Top 5 Most Excruciating Mini Games in Final Fantasy

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Last week I listed out my picks for the top 5 most enjoyable mini games in Final Fantasy. That was a real challenge because it was difficult finding 5 mini games in the series that were actually fun to play. This week’s challenge is an entirely different matter, however; picking 5 of the worst mini games in Final Fantasy is tough because there are just so many to choose from. I’ve given it a lot of thought and these are 5 of the worst, and most horrid mini games to have ever graced the series.

 5. Solving Anomalies (Final Fantasy XIII-2)

clock

What is this bullshit?

The premise: Serah and Noel are stuck in a space-time continuum paradox time thingmajig- whatever. Basically, they need to resolve an anomaly in the timeline so that time can flow properly again. The anomalies come in various types of puzzle forms. Some involve trying to collect shiny gems while making sure the ground beneath you doesn’t collapse, while others require you to solve a randomized clock puzzle.

Why it’s horrid: This is a textbook example of how to make an uninspired mini game that adds absolutely nothing to the story whatsoever. It’s as if Square Enix suddenly thought: “Hey! We’re missing some mini games here!” And then they panicked and hurriedly threw in this mess of a ‘mini game’ into Final Fantasy XIII-2. Seriously. How does running around and picking up gems have anything – anything at all – to do with resolving a time anomaly? Nothing! These puzzles aren’t particularly hard, but I facepalmed in frustration every time I ran into these things.

 4. Mog House (Final Fantasy VII)

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The premise: Mog the moogle is an adult and needs to find a mate. There’s just one problem; he can’t fly. You have to feed Mog a bunch of kupo nuts so that he can fly. Then you have to feed him more kupo nuts later on so that he can fly in front of the female moogle. After that, both Mog and Mag enter the treehouse, go at it like a couple of moogles in heat, exit the treehouse awhile later, and we see tons (and I mean tons) of moogle babies follow them out.

Why it’s horrid: It’s a boring visual novel that really serves no purpose other than to give you 30GP in the Gold Saucer. This entire mini game revolves around the player getting through a lot of text before you finally get to push a button to feed Mog with a kupo nut. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to include a ‘mini game’ about moogle mating rituals, but it was boring as hell. After getting through that five-minute visual novel, I gave up on the Gold Saucer mini games and proceeded on with the main story of Final Fantasy VII. I chose wisely.

 3. Jump Rope (Final Fantasy IX)

jumprope

Nope. Nopenopenopenope.

The premise: Easy. When the exclamation mark appears above Vivi’s head, press circle to jump. Do it a thousand times, and you’ll get the ‘King of Jump Rope’ title. This mini game yields some very neat rewards like extra gil, and rare cards to be used in the Final Fantasy IX card game Tetra Master. All these rewards are yours if you can manage 1000 consecutive jumps. Easy, right?

Why it’s horrid: Except it’s not easy. At all. This mini game is torture. If you blink and you miss a jump… Oops. Time to restart. If your hands start to sweat and you slip up on the button? You got it. Time to restart. This mini game isn’t too bad once you get a good rhythm going and you keep with it for the next few minutes. And you can give Jump Rope a complete miss if you’re not really interested in investing your time into Tetra Master, which is why this mini game is only number 3 on my list. That doesn’t change the fact that this is still a horrid one, though.

 2. Lightning Dodge (Final Fantasy X)

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The premise: This one’s pretty similar to FFIX’s Jump Rope in the sense that it only requires you to push a button at the right time. You head down to the Thunder Plains, and you just spend your time there dodging lightning strikes. All you have to do is keep your eyes on the screen. Once the screen flashes white, hit the circle button, and Tidus will successfully dodge the strike. If you dodge enough of them, you’ll get really cool rewards from the treasure chest outside of Rin’s Travel Agency.

Why it’s horrid: This is a lot worse than Jump Rope, especially if you’re a completionist like myself. The only way to get the Venus sigil, which is required to unlock Lulu’s celestial weapon, is by dodging 200 consecutive lightning strikes. It takes skill, and the mental capacity to keep track of how many strikes you’ve actually dodged. I spent two solid days on this mini game just trying different methods of tackling it. Do I try to dodge all 200 in one go, or should I do them in sets of 10 before taking short breaks? This mini game requires an immense amount of concentration and that Thunder Plains track that plays in this area is annoying as hell.

1. Catcher Chocobo (Final Fantasy X)

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Fuck. That.

