Happy Thanksgiving to those folks who are celebrating it. We've had two reviews in a row these past two days, so let's try something different and special for today. Mini-games have drawn a lot of fire this current generation. Most likely as more and more games are solely comprised of entirely them and nothing else. Regardless, there have been plenty of fun mini-games that have come out in recent years and even further back than that. The following list showcases some of my favorites from generations past and present.
Blitzball (Final Fantasy X - PS2)
Are you ready for some blitzball? Once you've been given the go ahead, you can play a round or two or three or one-hundred of blitzball from any save point in the game. The rules of blitzball are just like soccer except you use your hands and the entire game is played in an underwater sphere. Not too different, yes? Certainly Beckham could adapt. If Beckham was too chicken to play, you could assign new members to your team in hopes of dominating the rest of the field. Not only was blitzball a way to pass the time, but it was also the only way to get various rare items including one of the character's ultimate weapons. For a wet and wild mini-game, blitzball may be just for you.
Triple Triad (Final Fantasy VIII - PS1)
We go from one Final Fantasy to another with one of my favorite mini-games period. It's triple triad. What's triple triad, you ask? It's a card game played on a 3x3 board. Each player gets five cards, either randomly assigned or hand-selected by the player. Each card has four numbers or letters. 1 is the weakest, S is the strongest. Cards are then placed on the board. If two or more cards are placed next to one another, a battle happens. The card with the highest amount wins, taking over that player's card as its own. The game goes on until all nine spaces are filled. There's additional rules such as elements and things like that, but these are the bare bones basics. The game is so popular that there are internet forums dedicated to playing the game electronically.
The Adventures of Captain Qwark (Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal - PS2)
By far the coolest mini-game in Ratchet series history is this side-scrolling platformer/shooter. There are eventually five levels available for play. You control Captain Qwark as he runs, jump, shoots, and dodges in the game. Each chapter tells the story of Qwark's mission to stop the evil Dr. Nefarious. Not only can you normally play through the levels, but speed runs and collecting 100 Qwark tokens in a given level awards you with titanium bolts, the rarest of all rare collectibles in the Ratchet and Clank series. This game is so good that I would purchase a longer version on PSN. It's that good.
Bumper Balls (Mario Party, Mario Party 2 - N64)
Imagine if you will, an island with deep blue water surrounding it. Now imagine four multi-colored balls about the size of a person resting serenely atop the island. Sounds pleasant if not odd, no? Now imagine one person riding each ball in attempt to knock the other three off the island into shark-infested water which will rip their intestines and hearts out, organ by organ. Yes, it's Bumper Balls from the Mario Party franchise. The second installment of the mini-game brought with it different themed islands such as slippery ice and hot fire! While not as violent as I made it out to be, Bumper Balls to this day is one of my favorite Mario Party mini-games.
Ball Rolling (Super Mario Galaxy - Wii)
Let's continue with this ball theme, shall we? Two of the 120 stars in Super Mario Galaxy required you to control Mario atop a ball by tilting the Wii remote like a joystick ever so gracefully. This is all the while as he leaps over chasms, dodges obstacles such as goombas, and inches closer and closer to his coveted power star. The controls were great, and tilting the Wii remote to move the ball was a fun, fantastic, and fascinating experience.
Dream Ski Jump (Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games - Wii)
There's plenty of great games in Mario and Sonic's latest Olympic offering. The Dream events are by far my favorites. These are events that take realistic sports and term them into fantasies set in Mario's and Sonic's worlds. Dream Ski Jump propels you off a ramp with the idea of collecting as many point balloons as possible as you fly through the orbit of the Good Egg Galaxy with memorable music in tow. By the end of the event, you fall towards a star-shaped platform each with different point values attached to it. As you land, your points are tallied up and the player or team with the most points wins the medal.
Monkey Target (Super Monkey Ball franchise - Various)
Hang-gliding all to itself is a wonderful experience I'm told. The freedom of soaring in the air, the wind wafting against your face, and the thrill of being high in the sky. How can this experience be more fun? Well, why don't you add a whole slew of monkeys and a target in the middle of the ocean? What you get is Monkey Target. The goal of Monkey Target is to glide down to a target with different point values on it, and land and stay on one of the point values. Otherwise you'll be faced with the dank, dark depths of ocean below! Later installments brought Team Monkey Target where four monkeys flew together to hopefully land and score as many points as possible.
Have any mini-games that you feel should show up for round two? Let everyone know in our comments section!