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Minigames, also known as Event Games, or subgames, are common in the Final Fantasy series. Minigames act as small deviations from the main style of gameplay and offer different activities requiring different controls. Minigames in a given game may either be designed as a temporary diversion, or as a method of obtaining rewards, such as rare items. They also sometimes appear to progress the story.
While onboard the boat, pressing a certain button combination will unlock a sliding numbers puzzle called 15 Puzzle. In all cases, it involves rapidly tapping both primary face buttons used in that version (i.e. A and B or and ), or holding one and tapping the other, a certain number of times. The game has evolved throughout remakes, incorporating a time limit, with faster times giving the player better rewards, in some versions.
While riding the snowcraft, the player can access a 4-by-4 grid, with two of each character's portrait. They will then flip over, and the player has to try and match them. Doing it as quickly as possible with few errors gives better prizes.
In the Dawn of Souls version, having a character with Level 16 Toad spell will allow the player to play the Memory Puzzle's Frog Mode, where all character portraits are replaced with their Frog counterparts, making it much more difficult, but better prizes are obtained, such as Genji equipment.
The game can be accessed in different ways in the different games due to the different control schemes. In the Dawn of Souls version, the player must hold down A and keep pressing the B button. Similarly, in the 20th Anniversary release, the player must hold down and keep pressing 22 times. In the iOS version, players have to shake the device to activate the minigame.
In the Nintendo DS version, five minigames are available from the Fat Chocobo. The minigames require use of a stylus to the Nintendo DS's touchscreen and can give the player items and increase Whyt's stats.
At two points in the story, the player is forced to play a minigame where they control multiple parties and protect someone from oncoming foes. If one party is defeated at the hands of an enemy, the defeated party will reappear near the target they have to protect with a single HP.
The second and last minigame happens during Kefka's invasion of Narshe in search for the Frozen Esper. The parties have to protect Banon from the oncoming imperial forces in the maze-like snowfields above Narshe. A mini-boss is protecting Kefka, and the player will have to fight it in order to fight Kefka.
In the Sector 5 Church, the player can play a minigame to help Aerith climb to the top. The player can call out commands and push barrels on enemies to protect her. Only one barrier has to be pushed for Aerith to make it to the top without getting into a battle; however, all of the troops can be taken out with barrels. The minigame can be ignored altogether, and the player can opt for Aerith to fight the enemies.
At the Wall Market, the player must partake in a squats minigame. Cloud must face another AI-controlled character and score more squats by pressing buttons in a specific order. Failing the order, the player will cancel halfway though a squat and cause a few seconds delay. The feat is timed, and the player will receive a different item depending on how well they do in comparison to the AI. The better the player does, the better item the player gets to stand more chance in being chosen by Don Corneo.
When climbing the Sector 6 plate from Wall Market up to Shinra Building, a timing minigame is used where the player must leap onto a swinging object. When in position, pressing the [OK] button jumps. The game gives messages if the player jumped too soon or too late. If the minigame is successful the player will jump across.
In the Shinra Building, the player plays a small minigame where they must get past guards without being seen. The player controls Cloud as he runs across the room just like in normal exploration, but the player must call the other characters over. Calling a character over makes them run from one cover to another. If a character is seen while moving between covers, a fight initiates with Mighty Grunt enemies. Failing too many times will end the minigame, and the guards will have gone.
G Bike appears when the party escapes from Midgar. Cloud gets on a motorcycle and must protect the truck with his friends in from Shinra. The player must move the motorcycle and slice left and right to take out Shinra motorcyclists. If they come into contact with either Cloud's vehicle or the other vehicle, party members will take damage. Damage dealt to different characters depends on the part of the truck being hit, while Cloud depends only on his motorcycle. The amount of damage taken directly translates into the percentage of HP the party will have in the fight against Motor Ball.
The party can later play this at the Wonder Square in Gold Saucer. Here the game is points based, and the player will gain points by taking out motorcyclists but will lose points when the truck is hit.
The player can play a Strategy minigame in Fort Condor where they have to fend off Shinra forces. The player has to buy units and place them on the field. When the game starts, enemy units will rise up the screen, similar to how the moving on-field enemies work in Final Fantasy VI, the main difference being that battles take place on the field in this minigame. During play the player can still add more units.
