A Deep Dive Into Every No More Heroes Minigame

Back in December of 2022 I released an article where I reviewed each and every single minigame in Sega’s critically acclaimed Like a Dragon franchise. I had an absolute blast of a time writing that piece as it allowed me to revisit a franchise I love and look at it through a different lens. As such, I have decided to start a new series of articles here on The Story Arc where I play through all the minigames in various franchises and review them.

Throughout this series of articles I will be using the same definition of minigame that the Like a Dragon article forced upon me. Any type of gameplay that is completely divorced from the main combat or exploration of the game and has a ‘win’ condition shall be considered a minigame. The only type of gameplay exempt from this rule shall be collectibles scattered across a game’s map.

With that very simple and very loose rule established, what game franchise will I be reviewing the minigames of first? Like a Dragon is known for having some of the best minigames in gaming, so why don’t I instead cover a game franchise I love that is known for having some of the most annoying minigames in gaming: No More Heroes!

Because No More Heroes 1 required players to pay a hefty entry fee between each boss fight and even more money if players wanted to buy every beam katana, these minigames have gained a reputation as roadblocks that killed the pace of the game. Their reputation was so negative that the entry fee mechanic was removed from No More Heroes 2 entirely.

But is that reputation truly deserved? The internet treats these minigames like they’re the devil, but you’ll notice that the complaints I just listed are directed at the roadblock they serve and not the content of the minigames themselves. Which is why I’m going to spend what will probably be far too many words reviewing them! I’ll be obtaining the gold medal in these minigames without worrying about money grinding and maybe we’ll find out these minigames aren’t as bad as the fandom makes them out to be!

With all of that preamble out of the, let’s finally begin reviewing these minigames!

Coconut Collector

Appearances: NMH1, NMH2

The very first minigame that No More Heroes 1 introduces to its players has Travis drive down to the beach of Santa Destroy to collect coconuts for a local juice stand owner to make a delicious drink for the populace. You’re only given a three minute time limit though, so make haste and grab those coconuts!

In order to collect coconuts the player must run over to one of the main trees near the juice stand and press the Y button to knock them loose. Most trees have at least one coconut, with some having up to three of the fruit. Not every tree has coconuts though, so make sure you aim your camera to check before you run up to a tree with no coconuts.

One quirk about this minigame that I didn’t learn until I began writing this article is that if Travis is standing below a coconut as he knocks it out of the tree, it will land on his head and cause him to enter a comedic stunned state for several seconds. Funny for sure, but time is ticking and we need to deliver that coconut!

Once the coconuts have been knocked down the player must then begin to carry them back one at a time. Yes, even if you knocked down multiple coconuts Travis can only pick up a single one, you’ll have to come back for the other later. While carrying the coconut back you can also mash the A button to give Travis a small speed boost.

That’s everything you need to know about this minigame. It’s extremely basic. It takes quite a few seconds to deliver each coconut but the game doesn’t expect you to deliver many as the gold medal only requires you to deliver 10 of them. During my best run I was able to deliver 13 to the stand.

The payout for this minigame is almost nonexistent sadly, with Travis only being paid 2,000LB per coconut delivered, meaning players will only average a payout of about 20,000 per run. Making this minigame just not worth replaying as nearly every other minigame and assassination minigame will give players a greater reward. Because of this and the bland gameplay, No More Heroes’ first minigame is sadly not good at all. First impressions are everything and I don’t doubt this minigame being boring contributed greatly to the game’s minigame reputation.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle would end up bringing back a large number of No More Heroes 1’s minigame concepts, but changed them in a drastic way. While all of No More Heroes 1’s minigames had the player control Travis doing mundane tasks with the same models and controls as the main game, in contrast all minigames in No More Heroes 2 are parodies of classic Arcade games.

Coconut Collector (Renamed to Coconut Grabber in here) in No More Heroes 2 is a side scroller where the player must once again run up to trees and mash the Y button to knock down their juicy fruit. However unlike the first game you won’t be picking them up to deliver to a stand, now you must deposit them into a basket hanging on Travis’ back.

Now the player must position Travis underneath a coconut as it falls so that it lands perfectly in his basket. If a coconut lands on the ground means that you can no longer collect it and must move on. Thankfully the player isn’t required to collect every coconut as they simply need to get to the end of the stage within the time limit to progress. You should collect every one you can though as each coconut gives you cash.

This isn’t as simple as it sounds though, as the coconuts will fly to a seemingly random location in the sky after you kick them out of the tree, so make sure your finger is on the dash button so you can rush Travis over to them. The stun mechanic from No More Heroes 1 returns here but in a much more brutal way. Because Travis’ head is right next to the basket, every time he gets stunned I have to live with the knowledge that I only failed by a few pixels and should have moved him slightly more.

Later stages of the minigame will introduce bee enemies that will stun Travis for a few seconds if he runs into them, making collecting coconuts in these stages that much harder as they’ll often hang out around the trees as you kick them. So for these stages I often ran past any tree that had too many bees by it.

Allegedly there is a money bonus if you can gather every coconut in a single stage, but in my many many attempts while writing this article I have never managed to do that. It truly feels like the hit boxes on these coconuts are too large, even when they’re right above the basket they’ll often hit Travis’ head instead. While this isn’t the worst No More Heroes 2 minigame, it’s certainly one of the more frustrating.

