A Closer Look at Minigames: Who are the Top Developers?

A minigame can be one of the most rewarding aspects of gaming. They run the gambit, from mobile titles that are designed for short stints of play to side quests in action-adventure RPGs. Sometimes, a minigame is a way to escape the main plot. Other times, minigames are the subject of mobile development.

Despite their compact nature, they require just as much care as a regular video game. Even slots, for example, require a deceptively close eye on detail. Like any other digital game, online slots developers must create an intriguing story, characters, and theme. At least, for the most part. Slots like Masters of Olympus and 7 Masks of Fire are some of the most popular in the industry because they’re dynamic and have visually engaging themes and, in some cases, progressive stories.

Even other slots like Starburst, which don’t include narrative elements, are popular because of their high level of design. Similar to a match-three game like Candy Crush Saga, the idea is for players to get in the flow and have fun—not worry about following a fast pace or combing through tiny details.

But what about developers that do want to go above and beyond? For the most part, minigames are designed for mobile usage. The majority are casual games that are created to let players pass the time, like those outlined above. But that doesn’t mean some developers are diving into the tiniest details to create next-level minigames.

If you’re looking for an expansive minigame to pair with your casual delights, then dive into a project from one of the leading developers mentioned below. We’re listing our favorite minigames in a variety of genres and formats.

Video Games: Rockstar Games

Above, we mentioned that a minigame doesn’t have to stand alone. Instead, a satisfying minigame might just offer a bit of an escape from the standard action of a given game. And few developers do it as well as Rockstar Games. Rockstar is responsible for projects like the Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto franchises.

Red Dead Redemption 2 includes a poker minigame. Rather than create their own separate minigame, they leveraged the popularity of the card game. Given its crossover appeal for Red Dead’s main demographic, the minigame was a hit. In this case, it wasn’t about designing a new game—just finding a complementary title that fits in well with the Wild West.

Similarly, Rockstar created a taxi driver minigame for its GTA franchise. This minigame lets players step behind the wheel to experience a day in the life of a taxi driver. Similarly, players can moonlight as a paramedic or a firefighter when the open-world game gets a little monotonous.

Mobile Collectible Card Games: Second Dinner

Back in 2018, one of Blizzard’s senior designers left his position to found Second Dinner. Second Dinner is a video game development company. After years of experience with The World of Warcraft-inspired Hearthstone, Second Dinner founder, Ben Brode, took on Marvel Snap.

Marvel Snap is a mobile minigame designed as a collectible card game for the Marvel Universe. If you’re interested in collectible card games, from Gwent to Hearthstone, you’ll enjoy this highly nuanced and easy-to-navigate minigame.

Mobile Games: Mistwalker & Ustwo Games

As mentioned above, most minigames are designed to be mobile games. While they can also be a part of a traditional video game, like poker in Red Dead, or can be the result of an industry expert striking out on their own, like Ben Brode of Second Dinner, tons of worthy minigames come from indie developers.

In fact, this is what makes the world of minigames so compelling. Because they’re shorter, indie creators can tackle them without hundred-person teams and millions in funding. Some of the world’s most intriguing mobile games have come from these types of developers, including Ustwo Games.

Ustwo has been around since 2004, founded by two creators who wanted to get into the mobile gaming market. They’ve helped launch multiple projects throughout the years, which culminated in their 2018 release of Ken Wong’s passion project, Monument Valley. Since its release, the minigame has become one of the most acclaimed puzzle games ever released.