - buy on PC, Mac, and Linux (£1.99)

Plug & Play

A strangely sexually-charged puzzle game about people with plug sockets for heads, Plug & Play takes around 15 minutes to beat.

But to refund it would be spitting in the face of experimental games and the people who make them. And for such a low price, would you really be so cruel?

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
By Kojima Productions - buy on PC (£16.99)


When Ground Zeroes first launched, people scoffed at the fact you can finish the main mission in just an hour and a half. Imagine if they could refund their copy for that reason alone?

Of course, there's a bunch of extra missions to complete and collectibles to find as well, which will push the playtime into the 10-20 hours region. So you might want to hold off on that refund after all.

The Shivah
By Wadjet Eye Games - buy on PC, Mac, and Linux (£3.99)

The Shivah

Gold Award winning rabbi-'em-up The Shivah sees you investigating why someone left your synagogue $10,000 in their will, and debating the morality of accepting the money.

It just about pushes the two hour mark in terms of completion time, but only a real kvetch would demand their money back from a game our reviewer called a "thoughtful and pensive adventure".

By Ed Key and David Kanaga - buy on PC, Mac, and Linux (£6.99)


Admittedly, I was sceptical about Proteus when it first launched. It's a procedurally-generated exploration game with no real goal other than to experience the world around you.

But if you immerse yourself in the world, it really is a thing of beauty. You'll have seen all the world has to offer in around 30 minutes, but it's an experience that you're unlikely to forget.

By Valve - buy on PC, Mac, and Linux (£6.99)


If you haven't played Portal by now, then there may be no helping you. The mind-bending puzzler is full of wit and charm, and has become a benchmark for humour in video games.

You can easily get through the story in less than two hours, although the additional puzzle chambers will probably take you a whole lot longer.

By Might and Delight - buy on PC and Mac (£6.99)

The beautiful, cartoon style of Shelter may suggest a cutesy platformer, but don't be fooled – it's actually a rather sinister game about nature and survival.

Beating the game takes around an hour, but having to deal with the death of one of your cubs can take a lot longer. Just don't demand your money back because you can’t handle the emotional cost.

Dominique Pamplemousse
By Deirdra Kiai Productions - buy on PC and Mac (£3.49)

Nominated for a whole host of IGF awards, this musical adventure game tackles gender and the economy in a monochrome, claymation world.

It only takes about an hour to solve the mystery, but that's no reason to ask for your money back from a one-person team. And you can always buy the sheet music as well, so you can learn the songs afterwards.

The Yawhg
By Damian Sommer - buy on PC (£6.99)

It only takes around half an hour to finish a game of The Yawhg, but it's not the kind of game you will only play once.

It's a randomly-generated choose-your-own-adventure game for up to four players, so it's perfect for breaking out when you've got some like-minded friends around.

Thirty Flights of Loving
By Blendo Games - buy on PC and Mac (£3.99)

Blendo Game's wordless adventure takes you through a robbery gone wrong, filled with visual metaphors, non-linear storytelling, and a load of cats.

It's a half-hour short story, but it'll take ages for you to work out what the hell actually happened at the end of it all.

The Graveyard
By Tale of Tales - buy on PC, Mac, and Linux (£3.99)

Very few exploration games advertise your own death as a feature, but The Graveyard pitches it as its main selling point.

It's a quietly contemplative game that takes 10-15 minutes before your character shuffles off this mortal coil, but it'll certainly give you plenty to think about after.

Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley 3 June 2015
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