While the Coconut Collector minigame didn’t reappear in No More Heroes 3, its spirit does live on through one the game’s collectibles: plantable trees that Travis climbs to earn WESN points. You may doubt that these palm trees are a reference to this minigame from one, but as we continue this article you’ll find that they are far from the only No More Heroes 1 minigame reference in 3 so I doubt it was a coincidence.

Overall, Coconut Collector isn’t one of the franchise’s stand out minigames but it’s inoffensive. I think I prefer the minigame as it was in 1 compared to 2 though. The charm of having such a mundane task as walking coconuts over to a juice stand being a replayable minigame is too charming for me to not smile at least a little at.


Appearances: NMH1

It seems like every franchise that has a lot of minigames includes a Baseball themed one at some point and No More Heroes 1 jumped on that train immediately. Unlike most No More Heroes 1 minigames you won’t first unlock this one by going to the job center for work, instead you’ll first encounter the minigame while playing through the game’s second stage.

The premise of this minigame is as simple as they come. A huge line of baseball players is standing in front of you ready to throw their projectile of choice. Travis, being the good sport that he is, decides to play along and bat these balls back at him. The player merely has to press the A button. Three balls will be thrown toward the player and each one you hit back will be blown directly through a baseball player, killing them and getting you money. How many baseball players you kill with a single ball depends on your timing when hitting the ball, with it hitting more players if you timed your swing perfectly. Each baseball player you kill will net you extra cash.

Because this is the only No More Heroes 1 minigame that involves murder, the player must go to Killer Entertainment headquarters if they ever wish to replay it. As the game progresses, Killer Entertainment will constantly add updated versions of this minigame that give a higher cash payout per baseball player killed.

Not that any of that matters to me though, because I suck at this minigame. I can ace through baseball in nearly any other video game but for some reason here I can never hit the ball correctly! More often than not I can only knock down a single baseball player at a time. So even when the payouts become huge I can never earn enough money to make this minigame feel worth replaying. If you are really good at timing your swings though, then maybe try out the end game versions of this minigame.

Lawn Mowing

Appearances: NMH1, NMH3

Alright, here we go! I don’t know if this is a shared experience in the fandom but I heavily associate No More Heroes 1 with its Lawn Mowing minigame. I remember seeing screenshots, videos, and complaints about it years before I actually played the game myself. It is the definitive No More Heroes 1 minigame in more ways than one. Not only does it have the reputation I just stated, but I also feel like turning a task as mundane as mowing a lawn into a minigame is the best idea for the “mundane jobs as minigames” concept No More Heroes 1 goes for.

The controls for mowing the lawn are very simple, just hold down the A button so Travis pushes the lawn mower forward and change his direction with the analog stick. If you end up getting stuck you can use the B button to slowly back up and reorient yourself. There’s also a special turn if you hold down the left trigger, but I found this to be next to useless compared to just using the analog stick as this special turn is in such a wide arc.

You’ll have two minutes to mow as much of the lawn as possible, for every acre of grass you cut you’ll earn 300LB. The lawn is 100 acres large and if you play well you’ll cut down about 90 acres each attempt, netting you about 28,000LB. Which is a decent bit of cash for the early period of the game when you unlock this minigame, but sadly not enough to make it worth replaying

Despite this minigame’s negative reputation it is probably my favorite No More Heroes 1 minigame. As we continue this article you’ll notice that most No More Heroes 1 minigames can be summed up as running to an object and then pressing whichever button the game tells you to. Lawn Mowing in comparison plays completely different from anything else in the game and although it lasts only two minutes it honestly feels like a memorable part of the No More Heroes experience. I feel like that’s why this is the minigame most players remember from this game.

They actually brought Lawn Mowing back in No More Heroes 3 over a decade later, which gives me a convenient segue to talk about how No More Heroes 3 handles the returning entry fee mechanic from the first game. While No More Heroes 3 does require players to pay a large amount of money before they can fight the next boss, you would be forgiven for forgetting that it does. The actual amount of money the game wants you to pay is extremely low, to the point where the only time I didn’t immediately have enough money to go to the next boss was the very first entry fee. Which conveniently enough, is early enough to play No More Heroes 3’s version of the Lawn Mowing minigame

Lawn Mowing in No More Heroes 3 controls significantly smoother than it did in the first game, a natural result of gaming progressing over the past decade. The minigame has also been expanded greatly. To start things off, the number of lawns to mow in this game has multiplied from one to six. The first lawn you mow is empty of obstacles like the first game, but every other stage of this minigame has large rocks that you must maneuver around to cut all of the grass.

These rocks are easy to go around when you’re moving at walking speed, but unlike the first game you can actually make Travis dash around the lawn at high speeds. If you dash for too long though or accidentally touch a rock the lawnmower will malfunction and you’ll be unable to move for a few seconds, wasting your time.

These small changes elevate the No More Heroes 3 minigame from a simple relaxing distraction to a legitimately fun minigame that I wouldn’t mind replaying on occasion. Even a decade later, Lawn Mowing remains a stand out part of the No More Heroes experience.