There are 21 battles overall, but only 15 are playable. The minigame must only be played once in the storyline, which is the last time the minigame can be played. During this battle, the player plays to protect the Huge Materia. If the enemy forces climb to the top, the party will have to face CMD.Grand Horn in an ordinary battle. In all other battles, if the player climbs to the top, the player will just lose and receive no item at the end.
A short CPR minigame occurs when in Under Junon. After defeating the Bottomswell the player must give CPR to Priscilla. There is a gauge depicting lungs, and Cloud will give Priscilla different amounts of air depending on how full the gauge is when the player releases. The player cannot lose at this minigame, and repeatedly giving low amounts of air will just extend the length of the minigame. At minimum, Cloud must give five breaths of air to complete the minigame; however, not all of the doses have to be full, and the final one can fill the gauge halfway to win if all previous breaths were full.
There is a Junon Parade minigame in Upper Junon where Cloud has to join in with a parade as a Shinra Infantryman. The minigame is split into two parts: first, the soldiers walk down the streets and later in front of the new president. During the first part, Cloud must join the parade and move at the same time as the other soldiers. The better he does, the higher the television ratings are, which decides the reward given to the player after the performance. The second part of the minigame has the commander call out instructions, and the player must push the correct buttons at the right time. Doing this correctly scores points, and scoring different amounts of points will award the player different prizes.
There is a short minigame when traveling through Mt. Corel. There are a number of places in the rail track the player runs on where they fall down. The player may opt to jump and avoid this, or let themselves fall. If they fall, a short screen plays where the player must choose a direction to grab on. As a result of this, the player will grab onto a specific line, and if a treasure is on this line when climbing up, the player will obtain it.
Chocobo Racing is first available during the escape from Corel Prison. Here, the player must race a chocobo to victory, and repeat the minigame until they successfully place first. Later, the player can go to the Chocobo Square at the Gold Saucer and either bet on a Chocobo Race they are not involved in and win prizes if they successfully guess the winner and runner-up combination or ride their own chocobo and win the item corresponding to the winner and runner-up positions. The party can also breed chocobos, each color chocobo having different base stats and stat progression. Chocobos can improve through classes in Chocobo Racing, and different items can be obtained in different classes. Tifa and Cid may request to race instead of Cloud.
The player can participate in the Arm Wrestling minigame in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer. He or she can either choose to wrestle a normal wrestler or the more difficult sumo wrestler. To win, the player must tap a button repeatedly.
The Basketball Game minigame is in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer. The player must hold down a button to power up a throw with a basketball. A throw powered for the correct amount of time will go through the hoop. If the player scores, then they may throw again. The object of the game is to score as many baskets as possible without missing.
Mog House is a minigame in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer. It simulates a day in the life of a Mog. It is the Mog's day to learn how to fly, and to do it, the player will have to feed him Kupo Nuts.
The Wonder Catcher minigame is also in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer. They are crane games, although the player has no control of the crane, and rewards are received by chance.
The 3D Battler minigame is in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer. It is based on rock-paper-scissors, offering three different options, each one besting another option but losing to the other. The player goes through a number of different foes, the match becoming more difficult to win each time.
There is a Shooting Coaster minigame at the Speed Square of the Gold Saucer where the player must shoot at various targets on an automatically moving ride. Different targets offer different points. Different point ranges offer different prizes.
In the Temple of the Ancients, the player must navigate several puzzles. One of the puzzles is a clock face. The player can manipulate the clock to make the minute and hour hands point to certain numbers which have doors behind them. If the player is running between hands when the second hand is passing by, they will be knocked off and fall to the bottom where they have to face a certain enemy. After the player enters the VI room, the minigame stops, and the clock can no longer be moved.
In Bone Village, the player can participate in an Excavation minigame. The game allows the player to hire staff and set them in positions throughout the Village. They can have up to five. Once they are happy with the positioning, they must ignite a bomb. This will make the staff all look towards one point. In the point where all of their lines of sight meet is where the treasure is. The player must do this to get the Lunar Harp to continue the story, and it is also the only method to get the Key to Sector 5 to return to some areas of Midgar. Various materia can also be dug up if previously missed in the game.
