As we continue to wait patiently for Square Enix to pull Final Fantasy XV out of its development hell (which its been in for 8 years now, by the way), I thought it would be nice to take a step back and look at some of the most memorable elements of the series. More specifically, I mean the mini games that Final Fantasy has brought into our lives.
Mini games have been a staple of the franchise ever since the first entry in the series. While it is true that most of these mini games are just downright painful and a waste of time (looking at you, Final Fantasy X), you can’t deny that the mini game scene in the series has its shining moments too. Listed below, in ascending order, are my picks for the best and most enjoyable mini games to be seen in Final Fantasy:
5. Sphere Break (Final Fantasy X-2)
The premise: You have four entry coins on a 4×4 board and a bunch of border coins. During the game, some numbers will appear on the top of the screen; these represent the multiples you have to hit with your selected coins. Also, you have to select at least one entry coin per round. In addition to that, you have to meet a certain quota for your border coins before the rounds are up to cement your victory.
Why it’s fun: Sphere Break is a pretty underrated mini game, in my opinion. It seems boring at first but once a match starts, you’ll soon realize that it’s a game that requires quick calculation and strategy. You’ve got different coin traits to factor into consideration, and you stand a chance to gain some extra items and gil from those as well. It’s intense, it requires quick planning, and it’s a great strategic game overall.
4. Chocobo Hot and Cold (Final Fantasy IX)
The premise: When you obtain the chocobo, aptly named Choco, you get to enter the chocobo forest. For the cheap price of 60 gil, the friendly moogle Mene will give you 60 seconds to dig in the ground for items. You’ll gain points for every item Choco digs up and these points can be traded in for cool prizes from Mene.
Why it’s fun: Chocobo Hot and Cold is addictive, and the rewards you can get out of this mini game are pretty neat. For instance, the chocographs you find will give you the locations of rare items on the world map. And in addition to that, you can upgrade the beak level of your chocobo to make him dig faster. Nothing beats the feeling of exhilaration when you hear the chocobo’s calling of “KWEHHH!” as you dig an item up.
3. Blitzball (Final Fantasy X)
The premise: Tidus is the star player of the Zanarkand Abes, so naturally he’d want to show off his skills to the lowly mortals of Spira. Blitzball is essentially a game of numbers; you need to be mindful of your team members’ endurance, and their shooting and passing stats to win the game.
Why it’s fun: Once you get past the first mandatory (and extremely unfair and unbalanced) match, blitzball gets a lot more fun. As the leader of the Besaid Aurochs, you’ll get to recruit players to your team and take part in the tournaments to win prizes. Aside from that, you can also ‘mark’ players on the opposing team and learn special techniques from them to give yourself an edge during the matches. Blitzball is a great sport-type mini game and my only gripe with it is that there was a limited number of teams to compete with.
2. Crazy Motorcycle (Final Fantasy VII)
The premise: Cloud, Tifa, Aeris, Barret and Red XIII need to escape Shinra Tower. And what better way to do that than to steal a bike and a truck and smash their way out of the place? Players have to control Cloud on the bike and keep the Shinra soliders from attacking your friends in the truck.
Why it’s fun: For starters, the music is fantastic. Nobuo Uematsu hit all the right beats with the track, aptly titled Crazy Motorcycle. Those bleeps and bloops of the track never fail to get my heart racing as I beat down Shinra soldiers with Cloud’s buster sword. And the end of the mini game where the gang gets to the end of the highway and swerves around to meet the giant tank following them was just epic and so well done. It’s a memorable part of the game, that’s for sure.
1. Triple Triad (Final Fantasy VIII)
The premise: Everyone in the universe of Final Fantasy VIII loves cards. You could go up to a random NPC, press the square button, and chances are you’ll land yourself in a card game. The goal of the game is simple: you just need to capture as many of your opponent’s cards as possible by making sure you place higher-ranked cards adjacent to an enemy card.
Why it’s fun: The goal may be simple, but the rules are not. The rules of Triple Triad change depending on which region you’re in. And depending on your actions, rules from one region may spread into another. Furthermore, when you win a card game, you can change your cards into items and these items can be used to upgrade your weapons.
And not only that, there are tons of side quests to be unlocked via Triple Triad! Once you are deemed as a worthy player of the game, members of the elite Card Club Group will reveal themselves to you. You can also challenge the Queen of Cards and complete her side quest to get her dad to make even more rare cards. And you can go on a hunt for PuPu the blue alien to get his rare card. Triple Triad is a complex card game that holds so many rewards and optional content for players. If Square Enix ever released Triple Triad for smartphones (which would be a fantastic idea), I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
It really was quite a challenge to pick five good mini games simply because a lot of mini games in Final Fantasy are just painful to play. Leave a comment down below and let me know what your favorite mini games are. Do you agree with my choices, or do you vehemently believe that dodging 200 lightning strikes deserved the top spot on this list?
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