Minigames, also known as Event Games, or subgames, are common in the Final Fantasy series. Minigames act as 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. It involves rapidly tapping both primary face buttons used in that version (e.g. and 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 yielding better rewards.
While riding the snowcraft, the player can access a 4-by-4 grid with two of each character's portrait. The portraits 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 grants access the Memory Puzzle's Frog Mode where character portraits are replaced with their Frog counterparts, making it much more difficult, but this version of the minigame yields better prizes, such as Genji equipment.
The way the minigame is accessed depends on the control scheme used. In the Dawn of Souls version, the player must hold down and keep pressing . 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. After gaining enough points the player is rewarded with a certain item. There are five minigames total, each applying to one of the five final characters: Rydia, Cecil, Kain, Rosa, and Edge, and all boost one of Whyt's five stats. Any stat boosts earned will carry over to any other game file.
At two points in the story the player controls multiple parties and protect someone from oncoming foes. If a party is defeated they will reappear near the target they have to protect with a single HP.
The first minigame has Locke along with Ten Moogles protect the unconscious Terra from the Guard Leader near the moogles' home where she has fallen from the floor above within the Narshe Mines. The second time this 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 to fight Kefka.
In the Sector 5 Church, the player can help Aeris climb to the top. The player must call out commands and push barrels on enemies to protect her. Only one barrel has to be pushed for Aeris 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, as the player can opt for Aeris 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 of being chosen by Don Corneo.
When climbing the Sector 6 plate from Wall Market up to Shinra Building the player must leap onto a swinging object. When in position, pressing the [OK] button jumps. The game tells if the player jumped too soon or too late.
In the Shinra Building, the player 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 against Mighty Grunt enemies. Failing too many times will end the minigame.
G Bike is played when the party escapes from Midgar. Cloud gets on a motorcycle and must protect the truck with his friends on 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 depends on the part of the truck being hit, while Cloud's damage depends on his motorcycle. The amount of damage taken translates into the percentage of HP the party will have in the fight against Motor Ball. The party can later play this minigame at the Wonder Square in Gold Saucer where it is points based, and the player will gain points by taking out motorcyclists and 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 rise up the screen. During play, the player can still add more units. There are 21 battles overall, but only 15 are playable. The minigame has to 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 face CMD.Grand Horn in an ordinary battle. In all other battles, if the enemy 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.
During the Junon Parade in Upper Junon Cloud has to join in as a Shinra Infantryman. The minigame is split into two parts: first, the soldiers march down the streets and later perform maneuvers 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 to score points, which determine the prize the player will get.
When traveling through Mt. Corel a number of spots on the rail track crumble. The player may opt to jump and avoid falling, or let themselves fall. If they fall, a short the player must choose a direction to grab on and thus 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. The player must race a chocobo to victory, and repeat the minigame until they place first. Later, the player can return to the Chocobo Square at the Gold Saucer and either bet on a race they are not involved in and win prizes if they guess the winner and runner-up combination, or ride their own chocobo and win the prize corresponding to the winner and runner-up positions. The party can breed chocobos, each color chocobo having different base stats and stat progression. Chocobos can improve through classes in racing, and different items can be obtained in different classes. Tifa and Cid may request to race instead of Cloud.
In the Arm Wrestling minigame in the Wonder Square one 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 in the Wonder Square has the player hold a button to power up a throw. A throw powered for the correct amount of time will go through the hoop. If the player scores, they may throw again. The object is to score as many baskets as possible without missing.
The Wonder Catcher minigame is also in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer. They are crane games, but the player has no control of the crane, and rewards are given by chance.
The 3D Battler minigame is in the Wonder Square and is based on rock-paper-scissors, offering three 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 aim 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 player can hire up to five staff members and set them in positions throughout the village. Once they are happy with the positioning, the player ignites a bomb that makes the staff point towards a treasure. 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.
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, but there are number of obstacles that can knock him over. There are balloons that serve no purpose. 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. The Snow Game later appears in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer. Here the minigame is expanded, the balloons now yield points, 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 rotate the camera, but 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 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 [SWITCH]. The player cannot increase their temperature while climbing. Flags show where the player can climb from. At some points there are forks in the path that lead 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 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 Game 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 if they sink. This minigame can also be played later in the Wonder Square at the Gold Saucer; it works much the same.
There is a darts minigame in the 7th Heaven.
Sniper minigame can be undertaken in Nibelheim it involves sniping a number of Shinra's robots in the Nibel Plains. Either side of the road, robots appear that the player has to snipe with the sniper rifles on the ground. Missing causes the enemy to escape, and a unit is added to the "FLED" counter. For every kill, a unit is added to the "KILL" counter. Points on the KILL counter can be used to purchase upgrades.
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.
Jump rope is a minigame the player can play at the start of the game as Vivi in Alexandria, or later on also with Eiko. The girls hosting the minigame move from the outside of the inn to the chapel later on in the game.
Chocobo Hot and Cold is a minigame that spans the whole of Gaia and gives the player a variety of rewards. The player can first play it when accessing the Chocobo's Forest after departing from Lindblum on foot. The minigame spans until the endgame, and yields various special treasures, including some of the party's ultimate weapons. The game is played both in dog locations an on the world map.
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 as a manager-type game, where the player trains the team and chooses the play tactics, rather than directly controlling the team players.
- Tower re-calibration - Each of the towers in the Thunder Plains has its own 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 Search - Yuna must solve riddles to locate ten Cactuars scattered across Spira.
- 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 Live - 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.
Over the years while the servers have been active, various mini-games have been added:
- 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 can be played in Serendipity. The slot machines resemble the hoverbikes used in Final Fantasy XIII and normally take 5 casino coins to play, but will accept 5 or 10 in Victory Mode, and 5, 10 or 100 in Super Victory Mode.
- Chocobo racing can be undertaken at Serendipity.
- Two downloadable content card games:
- Serendipity Poker is one of the two card games unlocked with the downloadable content episode "Heads or Tails?". Only Sazh can participate in this card game. The game works in the same way as in standard poker.
- Chronobind is the other card game unlocked with the downloadable content episode "Heads or Tails?". Only Sazh can participate in this card game. It is played using a standard deck of 52 playing cards, and a "clock" with one hand and thirteen positions numbered 1 through 13 clockwise.
Various seasonal events included minigames 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 game contains various minigames the major one being fishing, Noctis's leisure skill. The player can find various fishing spots around Lucis and Altissia, and even fish from the royal vessel in the Windows/Royal Editions.
- Challenge Rally: New Regalia Type-D races
- Expert Duel: New battles against enemies that were previously Comrades exclusive.
- Endless Magitek Armor
- Magna Flight: challenges involving the Regalia Type-F
The Sound Novels cannot be accessed 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 math 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.