Garbage Collection

Appearances: NMH1, NMH3

The next No More Heroes 1 minigame players will unlock at the Job Center is the noblest and least praised of professions: trash collection. It’s time to pay your service to the community and keep Santa Destroy beautiful by running around and collecting various pieces of trash people have carelessly tossed on the ground.

I feel like I’m getting repetitive describing No More Heroes 1’s minigames as simple, but its the most apt descriptor for this minigame. All the player has to do is dash on over to the various cans and candy bar wrappers scattered on the ground and press the A button and then flick their analog stick upward to collect them. That’s all there is to this one.

The player will be given two minutes to pick up as much trash as they can, there’s an absolute plethora of trash on the ground so despite the two minute time limit the player can easily pick up about 50 pieces of trash if they dash around fast enough. Just be careful not to kick the cans out of your range as you dash, every second counts here. The payout for this minigame is 1,000LB per each piece of trash picked up, meaning that you should come out with about 50,000LB per run of this minigame. Which for the point of the game where it unlocks is a pretty decent bit of cash.

Because of this minigame’s simplicity, it’s no surprise that it got a complete overhaul when it returned in No More Heroes 3. While the basic concept of pressing the A button to pick up trash remains, the location of the minigame has been shifted, causing a domino effect of other gameplay changes. Instead of picking up trash on the street you shall be pulling it out of small bodies of water.

You’ll once again be tasked with picking up all of the trash the game spawns, but there’s actually obstacles standing in your way this time. They take the form of alligators that have made this water their home, if you step too close to their air bubbles they’ll attempt to eat you in a QTE event. Thankfully Travis can easily fend them off with a good old suplex.

The simple addition of this obstacle and making the player actively find the trash in the water makes this minigame feel much more fleshed out than it did in No More Heroes 1. Unfortunately I can only compliment about half the stages in this version of the minigame though. The other half are much worse.

One of No More Heroes 3’s open worlds, Call of Battle, puts a screen filter over the gameplay meant to resemble a CRT television. This filter is fine for ordinary gameplay and the other minigame available in this part of the world, but it makes this minigame near impossible to beat! I cannot see where any of the trash is when this CRT is applied, causing me to simply walk around aimlessly hoping that I come across a piece of trash.

If it weren’t for three of this minigame’s stages taking place in Call of Battle, I’d easily say this minigame is better than how it was in No More Heroes 1, but because of these three stages I can’t. They were so close to greatness but the gimmick killed it.

Gas Stand

Appearances: NMH1

The next minigame on our list is another underapperianced position in the service industry: gas station attendants. Thankfully No More Heroes’ minigames exist to give appreciation to this mundane jobs.

During this minigame the player is unable to move, Travis will sternly stand in place until his three minute shift is over. All the player has to do is wait until cars pull up to the Luchaco gas startion and then hold in the B button to begin pumping them full of gas.

While puming the gas, a meter will appear on the right side of the screen with a yellow arrow indicating exactly how much gas the customer wants. Once the meter has reached the yellow arrow the player must let go of the B button and let the customer go. Make sure you hit the arrow before letting go, as while the minigame is okay with you above the arrow, if you are even a pixel below it the minigame will consider that a failure and not pay you for that car.

Be absolutely sure you avoid filling the meter all the way though, if you do Travis will burst to flames and you won’t be paid a cent for that car. This can be extremely difficult at times because some customers, cops in particular, will demand their car be full of gas right up to the top of the meter. This combined with the slight delay between you letting go of the B button and Travis actually stopping inevitably leads to the player bursting to flames.

At the end of an optimal run of this minigame the player will have filled about 25 cars of gas. With a payout rate of 2,000LB per car you should walk away about 50,000LB richer. A payout that is identical to the Garbage Collection minigame despite this minigamd taking both longer to do as well as having a higher chance for failure. Making this minigame just not worth playing for money purposes.

Despite that however, I actually think this is one of the better minigames in No More Heroes 1. It doesn’t require you to do much, but it’s a fun novelty and the image of this brutal assassin bursting to flames for no reason is always funny. I wish this minigame got the No More Heroes 3 minigame treatment as I could imagine that game’s style of minigames making this truly fun.

Mine Sweeper

Appearances: NMH1

Mine Sweeper, despite its name, doesn’t require you to play the classic game Minesweeper but rather has you sweep around Body Slam Beach looking for mines that were left laying around after Travis’ duel against Holly Summer in the 6th UAA Ranking Match. The premise of this minigame has you walking slowly around the beach following the beeping of Travis’ metal detector. The closer you are to a mine, the fast its beeps will become.

Once Travis is standing directly in front of a mine the game will give the player a prompt to press the A button, which will cause Travis to stab his katana into the ground and . While that may sound easy, it does genuinely take a lot of practice and luck to get a good score at this minigame. Because the exact area the player needs to be standing is very precise it is very easy to just completely miss the mine if you are walking too fast. Patience is the key here, walk slowly and get a feel for how close the mines are in relation to the beeping.

Despite coming later in the game than the previous jobs, the payout for Mine Sweeper is significantly lower! You will receive 2,000LB for each mine you defuse. On my very best run of the minigame I was able to defuse 20 of them, netting me a profit of only 40,000LB. This is much less than both the Garbage Collection minigame and the Gas Stand minigame in addition to this minigame just not being very fun.

