The 10 Top Mini Games Any Gamer Should Know

Last updated: 12/27/2023
5 minutes read

Unlike MMOs and sprawling franchises from prominent developers, mini games are essentially bite-size experiences that could be considered palette cleansers. You might stumble across mini games by accident while exploring the universe of a console game title. Alternatively, you can seek them out and head to community forums, where other gamers will have your back as well as countless recommendations.

Typically speaking, mini games can range from small single-button games to side experiences that could (and sometimes actually have) become full-fledged titles in their own right, essentially being standalone games. In some cases, mini games exist as side parts of a larger story, while other times, a cohesive game title can consist of a series of different mini games.

Check out below ten breakout mini games and what fans love about them. From the golden oldies on the scene to the new, state-of-the-art offerings, there's plenty to distract you from your main quest for hours!

Top Ten Minigames List

1. Triple Triad – Final Fantasy 8

As a series famous for mini games, we could have filled this entire list with entries from the Final Fantasy series, but we’ve settled for just two. The first is the card game Triple Triad on the PS1 classic Final Fantasy 8. This had you collecting cards of practically every named character and monster in the game, battling NPCs with these cards, and taking theirs as prizes.

Cards in Triple Triad could also be converted into strong items and spells, meaning the best players were also rewarded with incredible power. As a mini game popular enough to spawn dedicated apps and websites, this title still stands out more than 20 years later.

2. Poker – Red Dead Redemption 2

Shooter games might not be the most outwardly suited to smaller mini games, but that didn’t stop Red Dead Redemption. Set in the Wild West, Red Dead Redemption allows faithful fans to play mini poker games with strangers or buddies online. Take a seat in a saloon, put your feet up, and try to make sure none of your opponents are cheating. If they are, a quick duel outside is a perfect way to settle any outstanding debts.

3. Various – Mario Party

The Mario Party series is one where mini games are the game. As you play, you and your friends compete to collect coins and stars over a range of events until a final winner is decided. Some of the best mini games in this series are completely random, while others are bizarrely skill-intensive, while the most famous test the durability of your hand (Google “Mario Party palm destroyer” to learn more). They’re not all winners, but with the right company, they do add up to something great.

4. Arcade Games – Street Fighter 6

Street Fighter 6 was hot out of the gate in making a name for itself as a fantastic fighting game. While SF5 was limited at launch, SF6 offers a robust range of features, including full old Capcom titles playable on in-game arcade cabinets. These include titles like Street Fight 2 and Captain Command as minigames, each of which can reward with points to purchase in-game items. Were they always this difficult, though, or have we gotten slow in our old age?

5. Galaga – Tekken

The first Tekken set the stage for a legendary series, while also pioneering the idea of offering mini games on the loading screen. In this case, users could play some Galaga while they waited for a level to load, where a perfect score would unlock the secret Devil character. The only downside here is that Namco patented this idea, so no other games could include mini games on loading screens until the patent expired in 2015!

6. Gwent – The Witcher 3

The second card game on this list, Gwent is a title to which modern audiences are likely much more accustomed. Despite having a serious mission to engage in saving his adopted daughter and slaying monsters, the Witcher's Geralt has a bad case of Gwent fever and an apparent lack of tact. Local tragedy? Play Gwent. Just save a family? Play Gwent. Find a magic person in the wilderness? Maybe they’ll want to play Gwent. You can even download Mac games like this today if you want to play without the full Witcher 3 game.

7. Geometry Wars – Project Gotham Racing 2

Released on the original Xbox back in 2003, the Project Gotham Racing series was widely celebrated as fantastic games which took prime advantage of the new Xbox Live ecosystem. The second one took its efforts a step further with the inclusion of the 2-D space shooter Geometry Wars. Geometry Wars was such a cult hit that it went on to see a full release and sequels on other platforms, remaining one of the best mini games in gaming history.

8. Mercenaries – Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 was a hugely important game, responsible for bringing many aspects of over-the-shoulder 3rd person gameplay to the masses. Outside of the excellent story mode, the Mercenaries mini game took the title even further by pitting your chosen character against a series of deadly challenges. Cracking the action up to 11, Mercenaries is now a staple of Resident Evil thanks to RE4’s version, even in the recent RE4 remake.

9. Blitzball – Final Fantasy 10

Final Fantasy 10 was one of the PS2's greatest hits, still standing as many players' favorite game in the franchise. Depending on who you ask, the Blitzball mini game might have played a big part in this. More divisive than FF8's Triple Trial, Blitzball is a kind of RPG-style underwater rugby/soccer game that focuses on abilities, strategy, and team composition. While a different mini game version of Blitzball returned in FFX-2, it’s this one that held most player's imagination or drew their ire.

10. Anaconda – TimeSplitters 2

Built by the famous hands behind Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, the TimeSplitters series was one of the most popular first-person shooters on the Xbox, PS2, and GameCube. Aiding in the main shooting fun was the unexpected addition of mini games like Anaconda, a take on the classic Snake. Playable by up to four players, Anaconda had you growing, blocking off others, and competing for a high score while traveling through time, fighting aliens, and making bad time-based puns. Not the only mini game in this series, but definitely the one which stands out the most.

So there you have our top minigames. Have you already chosen a favorite?