The Wii’s popularity with mini-games has been both a strength and a drawback. The intuitive controller has shown to be a fantastically versatile tool for pick-up-and-play gaming, and it is accessible to many who would not touch a standard controller. However, the popularity of these collections led in a deluge of awful products, making us all miserable. Still, at its best, mini-games provide a delightful type of low-commitment entertainment that is difficult to refuse.
Here are ten games that nail it.
1. Wii Sports Resort
Nintendo’s Wii MotionPlus proof-of-concept release is a fantastic example of how to showcase new technology, delivering a wide variety of incredibly enjoyable and well-made mini-games that utilised the MotionPlus technology in every way Nintendo’s designers could think of. It’s almost a model for the subsequent Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’s control paradigm.
2. Wii Fit Plus
While mostly known as fitness software, Wii Fit Plus is also famous for a fantastic selection of mini-games that offer some of the most inventive uses for the Wii Balance Board ever devised. No other game has used the Board as creatively as this one.
3. Mario Party 9
This game receives points simply for having a large number of mini-games. MP9 is more of a party game in the style of a board game than a mini-game collection, but it features a lot of entertaining mini-games and players can disregard the board game aspect if they like. Even if the mini-games are essentially part of a greater total, they are nevertheless better than many Wii games that provide nothing else.
4. Winter Sports: The Ultimate Challenge
This surprisingly successful collection of Olympic-themed sports games was never quite as popular with the general public as I had hoped. The game did an excellent job of simulating the feel of its numerous activities, and it made me want to attempt bobsledding in real life, which I did not do due to a general aversion to becoming seriously injured on a freezing mountain.
5. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
Crystal Bearers has a unique approach to mini-games in that you play through a tale and are constantly confronted with new mini-games rather than selecting them from a menu. You almost never play the same game twice. There is also some combat in the game.
The majority of the mini-games aren’t particularly difficult, but the presentation, which includes an intriguing plot and lovely landscape, elevates the entire above the sum of its parts.
6. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
This good collection of mini-games may not blow you away with its brilliance, but it is notable for making identical sports seem totally different. Aside from the obvious Olympic sports mini-games, there are a few interesting, multi-player-oriented fantasy versions to try out.
7. BIT.TRIP COMPLETE
BIT.TRIP COMPLETE contains six games that were previously offered separately as WiiWare releases. Some of them, especially BIT.TRIP RUNNER, aren’t exactly tiny. While I had mixed thoughts about the games in COMPLETE, the elegant presentation, which incorporates retro graphics and an imaginative use of music, elevates it to one of the most outstanding mini-game collections, even if I was more impressed than entertained.
8. Let’s Tap
This clever package includes four mini-games, all of which are controlled by touching the flat surface on which your Wii is placed. Tap to send racers flying or space ships firing missiles. The mini-games are a mixed bag, but I’ve always loved the control system’s ingenuity.
9. Wii Sports
While eventually surpassed by Wii Sports Resort, the original Wii Sports was a revelation when it debuted and remains one of the Wii’s most highly acclaimed sports games. Indeed, for many non-gamers who purchased the Wii when it was bundled with this game, Wii Sports was all they needed; the bowling mini-game spawned entire bowling leagues and tournaments. This proved to be an issue for Nintendo; how do you sell games to non-gamers who believe that a single mini-game collection is all they need?
10. WarioWare: Smooth Moves
Smooth Moves, like the rest of the WarioWare titles, is a micro-game collection in which players are challenged to make simple motions in a matter of seconds. Consider it a mini-game collection for those with ADD.