How do you feel about mini-games within an RPG?

Nov 27, 2020
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Mini-games being things like lock picking, hacking computers, cards or dice games; and I'm sure there are many others. I've seen on other forums, especially the Steam Discussions, where players voice their dislike for most forms of mini-games. Some players just don't want to deal with them. Myself, I love them ( I was trying to think of one that I didn't like so much, but I couldn't remember any). They also appear in immersive sims, but I consider that genre to be RPGish enough to classify as an RPG, like Deus Ex.

Lock picking for chests that might contain valuable loot, or getting into a house or room that you couldn't otherwise access. Hacking computers for access to information that might be helpful, or passwords, or taking control of turrets/robots. Playing Gwent in the Wichter 3 was one of the best mini-games I've played. I'm even one of the few people who liked the planet scanning in Mass Effect 2.

Those are some of the types of mini-games that I can think of off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more. What are your thoughts? Love them, hate them or somewhere in-between?
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
I normally like them.

I quit Alpha Protocol because of mini-games. I was playing with mouse/keyboard, which made one of the mini-games outright trivial and another very difficult. I got maybe a quarter of the way into the game before I got sick of banging my head on a difficult mini-game. (I should probably try the game again now that I own a controller.)

Yakuza 0 is the champion of mini-games, unless Yakuza 10 took the crown away. Bowling, mahjong (real mahjong, not those memory games using mahjong tiles we used to see), some woman's wrestling thing, poker, blackjack, some games with names I can't pronounce... there's a TON of mini-games in that game. SEGA even threw in a couple of their old arcade games!
 
I don't mind most minigames. Though I do understand if people dislike them, as they're often not particularly engaging but necessary to experience certain parts of the game or even required to continue the game in general)

The only series with minigames I didn't particularly care for that comes to mind right now is the Assassin's Creed series with the hacking mini games in the modern parts of the game. With most of those I didn't actually solve the puzzle as much as I just screwed around until I happened to stumble upon the solution, which isn't particularly satisfying.

I did also have a problem with lockpicking in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, as I was playing the game with a controller but the lockpicking minigame was far easier to do with a mouse.
 
it depends on if they just are extra activities you can do or if they are necessary to complete game itself.

All the mini games in Fallout NV aren't essential but can be still fun to play. I played many of the casino ones but never even touched Caravan. I don't even know if I was aware it existed when I played game. Many of the obstacles in that game could be defeated by skills or abilities... see Hacking for an example
 

Frindis

Moderator
For the most part, I like minigames. Lockpicking and Hacking are one of my favorites because of L.O.O.T - Ludicrus Overflow Of Things. It has to have a purpose in the game though and not just be thrown in, because that is when the bad mechanics starts to show, especially if the minigames are forced down your throat in an unfashionable manner.
 
Nov 27, 2020
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All the mini games in Fallout NV aren't essential but can be still fun to play. I played many of the casino ones but never even touched Caravan.
I completely forgot about Caravan (a card game for those who never played FONV), and I played that as often as I could, much like Gwent in Witcher 3. I played the casino games also, and the good thing about those minigames was that they were entirely optional.

Many of the obstacles in that game could be defeated by skills or abilities... see Hacking for an example
This is one of the reasons that FONV is the best of the 3 first person perspective Fallout games in my opinion. Now I want to play it again.
 
I spent an almost equal amount of time playing The Witcher 3 as I did playing Gwent.

Other than that, I quite liked the lockpicking from Skyrim/Fallout 3, course I played those on a PS3 with rumble which they probably suit a lot better than m+k. Bioshocks pipeflow hack game is fine.

Can't think of one I really disliked, but also cant think of any more recent than those.
 
Test Drive unlimited had a casino DLC that was mainly there to win 3 cars, but it was also a great way to earn money. I spent more time earning money there for cars than I did playing the actual game. So I guess that is a case of only playing side games.

I remember spending days trying to catch the biggest fish in Ocarina of Time... shows his age lol. I guess that counts as a mini game. I almost mentioned the puzzles in dungeons in that game too as do they count as mini games?
 
It's bad design if a different genre play is required to continue a game, whether I like it or not.

