The mark of a great and truly engrossing game is it boasting a wonderfully addictive and somewhat challenging mini-game or two. We’ve all experienced it: we’ve got an important mission to complete but just can’t stop playing this mini-game that, in the greater scheme of the game, means very little, if anything at all! From repetitive trials to in-game casinos, these are the mini-games that were so good that they stopped us from playing the “real” game.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Gwent
Gwent is one of the ultimate mini-games in video game history. The fictitious card game has you collecting cards, building decks, and battling NPCs around the map. While it takes a little while to get to grips with Gwent, once you have its dynamics locked down, it becomes incredibly addictive. Best of all, playing Gwent completes side quests and win prizes for the main game. Gwent became so popular with the fan base that the developers, CD Projekt Red, created an online standalone version, called Gwent: The Witcher Card Game.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – Poker
Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the most highly anticipated games of 2018 – and it didn’t disappoint. The vast open map and freedom to be whatever kind of outlaw you fancied meant that much of the sandbox-style gameplay for many people didn’t revolve around the lengthy story. Along with hunting and thieving, the poker mini-game took up huge chunks of game time as you battled NPCs to take their money in the iconic card game of the time.
Fallout: New Vegas – Blackjack
In the post-apocalyptic Mojave Desert, amidst the barren stretches of fearsome creatures are six casinos, as you would assume from it being “New Vegas.” At each of these, players can play roulette, slots, and blackjack. Of course, with it being more about skill than pure luck, as is the case with online blackjack – be it live or traditional – the game of 21 is what draws many hours into the game. Winning at the casinos earns you prizes, but if you win too much, you’ll be banned – as is the way of this lawless community. Luckily, being banned from all six casinos does complete the Big Winner quest line as a consolation prize.
God of War – Trials
It’s easy to see why God of War stacked game of the year awards from all over the world: it perfectly executes its story, combat mechanics, soundtrack, graphics, and everything else in between. Of all of the things to do in the mostly-open-world setting of the Nordic realms, the trials of Muspelheim and Niflheim are the most enticing. In Muspelheim, you complete increasingly difficult combat challenges before then being offered to do even more difficult trials on the way down. Niflheim is an ever-changing maze filled with enemies, traps, and the loot that you need to bring back to base before the smog drains your health bar.
Digimon World – Curling
Finishing off by going a bit retro with a PlayStation title, Digimon World was an incredible open world with unique gameplay mechanics unseen in games of a similar theme. The fact that your Digimon partner had a lifecycle meant that you spent a lot of time building them up before moving on – but during this time, it was hard not to stay in Digimon Curling. You were tasked with beating skilful Digimon owned by either Penguinmon or MetalMamemon to win rather good prizes.
There you have it: Despite how great the stories and other elements of these games were, we couldn’t resist a binge or two of these superb mini-games.