I personally consider this to be one of the worst minigames in No More Heroes 1 as walking around the beach listening to the beeping is pretty boring, plus there is a lot of RNG involved in the spawning of the mines. If two happen to spawn close to each other you can end up not knowing where to go because the metal detector will give you mixed signals. Overall, I just don’t like it.

Graffiti Cleaning

Appearances: NMH1

Next up we have another sanitation industry job; Graffiti Cleaning! This is significantly less respectable of a job than normal trash collection but it pays more so I guess we have no choice but to do it. The premise of this minigame has the player dash around the alleys of Santa Destroy to clean up any art on the walls of our fine city.

Once the player has run up to some graffiti, they must press the A button and then shake the left and right analog sticks the direction the game wants so that Travis wipes his mop across the graffiti, making it vanish. After the graffiti is cleaned up the player must then quickly dash to the next piece of art that must be erased. You only have three minutes to complete this and every second counts

There are ten pieces of graffiti the player must clean within the time limit if they want the gold medal, they often spawn pretty far apart too so the time limit is actually pretty strict for this minigame. Make sure you hold that dash button as much as possible and try your best to avoid running into dead ends or fences off areas. If you play well you should be able to win with about thirty seconds to spare.

I have a bone to pick with how this minigame is designed. After starting that minigame and having the rules explained, the player is spawned directly in front of the one piece of graffiti in the city that they cannot clean because it is just set dressing and not part of the minigame. Every time I play this minigame I instinctively run toward it and end up wasting my time. It feels like a beginner’s trap but I fall for it every time.

The payout for this minigame is also one of the worst in the game. You will recieve 2,000LB for every piece of graffiti you clean, giving you a total of 20,000 if you pay perfectly. That is the same amount that coconut collecting, the very first minigame, paid out. At this point in the game there are not only a large amount of minigames that pay more but also every single assassination mission you will have unlocked by this point will pay more. There is no reason to ever replay this minigame.

Because of all of this, it’s not surprising that no other game in the franchise even references this minigame. Let’s just move on to something better.

Meow Meow

Appearances: NMH1

Up next we’ve got what is easily the most adorable minigame in No More Heroes: Meow Meow. This minigame has Travis run around a suburban area of Santa Destroy picking up stray cats like the good person he is.

Once the player dashes on over to a cat and presses the A button, they’ll need to get the cat’s attention by waving a foxtail in front of its face. The game will give you various prompts about which direction to flick the right analog stick in to do this. Once the cat has successfully been enticed by the foxtail simply press whichever button the game then states to pick it up. Be careful not to press the wrong button though! If you do you’ll scare the cat and it’ll run away from you at the speed of sound, wasting your precious time!

Like the previous few minigames you’ll be given a three minute time limit to pick up as many cats as possible. Unlike the graffiti minigame though there is an infinite number of cats that keep spawning in if you collect them fast enough. On a good run of this minigame I can pick up about 12 cats before running out of time.

At this point in the article it isn’t really worth discussing the pay outs of each minigame because the player will have unlocked assassination missions which can pay upwards of 100,000LB, but since I have discussed the payouts up to this point I may as well continue that trend here.

The pay out for this minigame is 3,000LB per cat, leading to an average profit of about 30,000 per run. Which isn’t a lot of money, but I would argue the true reward here is hearing Travis say “meow” every time he picks up a cat.

While this minigame never returned in lager entries, it did live on spiritually in No More Heroes 3 where one of the game’s many collectibles was stray cats hidden around the game’s five cities. Allowing players to once again pick up these beautiful creatures.

Scorpion Extermination

Appearances: NMH1, NMH2

Being a city right alongside the border between Carlifornia and Mexico, Santa Destroy has a huge scorpion problem. These little pests are crawling around everywhere that isn’t made of concrete. As such, Travis and the player must take on the role of pest exterminators to lower that number.

In order to do this, you must dash towards the various scorpions hiding throughout the fields on the outskirts of the city, press the A button, and then flick your analog stick upward to shove them into the trash basket that Travis has on his back. Make sure you flick that analog stick up fast because the scorpions will run out of your range if you don’t.

This is the only minigame in No More Heroes 1 that has an instant fail condition, if you end up stepping on a scorpion it will sting you and begin a countdown between twenty and thirty seconds long. The player must run back to the area where the minigame started to get themselves a poison antidote before time runs out. If they fail, the minigame will instantly end and they’ll earn no money whatsoever.

The timer makes this minigame absolutely brutal until you get used to stopping right before you step on a scorpion. The minigame lasts only three minutes and the time you may spend poisoned eats into that time a lot if you screw up. Often I will attempt to pick up a scorpion while the death timer is ticking down and end up losing because I underestimated how much time that actually takes.

RNG needs to be in your favor here are well. Unlike the other minigames where you’ll either be put directly in front of you objective or have what you need to run to marked on the map, the scorpions will randomly spawn around this large sandy area. If you’re lucky a huge group of them will spawn together that you can quickly pick up. If you’re unlucky you’ll end up running around hoping to find even a single scorpion on the ground.

