How to design RPG Mini-Games in a right way? - Plunge Interactive

How to design RPG Mini-Games in a right way?


Role-playing games are among the most addictive games out there, but that addiction doesn’t just come right out of the blue – there’s a lot of hard work and clever thinking put into it. One of the elements that make RPG games so popular is the presence of mini-games within the main game, which add a bit of diversity and enhance the gameplay. As benefic as these deflections from the main story can be, they can have the complete opposite effect if not implemented correctly, so if you’re planning to use this tactic to make your RPG more addictive, make sure you do it right Here are some useful tips on designing and implementing RPG mini-games in a successful way.

Theme and Direction

The first aspects to keep in mind when designing a small game to implement within an RPG are the direction and theme. Since the whole idea of integrating a game inside a game is to create a bit of variation, the mini-game needs to be different enough from the main game as to capture the attention of the player and thus create involvement, yet similar enough to seamlessly integrate within the storyline and the overall feeling of the game.To achieve this, these games usually come in the shape of puzzle games, card games orother simple games that can be used to creatively add new elements to the table or enhance the elements that are already present in the main plot.



One of the points to consider when creatingthis type of gameis whether it will be mandatory to the plot, or optional. This is a very careful consideration, as a mandatory game-within-a-game can be a breaking point if not integrated correctly, especially if the direction of the mini-game is significantly different from the primary direction of the main game. The best approach is to make these games optional, but develop them in such a way that the player will feel persuaded to try them. Make them an accessory, rather than a necessity

Reward System


Using a reward system is the safest bet for making mini-games effective, as the player will be more tempted to deviate from the storyline if a reward is at stake. Whether the rewards comes in the form of experience points, new items or new abilities that are otherwise hard to obtain, or even unobtainable, it’s important that they’re there, offering an alternative path for advancing throughout the main game. It is exactly this variety of elements and paths that ultimately makes RPG games so popular.

Mini-Game Design Checklist

If you’re looking for an easy way of determining whether you’re heading in the right direction with the development of the mini game you plan to integrate, here’s a quick checklist to help you out:

  • Cost: your whole development process is costly, and adding something new to the table will just drive the costs up in term of development costs and resources – are you able to support your new addition?
  • Direction:is the game headed in the direction of your main game? If does not need to duplicate a feature or a mission already present in the game, but it does need to be heading in the same overall direction.
  • Value: does theextra game-within-a-game add any value to the story and the gameplay, or does it just act as a distraction from the main objective?
  • Player Engagement: is the mini game engaging and worth taking the time to play it?
  • Difficulty: how easy can the mini-game be completed? Will the player stay focused for that long, playing a game of a different genre, or will he just skip back to the main game?
  • Benefits: will playing the game be rewarding for the player? Will the rewards be useful for progressing through the main story and influence the overall gameplay in a positive way? Why should the player consider it?

These are all elements that should be taken into consideration when designing an RPG mini-game, as the task will not only affect the mini game, but the big game as well. If you manage to tick all these boxes when developing your game, congratulations – you’re on the path to success.

This is the guest post by Jason Phillips and Parking Games 365!

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