Far Cry 5 does it right. There's a significant fishing element in the game—basically the same as the usual hunting—and catching various species generates perk points for you. I don't like the fishing, so I ignore it and get my perks elsewhere.

That's my general view on any off-ramp or very difficult elements in a game—give extra points to whoever wants to play them, but don't punish those who don't.
 
Mini-games being things like lock picking, hacking computers, cards or dice games; and I'm sure there are many others. I've seen on other forums, especially the Steam Discussions, where players voice their dislike for most forms of mini-games. Some players just don't want to deal with them. Myself, I love them ( I was trying to think of one that I didn't like so much, but I couldn't remember any). They also appear in immersive sims, but I consider that genre to be RPGish enough to classify as an RPG, like Deus Ex.
To me you could look at most facets of modern RPG's as a bunch of mini-games. You have your stealth mini-game, your crafting mini-game, your fighting "mini-game" (unless it's an action RPG where you're fighting over 60% of the time, but a lot of the time I'm *not* fighting in many RPG's.) And of course the hunting, card-playing, lock-picking, and all that. I do agree that they should be somewhat optional at times -- a mage shouldn't have to know how to pick a lock, for instance -- but I am fine with certain classes having their mini-games. And workarounds are always nice... don't want to play the ridiculously simple tumbler Frogger game in Mass Effect? Just spend some omni-gel from liquidated junk weapons. (Sidenote, the security in the Mass Effect universe is surprisingly flimsy, now that I think about it...)

I'm sure there have mini-games I didn't like, most likely something that I didn't enjoy that brought the flow of the game to a screeching halt. (QTE's come to mind, though those are more prevalent in adventure-centric games than RPG's, I think.) But otherwise, I like a variety of events and skills in an RPG, especially since they are usually/inevitably light in the actual roleplaying portion.
 
Very recently, I became sick and tired of picking locks in Dying Light 2. Normally, that doesn't bother me, but DL2's locks became ridiculously hard after awhile, and my son refused to do them at all, so I had to open them. It was just the same lock-picking game from almost all the other games. You stick the lockpick in, turn it left or right and then try to open the lock, but on the highest level locks, the place to position the lockpick was miniscule.

The all-ages Wizard101 had a ranked PvP card game that I enjoyed so much that I made it all the way to the top 5. I was ranked #3 at the end of the second season, and #4 at the end of season 3. The thing about this, though, was that I actually didn't lose a match the entire third season, but because the other guys played all day, every day, they accumulated more points. But probably the best player was my doubles teammate, a guy named Angel from Colorado, and he's still playing non-stop. I logged in the other day for the first time in about 5 years and queued up. It took me into a battle and there was Angel. I cursed and said, "Jesus, Angel, do you not have anything better to do?." They don't have as many players now so the matchmaking was completely broken. He was 20 levels higher than me and had cards I'd never heard of. He beat the hell out of me in less than a minute. I asked him why he didn't play a game that had an e-sport, like Hearthstone, because he could genuinely make some serious money, but he just said, "I like this game." and left.

(sorry about that long, tangential story. I'm just kind of proud that I was ever actually that good at something)

In Fallout New Vegas, I raised my Luck to max and hit the casinos. At that point it wasn't really a minigame so much as it was a bank withdrawal. If I remember right, there was a daily cap on how much you could win.

But what I really liked was Caravan. I played the heck out of that. I seem to always like the card games. I loved Gwent and whatever the RE7 card game DLC was. I played the Gwent standalone game for a few months, but my taste for multiplayer wasn't what it used to be, and it made me a little nervous to play, so I quit.

There have been a couple of games, not RPG's, that had mini-games that were just bizarre and completely unrelated to the game in anyway. One was a game called Cradle, but I can't remember what the other one was. I didn't mind these mini-games, but they just felt off because they were very out of place.
 
Last edited:
Jun 3, 2022
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For the most part, I think that mini games can add a sense of escaping the general story when its not an essential part of the game like lockpicking and hacking.
Some of my favorite mini games has to be the ones in Assassins Creed IV Black Flag. I thoroughly enjoyed stopping one of the islands to make money through the mini games
 
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