Ugh, minigame collections, right? They’re a group of a bunch of mindless, one button time-sinks that sometimes make those freemium mobile apps look good. At first glance, Nazo no Mini Game: Choigae looks like one of those collections. It appears to be filled with budget minigames using the simplest controls, where someone could even occasionally win without even moving. But there’s a twist there that sets this 3DS download apart.
Nazo no Mini Game: Choigae was originally a DSiWare game. Players followed a hero named Brave as he attempted to save a Princess from a Dark Lord. This is done by going through mysterious minigames that increase Brave’s stats as he plays. As he goes through these rudimentary collections, he gradually gets strong enough to ascend the tower, defeating enemies in simple battles and unlocking more difficulty levels and additional minigames. This is preserved in the 3DS remake, with players getting the chance to ascend the castle’s towers in search of new challenges again. (You’ll even get to unlock more playable characters!)
What kind of games? Well, one is a missile-dodging game with Flappy Bird controls. You tap to make a UFO ascend. Or, you can do nothing and let it bounce against the bottom of the screen. I earned a C grade on that minigame doing that once. In another, you go through as many Reversi puzzles as possible, placing one piece in the hopes of “winning” that match with the placement. You slash through ninjas made of kanji in another entry. Each one of Nazo no Mini Game: Choigae’s diversions has Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard difficulty levels, with each one offering a higher experience reward for participating.
Think of it as a JRPG without the grinding. You go through the minigames you enjoy to improve Brave and the other characters. Once you’ve earned enough levels, you can go ahead and journey further into the tower, fighting enemies as you do. Beating enemies gives access to chests with new equipment and minigames. You might even get skill cards, which can give Brave an edge over foes by healing, offering additional attacks, or other bonuses in a brawl. You do as much as you think you have to, typically earning enough experience from playing a single minigame about five times to level up.
Sadly, we’ve never seen a Nazo no Mini Game localization. It’d be simple enough; there isn’t much text and the minigames themselves don’t require any knowledge of Japanese. This is the best version of the collection too, with rebalanced difficulty, improved pixelated graphics and additional content, so this would be the perfect time to see the download in other regions. But for some reason, it never happened. The Japanese version of the game introduces the main characters by their English names. Maybe it’ll happen this time.
If you do have a Japanese 3DS and want something simple to play, Nazo no Mini Game: Choigae is a good investment for ¥500. Its minigames aren’t the best, but it’s a solid and unusual effort.