Despite this RNG factor though I find this to be one of the best minigames in No More Heroes 1, the possibility of failing does genuinely make it feel more intense and memorable than the other “pick things up” minigames. It helps that the payout for this one is actually worth it. On an optimal run I can pick up about 30 scorpions. At a pay rate of 3,000LB per scorpion this minigame gives a profit of 90,000LB, making this one of few minigames actually worth replaying for the money!

Scorpion Extermination returned in No More Heroes 2, now being renamed to “Stings So Good.” Unlike every other minigame in No More Heroes 2, this one isn’t in an 8-bit style but rather uses the game’s normal gameplay like every No More Heroes 1 minigame. Because of this, it actually plays identically to how it did in the first game, with only a few changes to the minigame itself.

The most noticeable of these changes is that scorpions are significantly more aggressive in No More Heroes 2. Instead of merely stinging you if you step on them, they’ll charge at and sting you if you’re in their line of sight. Meaning that getting lucky enough for a bunch of scorpions to spawn close to each other is now a curse as much as it is a blessing.

Thankfully if you do get stung you won’t have to run all the way back to the starring area as there are now several poison curing stations placed around the minigame. You’ll never be more than a few steps away from one, which is probably why the timer for how long poison takes to kill you has been shrunk. Now you will only have between five and twenty seconds to cure yourself. In addition to this, each curing station can only be used a single time. So don’t get stung too much!

Speaking of the scorpions, there’s now several different types of them crawling around. They’re differentiated based on their color and each type of scorpion is worth a different amount of money. With the common black scorpions being worth only 200LB while the super rare silver scorpions are worth 10,000LB. This added variety makes the minigame feel more fleshed out. Making it one of few returning minigames in No More Heroes 2 that I feel is a definitive upgrade over its counterpart from the first game.

Like several other minigames in No More Heroes 1, the spirit of this one lives on via No More Heroes 3’s collectibles. Scattered throughout that game’s world are a large number of scorpions you can collect and trade for money. Like in No More Heroes 2, these scorpions come in several different colors and will try to sting you if you’re in their line of sight. If they do end up stinging you, Travis will pass out in a reference to Animal Crossing and the scorpion will disappear, requiring you to come back for it later. I think this is an absolutely perfect way to reincorporate the scorpion minigame into No More Heroes 3’s style of gameplay personally.

Bike Jump

Appearances: NMH1

The final job minigame you’ll unlock in No More Heroes 1 involves the bike that you’ve been driving around all game. The No More Heroes 1 motorcycle is well known for not controlling well. As such, it’s time to throw this thing into the ocean.

The player will be given three minutes to drive toward a ramp set up on Santa Destroy’s pier and try to launch themselves as far as possible. The payout will only be 50,000 but at this point its about the experience of doing it, not the money.

Three minutes is an extremely generous time limit, you can easily drive over to the ramp in under a minute. Make sure hit the boost button and flick you analog stick up to wheelie along the way too. Once you get there you’ll instantly watch Travis launch himself off into the great blue sea.

Watching Travis launch himself thousands of yards into the sea is a very funny sight to behold, this sight gets even funnier as he begins to lose height and just clips through the ocean water model, giving you a brief few of below the city. No More Heroes 1 isn’t the most well put together game, but its very charming and wears its heart on its sleeve. I will never play this minigame again but I’m glad it exists.

While this minigame didn’t return in any later entry in the series, No More Heroes 3 did add a ramp to the center of Santa Destroy that you can launch your bike off to quickly travel down a long stretch of road.

Gym Activities

Appearances: NMH1, NMH2

The following five minigames are extremely short and all follow a similar theme, as such I will group them together to avoid potentially repeating myself. In both No More Heroes 1 and 2 the player will have to visit the gym and pay a hefty fee to exercise and increase their stats, with each minigame having its own short minigame that the player must win in order to get said stat increase.

The gym in No More Heroes is run by Thunder Ryu who, despite having an unfunny joke about telling Travis to remove his clothes, is a pretty cool and memorable character in the world of No More Heroes. He offers three different training exercises to the player. Dumbbell lifting to increase their beam katana combo, bench pressing to increase your attack strength, and squats to increase your maximum health. Let’s now go over these minigames one by one.

Starting off with the Dumbbell minigame, here the player must alternate between flicking the left analog stick and right analog stick to make Travis lift his arms and the dumbbells he’s holding thirty times within thirty seconds. A task that is extremely easy with the current ports of the game.

As you may have noticed though, I have been describing the Switch control scheme for every minigame in this article so far. I have been doing this because that is the method by which I first played the games and the most likely method any new players will engage with the franchise. For these gym minigames though we must pay lip service to the original Wii motion control scheme.

In the Wii version of this minigame to lift the dumbells the player would instead alternate between flicking the wii remote and nunchuck. While this wouldn’t make the minigame harder, it would inevitably tire your arms out similar to a play session of Wii Fit.

The next gym minigame, bench pressing, requires the player to mash the A button to lift up the giant weight over Travis’ chest. It requires quite a few presses to lift it even once and you need to do this ten times within thirty seconds.

Maybe it’s because I am writing this while I am extremely sick, but I found this minigame to be surprisingly hard. I never failed at it but I got extremely close at times, often having only a few seconds remaining. It was without contest the hardest minigame in No More Heroes 1.

