Minigames are the backbone of the Yakuza series, offering a reprieve from the crime-heavy stories and giving players a glimpse into Japanese nightlife. The side-content could double the playtime for many fans, and are sometimes even more enjoyable than the main gameplay itself. Here are 5 of the best minigames that a Yakuza game can’t be without.
5. Cabaret Club
The Cabaret Clubs have always been a common minigame for that Yakuza series, being introduced in the very first title for the PS2. Initially, the minigame started as a simple dating simulator. It wasn’t anything too special at the time and frankly, I wouldn’t have considered it a good minigame. Fortunately, that all changed when the minigame was changed for Yakuza 0.
The Cabaret Club in Yakuza 0 changed quite a bit from the previous entries. Rather than going on dates, you’re running a Cabaret business. There’s a bit of a strange charm in dressing up hostess girls and giving them pointers on handling customers. Overall, it captures the tone of Japanese nightlife despite being different from the beat-em-ups fans are familiar with.
It’s a shame that this version of the Cabaret Club was short-lived. Afterward, it was only used in Yakuza Kiwami 2. It manages to spice up the original game for those who got tired of the same old dating simulator. Hopefully, we could see it return in some way for future games.
4. Pocket Circuit
Pocket Circuit Racing is another minigame introduced in Yakuza 0. Players can customize toy cars to race on various tracks and beat the competition. It’s a simple minigame but can be very addictive to those that enjoy the trial and effort in making the best toy cars. Not to mention, it also has a charming and hilarious side story with the content.
The minigame isn’t for everyone, but it’s still pretty hilarious to see the tough Kazuma Kiryu become so invested in a children’s game. It’s one of the many mundane events in Yakuza that the series somehow makes it more excited with its presentation. You could feel the pain on Kiryu’s face when he loses a race.
3. Taxi Racing/Dragon Kart
Continuing the racing trend, Yakuza has two more racing minigames for players to enjoy in the series. Taxi Racing is a Yakuza 5 exclusive minigame where Kazuma Kiryu finds himself dragged into street races. It’s a ridiculous premise, but makes for a crazy fun minigame. A nice change of pace from the regular taxi missions that force you to drive carefully. The Eurobeat tracks are also a treat to listen to.
Although the gameplay of taxi racing isn’t perfect and doesn’t have the best controls, it’s still enjoyable enough for casual fans. The minigame was easily one of Yakuza‘s best side content. While it’s unlikely that we’ll get the minigame back, we at least have Dragon Kart that was introduced in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. It’s Mario Kart with a Yakuza flair.
Anyone who is remotely similar to Yakuza knows of the Disco minigame through the countless memes posted online. It made its first and only appearance in Yakuza 0 and is one of the most popular minigames in the series. When you’re not laughing at the absurdity of the tough and grizzled Yakuza dancing, you’re enjoying the 80s-inspired soundtracks. All-in-all, it’s the best representative of the time period that Yakuza 0 was trying to emulate.
The gameplay itself is similar to the various rhythm minigames of the series. It can be a bit tricky to learn how to master the timing but fortunately, it becomes easier the more you play. The only true downside of this minigame is that we will never be able to bust some moves on the dance floor in later entires.
After its introduction in Yakuza 3, karaoke has become a staple of the series. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most popular minigames in Yakuza and I just can’t see the games without it now. Many new fans of the series were pulled in by the memes of Yakuza karaoke songs. When many people think about the games, they most likely refer to the karaoke minigame most of the time.
Just like disco, karaoke follows a rhythm game format. It’s simple and easy to play compared to the others being one of the more accessible minigames. There are also wonderful songs that manage to reflect the games’ story with every new song they introduce. Love it or hate it, it’s clear that karaoke will never die in future entries of the series.
Want to know more about Yakuza‘s Karaoke songs? Check out this article that ranks the Top 7 Karaoke songs in the Yakuza series. What is your favorite Yakuza minigame? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!