The Snowboarding minigame is first played after obtaining the snowboard and the map in Icicle Inn. With these items, the player can run to the top of the map and start the minigame. Cloud rides the snowboard down an icy slope. There are number of obstacles that can knock over the player, and there are balloons which serve no purpose in the story. The player can change their route by choosing directions at a number of forks. Where Cloud lands in the Great Glacier depends on the routes chosen. The player can run out of the Great Glacier back into Icicle Inn and repeat the minigame. It later appears in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer. Here the minigame is expanded, and the player partakes in time trials. Achieving certain times will provide access to different courses. Tifa and Cid may request to race instead of Cloud.
One area of the Great Glacier features a platform minigame. The player must get to the other side by jumping on ice platforms. After jumping from a platform it sinks and the player cannot return to it. The player can only jump in four directions. If they are on a block and cannot move the minigame resets and the player is put back to where they came from.
The Great Glacier features a pseudo-World Map area. Winds that occur in the area make the camera rotate. The player can place flags so they can see the direction they are running in. Flags cannot be placed while the winds are occurring. There is a cave in the middle of the field, and the edges of the field will lead to various places. This area must be navigated to get the Alexander Materia. Another path connects the area with the Alexander Materia to the rest of the Great Glacier, however the player can only exit the area from there, but not enter, instead being taken to a different area.
The Gaea's Cliff features a minigame in areas where the player is scaling the outside of the cliffs. The player's temperature steadily falls, and if it falls too low they return to Holzoff's Cabin. The player can increase their temperature by repeatedly pressing the [SWITCH] button. The player cannot increase their temperature while climbing. Flags exist to show where the player can climb from. At some points there are forks in the path that will lead the player to dead ends.
The Whirlwind Maze features three screens where a timing minigame is played out. The player must run past a wall of wind when it is calm. If they run through when the wind is too aggressive then the player is knocked back and faces an encounter. Each one is more difficult than the last, with additions such as the inclusion of lightning strikes.
The Submarine minigame is played when the Huge Materia has to be recovered from the Turks. The player has to find them and shoot the Shinra Submarine while also being fired at by enemy ships. The submarine must navigate a 3D battlefield. The player does not have to win this minigame to progress with the story; however, they must return to Junon to get another submarine. This minigame can also be played later in the game in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer, it works much the same.
The player can also play a minigame at the Chocobo Forests.
During the storyline, there are sections that play much like a minigame. During the Battle of the Gardens, Squall Leonhart must fight a Galbadian soldier. For this section, there will be a life meter and the player must timely press either to punch, to kick or to block. If the player blocks enough blows, a Deathblow will be available. A similar minigame is played during a sequence where the player controls Laguna Loire against a Ruby Dragon.
A minigame is engaged during the play "I Want to Be Your Canary", where Zidane can impress the audience during a fighting sequence with Blank to earn Gil and an item. The player must press the button Blank says at the right time.
Much like in Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX also features a card game, but functions differently and is called Tetra Master. A minigame that spans the entire world of the game and gives the player a variety of rewards is Chocobo Hot and Cold.
Blackjack is a minigame based on the real-world Blackjack card game. It can only be played after the end of the game once The End screen is displayed and the "Prelude" plays by pressing a combination of buttons on the controller.
There are several minigames:
- Cloister of Trials
- The training session minigame where Tidus learns Jecht Shot on the S.S. Winno.
- Lightning Dodge - Tidus must dodge lightning bolts in the Thunder Plains.
- Butterfly Hunt - Tidus hunts butterflies in the Macalania Woods.
- Chocobo Racing - Tidus can train a chocobo in the Calm Lands.
- The Chocobo Challenge - Tidus races against another chocobo beneath the Remiem Temple.
- In Mt. Gagazet, Wakka must hit a target with his blitzball to open a path.
- In Mt. Gagazet, Tidus, Rikku and Wakka must swim into three buttons corresponding to their Sphere Grid color scheme to open the path to the Zanarkand Ruins.
- Cactuar Hunt - Tidus has to solve riddles to find ten Cactuars around the Bikanel Desert.
There are many minigames; several being unlocked in missions, or simply by progressing through the chapters:
- Gunner's Gauntlet - A third-person shooter minigame in which Yuna must travel from the entrance to Besaid village to the beach within a time limit, killing fiends along the way.
- Sphere Break - A mathematical puzzle game played by collecting coins.
- Blitzball - Played completely differently to the previous game, as more of a manager-type game, where the player trains the team and chooses the play tactics, rather than directly controlling the team players.
- Tower Recalibration - Each of the towers in the Thunder Plains has its own simple minigame involving pressing the correct button at the correct time. There are three styles of games, depending on whether it is Yuna, Rikku, or Paine calibrating the tower.