The final No More Heroes 1 gym minigame is performing squats. Travis Touchdown may be an out and open hater of Final Fantasy VII, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect the fine exercise of squatting!

To perform a squat the player must flick the left and right analog sticks downward simultaneously. To win this minigame and get that precious stat increase you must do this twenty times within thirty seconds, a task that is very simple. I would be genuinely surprised if anyone failed this minigame in the Switch port of this game.

Like the Dumbbell minigame, this one was also controlled via motion controls in the original Wii version of the game. Players would have to flick both the Wii Remote and Nunchuck to perform a squat there, making this slightly harder as you would be giving your arms a slight workout while playing it. However even with this extra hurdle I doubt anyone has ever failed this minigame.

In No More Heroes 2, Thunder Ryu is replaced with Ryan Yamazaki. Ryan is a significantly less charming character as his existence boils down to one unfunny joke at the expense of gay people. Even more unfortunately, this joke extends into a mechanic in his minigames.

The first of Ryan’s minigames is Strength Training. During this minigame Ryan will throw various dumbbells at you that you’ll need to punch or kick away with the A and B buttons, punching away high ones and kicking the low ones. While doing this Ryan will continuously blow kisses at you that you’ll need to duck under, otherwise Travis will be stunned.

This minigame is infamous in the No More Heroes fan base for being too hard for something required for increasing your stats. It’s hard to disagree with that too since you are practically guaranteed to fail the first round a few times. However, that’s only because this minigame starts on its hardest round. Because there are only a few dumbbells in the first round there is no room for failure, if two of the dumbbells hit you then you’ve already lost. Every other round of the minigame has a high margin of failure and are easier as a result.

Once you get past the hurdle that is the first round, this minigame will be a simple task for the entire rest of the game. I would say that it doesn’t deserve the hate it gets, but then I remember the gay joke and get angry again.

Ryan’s second minigame for Travis to complete is a simple running of the treadmill. If Travis can run on the treadmill for thirty seconds he will get a slight increase to his maximum health. To run on the treadmill the player must continuously hit the left and right shoulder buttons of their controller.

Unlike the first Ryan minigame, I’m not even sure if you can fail this one. The only obstacle here is that he will occasionally switch which direction the treadmill is pushing Travis, requiring the player to turn him around with a flick of the analog stick. Even with these sudden changes though it isn’t hard to keep Travis in the center of the treadmill for the very short amount of time this minigame lasts. I’d call it a free health increase if it weren’t for the fact that you have to pay to play the minigame.

And those were all the gym-based minigames in the No More Heroes franchise! Sadly No More Heroes 3 didn’t feature a gym at all, instead having Travis upgrade his stats at a literal skill tree in his basement. I vastly prefer the gym minigames in No More Heroes 1 than the ones in 2. Putting aside that 2’s arr run by an offensive stereotype, I just prefer how the minigames in 1 imitate wii fitness games in a charming fashion.

Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly

Appearances: NMH1, NMH2

So it goes without saying that Suda51, and by extension Travis Touchdown, is a huge Otaku. As such No More Heroes as a franchise is full of references to various works that he loves from Miike films to Rocky. Travis loves magical girl anime and Gundam so it shouldn’t be a shocker that there is an in-universe anime and minigame that combines the two: Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly. This anime is all over No More Heroes 1 and 2, with Travis’ room being filled with posters and figurines of the characters. He even wears a T-shirt depicting the characters as his default outfit in the first two games.

During the 4th ranked match stage in No More Heroes 1, Travis ends up falling asleep on the train while on his way to the next boss fight, putting players into a one time minigame based on this anime that he loves. Despite these anime girls being a constant premise in No More Heroes 1 and 2, the minigame about this anime instead has you control the mech that these magical girls form: Glastonbury.

This minigame is a Touhou-styled shooter where you press one button to fire projectiles forward at enemies and use another button to swing your sword at oncoming projectile attacks to both protect yourself and generate your special attack meter. Once this gauge is completely charged you’ll be able to unleash your special attack and blow up all enemies on screen.

I would tell you which buttons you press, but unfortunately this is the only minigame in No More Heroes 1 that isn’t replayable and I truly do not want to speed through most of the game yet again just to figure out which buttons you press.

At the end of the stage you’ll spend a few minutes fighting a boss which is likely to be the first enemy that’ll actually hit and destroy you. Don’t worry about losing though, you have infinite continues and will respawn directly where you lost. There’s no penalty for failure so feel free to go head on against this boss. Once it dies Travis will wake up and you’ll be able to continue the actual game.

Sadly this minigame just isn’t enjoyable in No More Heroes 1. Aside from just not having very engaging gameplay, it’s also quite ugly visually and not in a way that is charming like other No More Heroes 1 content. It not being replayable also leads to it being completely forgettable. Thankfully this minigame would get a complete rehaul in No More Heroes 2.

This game’s version of the minigame takes significant visual and gameplay cues from the Touhou franchise. Instead of playing as a singular mech, the player has the ability to choose between five different playable girls to control. All of whom have different movement speeds and projectile types. This change and the fact that the minigame is actually replayable makes is a much more enjoyable experience. My personal favorite to play as is Gooseberry.