The premise: A chocobo trainer in the Calm Lands will offer you a chance to train and race your chocobos. The starting levels are pretty easy to beat but once you’ve gotten past all the preliminary rounds, you unlock the Catcher Chocobo challenge. This one requires you to race the trainer as you collect balloons on the race course. Each balloon you pick up will take 3 seconds off your final timing. However, you’ll also have to dodge these birds that fly towards you and the trainer. If any of these birds hit your chocobo in the face, you’ll be stunned for a couple seconds before you can go on racing. Oh and each bird that hits you will also add 3 seconds to your final timing. Oh and you have to complete the race with a final timing of less than 0 seconds if you want that Sun sigil to unlock Tidus’ celestial weapon. Sounds great, huh?

Why it’s horrid: You have to finish the race with a final timing of less than 0 seconds. Zero. Seconds. This mini game is not impossible to beat but it is definitely a massive pain in the ass. Past Final Fantasy games have required players to get through optional dungeons or beat optional bosses in order to acquire ultimate weapons. But not Final Fantasy X. Nope. Final Fantasy X wants you to suffer and the game actively bullies you for even trying to obtain these ultimate weapons.

Catcher Chocobo is, hands down, the worst mini game in FFX and in Final Fantasy history. When the race starts, the chocobo trainer always gets ahead of you and steals all the balloons before you can even get to them. The balloon placement is random every time you tackle the race, too. If the balloons aren’t directly in your path in the first segment of the race, you’ll miss five easy pickups to the trainer. In addition to that, the birds that you have to avoid during the race will home towards you and the trainer. The birds actually and deliberately fly into your chocobo’s face. Just let that sink in for a second.

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In addition to that, there are invisible walls around the race course. If you try to move your chocobo too far to the left while dodging birds, you might run into an invisible wall and lose control of your chocobo for a split second. Your chocobo doesn’t run straight, it’s hard to control, and you have to pick up balloons while dodging birds that aim for your face. This mini game is just downright awful. It’s like Square recognized that players actually covet ultimate weapons and they thought: “Oh you want to be overpowered, do you? Ha! Good luck with that, suckers!”

The less I think about those goddamn homing blue birds, the better it will be for my blood pressure.

It wasn’t easy choosing just 5 bad mini games from Final Fantasy but these are the absolute worst from the series, in my opinion. Leave a comment down below and let me know what your least favorite mini games from the series were. Did you actually find some sort of sick pleasure in dodging those blue birds? Let me know, and we’ll talk.

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About Author

(Associate Editor)

Hello! I'm a history major who loves playing video games and writing about them. I live and breathe for Metal Gear Solid, and I believe that The Last of Us is quite possibly the greatest video game ever made. Also if you're having trouble pronouncing my name (which you probably are), lots of people have taken to just calling me Zee!

  • http://twinfinite.net Andres Ruiz

    I found out recently that some people somehow enjoyed Blitzball. I’m actually surprised that isn’t on here, that one was horrendous imo.

    • munnyndonuts

      Oh. This is awkward. Blitzball was number 3 on my most enjoyable list :D I used to hate it too but the quest for Wakka’s weapon basically forced me to start loving it!

    • http://twinfinite.net Ed McGlone

      I loved Blitzball, back off.

  • Tony D

    I found a pretty foolproof way to complete Lightning Dodger(and accidentally dodged over 300 in a row while doing so) http://youtu.be/47JFWQX6DS0

    The Chocobo Race is basically tons of luck, and was suuuuuuper frustrating, so I totally agree with you on it being terrible. I also really hated the clock puzzles in XIII-2, but I enjoyed the gem and floating platform ones. Good list!

    • munnyndonuts

      Yeah I ended up finding that same exact spot and used it to dodge the bolts. Still took me awhile, because I’m pretty bad with my hand-eye coordination lol. The XIII-2 puzzles were okayyyyyy, but I just hated that they seemed to be put in just for the heck of it.

      Thanks for reading, by the way! ^^

  • MikeEaton

    I forgot about that Mog’s House one. Memories…bad memories. haha.

    Great list, Zee, although Lightning Dodge is actually the worst thing ever.

    • munnyndonuts

      Oh the lightning dodge almost made me cry ;_; I had a hard time deciding which was worse: lightning dodge or catcher chocobo. And decided that catcher chocobo was worst because you needed an element of luck to beat it.

  • Sharon Coone

    This gave me flashbacks of trying to calibrate every lightning tower in X-2. Rikku’s last one was traumatizing

    • munnyndonuts

      War memories, eh? I feel you.

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