- Excavation - Finding spare parts or items in the various expanses of Bikanel Desert.
- Cactuar Hunt - Similar to the sidequest from Final Fantasy X, except the Cactuars are now scattered across Spira, and must be fought in a shooting-based minigame against Yuna before returning to Bikanel Island.
- Moving the band - A small mandatory minigame where the player has to push band members into a lift.
- Rehearshal's Shtarting? - A mandatory QTE minigame played on the Celsius in Chapter 4.
- Operation: Monkey! - Matching monkeys up with their mates in the Zanarkand Dome.
The Calm Lands contains the most minigames all costing "Credits" from a certain company to play:
- Lupine Dash - Similar to real-world horse-racing, players bet a certain amount of credits on the Lupine they think will win.
- Sky Slots - The player must line up three of the same fiend in a row, similar to a slot machine.
- Reptile Run - The player controls a Reptile that must travel from one end of the field to the other in a time limit while avoiding enemy fiends.
- Gull Force - The player controls a gull that must shoot the "correct" gull out of the five that are flying towards it.
- Feed The Monkey - The player must keep a monkey in the air by feeding it different fruits that alter its weight.
- Chocobo Racing - Players may bet on a race or enter their own chocobos.
- Chocobo Hot and Cold - With a personal chocobo, the Hot and Cold game can be played throughout the Middle Lands.
- The annual Sunbreeze Festival incorporated Goldfish Scooping as part of its main events. Starting in 2008, the summer holiday festival introduced several new minigames to play in the starting cities for prizes.
- Several quests/missions in later expansions incorporate minigames that must be solved to complete them, particularly the Mercenary Promotion quests.
- In Abyssea, attempting to manually unlock Sturdy Pyxis without a key requires a guessing mini-game.
- Fishing in the Dalmasca Estersand.
- Footrace minigame in Balfonheim after Reddas joins as a Guest. This can be played by talking to Rikken outside of Reddas's manse.
- Temporal Rift:
- Vanishing Floor: Every time the player steps away from a floor panel, it disappears. The stage is composed of a series of floor panels and crystals. The objective is to gather all the crystals.
- Crystal Bond: Players are required to link crystals of the same shape and color with each other.
- Hands of Time: Numbered crystals appear floating over a giant clock's dial and must be cleared by moving the clock's hands.
- The Slot Machine
- Chocobo racing can be undertaken at Serendipity.
- Two downloadable content card games:
Various seasonal events included mini-games for the duration of the event.
Both crafting and gathering disciplines had a specific minigame to determine success or failure. Players could parley with specific NPCs to get rewards, information or as part of quests.
Patch 3.1 added Lord of Verminion to the Gold Saucer, along with mini-games based on Version 1.0 gathering.
The Sound Novels cannot be access in the English version since they have been disabled. Even if the player manages to access them, the script for them has been left in the Japanese language.
In Urbeth, the player may set up a shop selling stock to customers. The player can keep all the money they earn this way, and if they earn over 20,000 gil in one session, they earn the Seamstress job. The guaranteed way to do this is to offer up 10 Rainbow Boots, however, the player will lose money doing this. An easy way is to sell magic books at the same prices as the NPC shops on the day they are in demand. Reloading the saved file makes it easier.
In Invidia, the player can play a maths minigame. Earning enough points in this game, earns the player the Beastmaster job. A quick way to earn higher points is to keep passing numbers until this pattern is given: two numbers that can easily be made into 10, and the other two are the same. Calculate 10 with the first pair then multiply and divide the double.
A bonus activity in the form of the Norende Reconstruction sidequest. Early on, Tiz is put in charge of rebuilding his hometown. To do this, the player can click on the town icon on the sidebar at any time to view the village. At the start, nothing is built and many obstacles block paths to other parts of the town area. To rebuild the town, the player will have to rely on villagers found through StreetPassing or given by the Adventurer once a day by updating data. The more villagers a player has, the faster tasks can get done. If the player has completed the demo version, they can transfer up to 20 villagers from the demo to their gamefile to assist.
- Chompcraft - a minigame that allows the player to take a break from the main game by making plush toys.
- Fort-Lune Reconstruction sidequest is similar to the Norende Quest from the previous game. Magnolia is put in charge of rebuilding the moonbase.