The visual presentation of the minigame has also been tremendously improved. Instead of playing on a pure black background surrounded by white boxes, the player is actually flying over a location surrounded by menus that have actual color and good visual design. It may be copying Touhou, but if you successfully copy something good you are bound to get something passable. I’d also like to pay lip service to the new theme song made for the minigame, it’s absolutely wild to hear a Hatsune Miku song in a video game made in 2010.

Sadly not only was this minigame completely absent in No More Heroes 3, but there’s next to no visual references to Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly anywhere in that game outside of Travis’ unlockable outfits from the first two games. Thankfully it’s existence hasn’t been entirely forgotten as Travis still shouts the names of the characters whenever he attacks in 3, but it does feel like we lost an important part of the franchise without it.

Bug Out

Appearances: NMH2

The very first minigame that is wholly unique to No More Heroes 2 is one that involves a task Travis is quite familiar with: extermination. However instead of exterminating meddling assassins, Travis will instead be handling more docile pests that inhabit your home. Equipped with only a vacuum, Travis journeys into a house filled to the brim with these pests to save the day.

In order to complete a stage you must vacuum up every enemy by holding down the A button. Holding it down while near an enemy will suck them in, destroying them if they make contact with the top of the vacuum. Be careful not to try sucking in enemies that are too far away though as Travis does need to take frequent breaks if you are constantly holding the button in, potentially giving the pestts a chance to escape.

There are several types of enemies that will react differently to Travis’ presence in the home. The simplest of these enemies is the humble grasshopper. They will hop along wherever they please and not react to Travis at all, making them super easy to suck up. In contrast to them we have the cowardly mice and aggressive bees. Mice will run away from you if you’re in their sigjt, requiring the player to either corner them or suck them in before they can run away. Bees on the other hand will actively try to attack you and give you a game over if you’re in their line of sight. This sounds scarier than it is though as they will be unable to sting you while you’re sucking them in.

Then we have the biggest pest in Santa Destroy to deal with: scorpions. Yes this is another minigame that deals with these stinging arachnids. Normal red scorpions behave identically to the bees, so just suck them in as you normally would. The gigantic, black scorpions however will require you to first stun them via sucking up and throwing bricks at them before you can vacuum them up.

That’s all there is to this minigame. Deal with these enemies one by one or multiple at a time for a few stages and eventually it will just end. This is honestly my least favorite of the No More Heroes 2 minigames. It’s just unengaging and boring to me.

Lay the Pipe

Appearances: NMH2

In contrast to me finding Bug Out to be boring, I think our next minigame is the best out of No More Heroes 2’s entire catalog: Lay the Pipe! This minigame sees Travis take on the role of a plumber who must lay down a piping system before water spills all over the place.

When spawning into a stage of Lay the Pipe the player will be greeted by a room with two red pipes as well as a huge pile of disconnected green and blue pipes. The goal of the minigame is to connect the red pipes using the other pipes. The play can pick up, move, and rotate the blue pipes but cannot move the green pipes at all.

It’s a very simple premise but I find the entire minigame to be too relaxing from start to finish to care. It’s a very low stakes game as while you do technically have a time limit with the oncoming water, it’s a very generous time limit as said water moves very slowly. In fact, you are constantly extending this time limit with every pipe you lay down.

Points, and therefore money, are distributed based upon how many pipes you used when creating your path and how long you took to create this path. With completions that either use every pipe or create a path in under a minute in a half. My prefered method for playing this minigame is to use every pipe on the first two stages and then focus on completing it as fast as possible for the remaining stages.

There really isn’t much to say about Lay the Pipe, you know everything about it from the moment you start it. It is however one of only two No More Heroes 2 minigames I would regularly replay just for fun, thus I can confidently say it’s the best.

Pizza With a Vengeance

Appearances: NMH2

We’re going to follow up one of the two No More Heroes 2 minigames that I would replay just for fun with the other one that I replayed multiple times: Pizza With a Vengeance. One fact about these 8-bit minigames that I’ve failed to mention up until now is that they are all parodies of already existing 8-bit games or arcade games. Unfortunately, I am not an expert on games from that time period thus I was unable to point out any of the references. This minigame is an exception though. I can recognize a reference to Sega’s Hang-On from a mile away!

Just like Hang-On the goal here is to reach the end of the stage within the time limit. The difference here is that instead of being a tense race, Travis is merely delivering a pizza within thirty minutes or less. An arguably more dangerous task. You’ll have two minutes to get to the end of each of these four stages, good luck.

The obstacles in the path of our poor Pizza delivery man take two forms: cars and oil spills. Oil spills aren’t really an issue, they’ll make your bike wobble a bit but so long as you don’t tilt your analog stick too much like wobbling you’ll be fine. Cars are another story however. Getting hit by an oncoming car will cause Travis to explode and waste a few seconds of your time and set your speed down to 0 MPH. Annoyingly you don’t become invincible while you’re exploding, meaning that another oncoming car can hit you during the animation and restart it, making you lose even more time!

Thankfully to counter these obstacles there are a few speed boosts laid across all four stages. Picking up one of these boosts like in high gear will increase your speed from anywhere between 300 and 500 MPH! You may become uncontrollable and will inevitably hit an oncoming car, but the distance you’ll make while moving that fast will more than make up for it.

