Game Mechanics Attacks as minigames in your turn-based JRPGs

Widget

Member
I haven't seen them all too often, yet they appear in beloved JRPGs like Paper Mario (TTYD) and Final Fantasy X. A lot of the time it's as simple as pressing a button at the right time or it's a QTE. I'm just wondering what the general consensus of these minigames are. Are they obstructive? I haven't heard of anyone say these were their favourite parts of the games they appear in, nor their least favourite. Do you think they'd be better off without them or would you like to see them in more turn-based games?

I can see the benefits. The biggest turn off for turn-based battles is that most of the actual gameplay is based in menus, which doesn't seem to be all that engaging (at least that's what I think, I actually like turn-based battles). Adding minigames to determine the strength or accuracy of attacks certainly adds a level of skill required to succeed rather than just knowledge. They can get in the way, like having to do them perhaps 100s of times across the whole playthrough but that's why they're simple and are never too tasking.
 

NicoFIDI

Member
From a designer perspective:
They are not the core of your game, like paper mario, if you add them add them to slightly increase the reward, because the real choise shouldnt be if you make this or the other attack because you are good at the minigame, you should choose them because they have certain effects (the hammer flips turtles, the jump push fliing gumbas to the floor etc).
They are to separate PRO players from regular ones.

From a personal perspective:
JRPG turn flat system it's extreamly overused, they add an extra flavor and make your game stand out from others.
 

11clock

Member
They are a great tool for keeping the player engaged in all parts of the battle, at the consequence of making battles a bit slower. I think that more turnbased games should use them imo.
 
I've considered this question myself when planning my RPG, and in the end, I decided to go with both, having a more traditional "Hold Down X To Win" setting, and when toggled switches to the "mini game" version instead. I figured as a trade off, the non-minigame version would use luck to determine outcomes, for example, if the mini-game was to press the button in the "red" zone of a slider to do a critical hit, the non-minigame version would just be a random chance out of whatever percent.
 

Genetix

Member
I personally love them - although when left on the simple side. They keep the battles interactive when done well.
 

Yal

šŸ§ *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I really liked how The Thousand-Year Door added several "levels" of the interactivity, like pressing the A button to do special tricks to charge up your Star Power but making your animations weirder so the action commands were harder to execute; if you didn't go for Stylish moves they were easier to pull off but less rewarding, but once you got good enough at the action commands you could take the risk for some extra rewards.

I also think the way Bravely Default let you save up turns for later, or take turns in advance, added a lot of interactivity, even if it still was menu-based. It also made guarding more worthwhile, since you could save up a turn for later, but still get reduced damage; you always had a net gain if you guarded (even though killing enemies could be a better option a lot of the time, and some moves couldn't be blocked).
 

Storyteller

Member
the original Valkyrie Profile had really strong TBRPG mechanics. so did xenogears. both are highly recommended
try legend of legaia and legend of dragoon for PSX for other ideas.
to me, this is a very strong focus of study, Im interested in your results
 

Widget

Member
the original Valkyrie Profile had really strong TBRPG mechanics. so did xenogears. both are highly recommended
try legend of legaia and legend of dragoon for PSX for other ideas.
to me, this is a very strong focus of study, Im interested in your results
I can see where your tastes lie - being able to perform combos and such in a single turn. I plan to have those mechanics in the game I'm working on right now (more action than RPG), where you can string together attacks during your turn provided you have enough energy but in order to be able to defend, you'll need to save some for the enemies' turn. Or you can be reckless and expend all your energy to make sure the enemies get defeated before they can attack.

I'm really thinking ahead, but this thread is actually for the game I plan to make after my current one. I'm surprised this topic is so polarising (I posted in another forum too), it's either one or the other with most people. It's really got me thinking. I don't want to do timed hits, QTEs or massive RNG. So in order for the player to feel more engaged and the game not entirely relying on selecting your options in a menu, I've decided that the player will be able to physically aim their attacks. Party member and enemy positioning will be the minigame and being good at it means you can score hits on multiple enemies at once.
 

Storyteller

Member
well, consider in a JRPG you will almost certainly have your four directions and a 'confirm' or 'input' button.
you may not guarantee several attack buttons on your platform, but probably your four directions.

so for a mechanic based off of this, you might have instead of combos, a 'match direction' or 'modify by direction' for your QTE type feature.

have certain techniques, spells,moves, elements, disciplines etc linked to the four directions. when you attack, perhaps the enemy responds by defending, certain attunements of elements, force barriers etc, you then press a direction to modify your action.
so, a fighter might change from a generic magic attack to a fire based attack, or a non-elemental one mid-swing.
and a caster might alter a spell from one lunar phase to another to bypass a kind of magic defense while casting

alternatively, you might have 'normal attacks', and 'armor piercing (but vulnerable to counters)', aim high to bypass low blocks, aim low to bypass high blocks and 'feint to deal no damage, but avoid counter attacks'

you get the idea. so instead of counters, the ability to modify combat actions.
the feature in xenogears I like most, was moving around the battlefield...
combined with the variety of actions you could choose from, these really backed up the combat combo system well.
 
There was this game called Gladius on PS2, Xbox, and GCN. It wasn't a jrpg but a turn based grid tactics rpg on a grid. But the base idea is the same. Anyway, they had this (optional) system where all your attacks and abilities would require special inputs. For example, a regular attack would bring up a swing meter like in a golf game and that would determine your damage and if you get a crit. Other abilities would have you mash a button or input a series of different buttons. This added an extra level of excitement and control, since you felt more in control than relying on rng like normal.
 
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