Disclaimer: The Legend of Zelda franchise is my favorite series of all time. I’ve played every title except the CDi games, have enjoyed numerous playthroughs of several titles, and I probably know more Zelda trivia than I know about just about anything else. However, not every Zelda title is perfect; some new gameplay mechanics did not work as expected and some plot lines did not make sense. However, there’s never a shortage of things to do, with mini-games being one of the main culprits of side tracking. There’s plenty to love, with Ocarina of Time’s fishing hole being a whole game inside of a game. Mini-games have also helped developing skills essential to the game, such as shooting galleries, the STAR game, and even the Deku Scrub Playground. So with all good, there’s bound to be some bad, and here’s the 5 worst mini-games in the Legend of Zelda series.
Auction – Wind Waker
In one of the central island towns, Windfall Island, there lie many businesses and a few interesting homes. One exuberant home is host to the auction gallery, where locals bid on antiques and collectibles. One of these items is the Swift Sail, which double boat speed and basically makes the game much more bearable. To be eligible for the sail, you have to bid against the locales, who gain nothing from stealing you away from important quest items. The fact that this game perfectly captures the eBay bidding process is the most frustrating aspect. It’s more of a relief to win than actually feeling victorious, not to mention it would have been more interesting to earn the sail in a boating race or something relative to the seas.
Digging Game – Recurring
Just dig with the shovel until you get lucky. The shovel item is more of a small touch to the story, so seeing it being used for a mini-game is not surprising, but with the whole host of great mini-games the franchise has, the digging game is just boring and uninspired.
Rollgoal – Twilight Princess
Link is given a game board, which presents him with the ultimate challenge of getting the ball across the board of tiles to reach the goal. This game is also motion controlled using the Wii Remote. This game has nothing to do with anything Zelda and belongs more in a cheap Wii Party collection knock off.
Treasure Game – Recurring
Basically, the shovel game but with only one shot.
Boss Rush – Recurring onward
Now before you get your pitchforks and torches up in arms, let’s break down Boss Rush. In games before Zelda started doing Boss Rush, what gamers would expect is to fight all the bosses in the game in a row, with little to no healing in between. However, for the Legend of Zelda games, the boss was a critical fight that used the item you received in the dungeon. Often times it was a culmination of the skills you have built up in the dungeon. So, when fighting the same old bosses, it seems like the challenge is lost and it’s more of a time trial. Which is not to say that it is bad. However, Zelda games have challenged players in so many ways (looking at you, Water Temple) that something original could have gone into this franchise’s boss rush. I’d like to see something like Master Quest, a recreation of Ocarina of Time but with harder, redesigned dungeons. Creators preyed on the gamers’ previous knowledge and your skills as a player were tested. I’m not saying Boss Rush is bad; I’ve enjoyed replaying some iconic battles. I just want something fresh that means more than simply whittling off time.
Honorable mention goes to Octoball from A Link Between Worlds, which Brian covered in a separate article on gaming mechanics.
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