Top 15 Best Mini-Games in The Legend of Zelda SeriesThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
While other game developers might focus on graphics or the most in-depth story they can tell, Nintendo is always on the lookout to create games with simple, unadulterated fun.
In the Zelda franchise, that manifests through fun mini-games awaiting Link everywhere he goes.
No matter how dire the situation, there’s always time for some target practice, fishing, or some other fun activity you can do for some rupees or other rewards.
After 35+ years of Zelda, we’ve all got out favorite mini-games.
Whether they are profitable, fun, or remind us of our childhood, the following mini-games are a cut above the competition.
15. Money Making Game – The Legend of Zelda
One of the most recent moral outrages surrounding video games was lootboxes teaching children to gamble.
What people don’t seem to realize is that video games have been doing that for a long time.
The Money Making Game in the original NES Legend of Zelda offers players an opportunity to multiply their rupees (or lose them) that has nothing to do with skill and everything to do with chance.
Sounds an awful lot like gambling to me.
This was the first official mini-game in the franchise, and quite frankly, it was a lot of fun.
Yeah, it’s pure chance, but the adrenaline hit you get is unbeatable.
14. Bombchu Bowling – Ocarina of Time
I got into Zelda during the Nintendo 64 era with Ocarina of Time. And I have fond memories of hurling Bombchus at the back of the Bowling Alley for 30 rupees a pop in the Hyrule Castle Town Market.
This mini-game was extremely memorable thanks to the room’s decoration, characterized by the contrast between modern neon lights against old-school architecture.
It was also a lot of fun – once you got the hang of it.
Since you can’t control the Bombchu once you drop it, you have to become an expert at calculating its trajectory and avoiding obstacles. Hitting the wall at the back creates an over-the-top explosion and reveals another wall.
It’s visually stimulating, and you can earn yourself both a Piece of Heart and a Bomb Bag upgrade if you’re good enough!
13. Horseback Archery Range – Ocarina of Time
Target practice is a common mini-game/mechanic in Ocarina of Time, but the most exciting event is at the Horseback Archery Range in Gerudo’s Fortress.
After earning the Gerudo’s respect and receiving the Gerudo Token, Link is free to roam around the fortress and even participate in this horseback archery event riding Epona.
Your trusty horse will take care of following the track by herself, so you can focus on hitting targets with your bow. With enough points, you can earn a Quiver upgrade and even a Piece of Heart.
It can be a bit hard and frustrating at first.
But the trace left by the arrows looks really cool as you move forward on Epona, and you’ll feel like a bad-ass once you master horseback archery.
12. Romani Ranch Defense – Majora’s Mask
Also known as the Village of Milk, the Romani Ranch is Termina’s most prestigious dairy producer.
It’s also the closest thing to Roswell, New Mexico, in the Zelda franchise.
Every year around the Carnival, mysterious figures the locals call “ghosts” appear to abduct the ranch’s cows. The thing is, these don’t look like ghosts…
People from the farm ask Link to help protect the ranch and its cows with his bow. This is basically just target practice, but the limited time and large number of “ghosts” make it a mad dash around the ranch to keep the cows stuck to the ground.
You better succeed, though, because the aliens won’t stop at the cows.
They’ll also take Romani, and though they eventually return her, she’ll never be the same again.
11. Deku Scrub Playground – Majora’s Mask
Another excellent mini-game from this N64 classic can be found at the Deku Scrub Playground, a hidden area in northern Clock Town.
This mini-game revolves around using Deku Flowers to shoot yourself up high in the air and gliding from platform to platform, collecting rupees and shooting yourself up again.
The more rupees you collect without touching the ground, the better.
The game gets more difficult each day, but you’ll be rewarded with a Piece of Heart if you manage to complete the challenge and set a new record each day.
I enjoy the opportunity to fly around so much.
Gliding is oddly satisfying in Majora’s Mask, and Link looks adorable holding on to his flowery propellers.
10. Fishing – Link’s Awakening Remake
Fishing has been a staple of The Legend of Zelda since the original Link’s Awakening came out for the Game Boy in 1993 – and the 2019 Nintendo Switch remake only made it more entertaining.
In the original, catching small fish will net you five rupees, while the larger fish will earn Link 20 rupees or even a Piece of Heart.
The Fishing Pond has been dramatically improved for the remake, harboring more biodiversity and many more rewards.
As you catch bigger and better fish, you’ll get money, Pieces of Heart, and even better lures so you can fish deeper and hook even rarer fish.
The colorful and crisp visuals of the remake are the icing on the cake.
9. Sorting Letters – Wind Waker
Some of my fondest childhood memories are from Dragon Roost Island – a beautiful mountainous region inhabited by the Rito, a bird-like race descended from the Zora.
The Rito have large wings and can fly around freely, so naturally, they became the postal service for the inhabitants of the Great Sea.
Always the practical people, the Rito quickly put Link to work at the post office sorting letters by the symbols stamped on them.
The secret here is to enter a state of flow where you don’t have to think what to do with each letter but automatically start aiming for the right spot the second you see the symbol.
8. Dodo’s High Dive – Skyward Sword
Link has tried soaring through the sky more than a handful of times.
One of the most fun – and profitable – examples is Dodo’s Skydiving from Skyward Sword.
This mini-game sees Link being shot up from a cannon, then diving down, avoiding obstacles, and touching colorful hoops for extra points. You’ll also have to keep an eye on where you land, as it determines what rewards you’ll get.
It can take a bit to master landing on a rotating roulette, but you stand to gain a Piece of Heart and up to 500 rupees, so it’s totally worth the effort.
7. Mimo’s Ring Course – Breath of the Wild
You’ll get a similarly exciting experience soaring the skies over post-apocalyptic Hyrule with your glider in Breath of the Wild.
If you feel like a master of the winds and want to prove yourself, you can challenge the paraglider obstacle course set up by Mimo at Eventide Island and try to get every ring without hitting the ground.
The rewards for this feat aren’t all that great, but it was never about the money. For someone like Link, earning Mimo’s respect is more than enough.
6. Flight-by-Fowl – Twilight Princess
Who needs a paraglider when you can fly the old-fashioned way?
Gliding on cuccos has been a staple of 3D Zelda games since Ocarina of Time, but it wasn’t until Twilight Princess that we got a proper, challenging course to test our skill.
In Falbi’s Flight-by-Fowl, you get a remarkably strong cucco to carry you down from a cliff overlooking Lake Hylia down to the Isle of Riches, where you can find different chests containing rewards such as a Piece of Heart.
On the way down, you’ll see several rupee-shaped targets you can fly through to earn points, which you can redeem at Falbi’s for monetary prizes.
If you don’t find getting paid to fly hanging on to a fat bird exciting, you need to reconnect with your inner child.
5. Boom Bam Golf – Breath of the Wild
There are few things more fun to humans than hitting a ball really hard and watching it fly away – whether it’s with their feet, a baseball bat, or a golf club.
Boom Bam Golf takes things a step further by letting you hit a giant golf ball – dimples and all – with anything in your hero’s arsenal.
From the Master Sword to a Savage Lynel Crusher, any weapon can be a golf club if you’re brave enough.
There’s something incredibly satisfying about watching the ball soar above the Tanagar Canyon Course after a well-aimed swing. It’s unlikely you’ll achieve a hole-in-one without cheating, but you’ll have a ton of fun trying.
4. Goron Race – Majora’s Mask
Racing is one of those things that translates perfectly to the gaming realm – and the Zelda franchise has seen its fair share of races.
One of my favorites happens at the Mountain Village inhabited by Gorons in Majora’s Mask after you’ve defeated Goht at Snowhead Temple and dispelled its eternal winter.
Gorons can roll themselves into balls quite easily. In fact, that’s Link’s primary skill with the Goron Mask – and what he needs to do to participate in the Goron Race.
It doesn’t get any more ridiculous than watching a dozen Goron rolling chaotically down a hill.
3. Sled Race – Twilight Princess
A slightly more civilized downhill racing event occurs at Snowpeak Top in Twilight Princess after rescuing adorable snow monster Yeta from the Mirror of Twilight’s corruption.
The first time you go down the course, you’re only thinking about reaching Snowpeak Ruins – but once that’s solved, you can come back to have fun with your newfound Yeti friends.
Ride well enough, and you might earn yourself a Piece of Heart, and the respect of the Yeti.
You can think of this mini-game as the ancient ancestor of shield surfing in Breath of the Wild.
2. Salvatore’s Sinking Ships – Wind Waker
Mini-games aren’t just about the complexity of the gameplay or how good the rewards are: it’s about the experience.
A prime example is Salvatore’s Sinking Ships, which remains one of the most entertaining parts of Wind Waker despite being an evident Battleship clone.
This guy puts on a whole performance to get you hyped, playing some characters to give you the backstory, and even doing the sound effects when you fire a cannonball.
I can almost hear him going “kaboom” and “sploosh” if I close my eyes.
Those were the times!
1. Fishing – Twilight Princess
I know I already listed Fishing as the #9 best Zelda mini-game, but that was Link’s Awakening 2D fishing.
The #1 spot goes to the 3D version of this classic past-time.
First seen in Ocarina of Time, this version of the fishing mini-game is about relaxation. Sure, catching fish is important, but so is taking in the sights and enjoying the tranquility of the pond.
Twilight Princess features the best version of this mini-game.
Rowing through Lake Hylia is a beautiful experience.
And Hena – the girl who owns the boat and comes fishing with you – is prime waifu material.