Overall a fantastic minigame that properly pays homage to the arcade game it’s parodying while also being fun on its own.

Man the Meat

Appearances: NMH2

I’m shocked that we have gone nearly twenty minigames based around mundane jobs before finally getting to one about the food service industry. In this minigame Travis Touchdown must cook delicious steaks for the ungrateful population of Santa Destroy.

Customers will walk in one by one and inform you how much they want their steak cooked, once they do you need to hold down the A button to begin cooking it. The steak will change color based on how long it’s on the grill, let go of the A button when it looks close enough to the color the customer requested. If you cook the steak well they will compliment you and fill up your satisfaction meter. If you failed they will throw a fork at your face.

If you successfully cooked enough steaks correctly you will be rewarded with moving on to the next stage and getting to continue your food service job. As the minigame goes on each stage will gain more customers to please as well as an added difficulty boost where their order will vanish from the screen after they say it, forcing you to remember it from memory.

Overall, this is a pretty boring minigame that doesn’t have much to talk about. However it is at least one of the funnier minigames in the game due to the very compressed voices as the customers order food as well as the fun animation for when you get an order wrong.

Tile in Style

Appearances: NMH2

Next up we’ve got the only minigame that I probably have less to say about than Man the Meat: Tile in Style. This minigame is a parody of Tetris. Despite that though, it doesn’t play anything like Tetris. Instead of making full lines of blocks as they descend from the sky you instead need to place them all perfectly within a large square.

On the bottom of the screen will be a list of the blocks you are required to place. Select and place them with the A button, rotate them with the X button, and remove them with the Y button if you mess up. Once you place all of the blocks you win!

That is all there is to this minigame. It’s only a single stage long so there is no room for variation as you play it and the entire thing can end in thirty seconds if you’re moderately skilled at puzzle games. Let’s just move on.

Getting Trashed

Appearances: NMH2

In No More Heroes 1, Travis Touchdown successfully cleaned up all the trash from the streets of Santa Destroy. Unfortunately for him, all of that trash was launched into outer space between games. Now this poor Otaku must journey up into the great beyond to clean up space itself.

In order to clean up the trash you must flay Travis’ sprite into it so he picks it up and then fly him back into the spaceship to dispose of it. This may sound easy but of course there’s a catch: you cannot directly control Travis during this minigame. No, instead Travis automatically moves based on where he jet boosters push him, with the player pressing the A button to influence his direction.

Controlling where Travis goes at first is a hard ordeal, it’s going to take you some time to get used to pressing the jet booster button in the right direction at the precise time. Adding on to this tension, you have an air meter during this minigame. Pressing the jet booster button will use up some of your air and the only way to refill it is to return to the ship. Eventually though, you’ll get used to controlling him and expertly getting that trash into the ship. Then the minigame gets harder.

As the minigame goes on it quickly introduces your worst enemy: meteors. These space rocks will scroll across the screen until you finish the stage and if they touch Travis at all he will be sent flying at high speeds in the direction opposite of where he touched the meteor, sending you everywhere on screen except where you want to go. It also takes a significant amount of jet booster button presses to slow down Travis’ momentum in this state, wasting your air meter.

In the worst case scenario, these meteors will smack you downward toward the earth. If Travis gets sucked into the earth’s atmosphere you will be required to mash the jet booster button to break free of its pull, wasting even more of your quickly depleting air supply.

However, the meteors aren’t that big of an issue for the first few stages in which they appear. If you’re skilled enough at using the jet boosters you’ll be able to avoid them. Then the last stage appears. There are so many meteors in the final stage of this minigame that I cannot imagine how anyone could avoid them all. Often I’ll get knocked by one meteor into another with no hope of adjusting Travis’s momentum at all. The final stage of this minigame feels near impossible.

Despite this huge difficulty spike though, I find this to be one of the more fun minigames in No More Heroes 2. Even when I’m failing it feels fun to be launched across the screen and the feeling of actually succeeding is euphoric.

Gacha Capsule Collecting

Appearances: NMH3

Okay so, by all normal definitions of the word “minigame” this shouldn’t count for this article. However, back when I wrote about every minigame in the Like a Dragon franchise I was required to write about gacha capsules because that franchise specifically lists collecting them as a minigame. Thus if I am obeying the same rules as I did in that article for consistency I would need to count gacha capsules in all games as a minigame. Which is going to be unpleasant to say the least because every major game franchise with minigames that I may write articles like this for has had an in-universe gacha capsule machine. So get used to seeing those in these articles.

To unlock the ability to collect capsule toys the player must first complete a side quest where Travis Touchdown accidentally eliminates 2/3rds of the planet earth’s apple pie supply. After doing this the player will receive a key to a new room in the No More Heroes motel in Santa Destroy. Inside this room are three capsule toy machines filled to the brim with figurines.

The first of these capsule machines is the Assassination Gacha, which is filled with figurines of every boss from the previous No More Heroes games. In any other series I would assume this exists only for gameplay as it wouldn’t make sense for it to exist in-universe, but considering how big a role consumerism and how it affects people plays in the franchise I completely believe some company would make figurines of Travis and those he murdered.

This gacha machine is absolutely brutal. With there being thirty three figurines and the game charging you 300UC, the game’s main currency, for every pull you’ll be here for a while. No matter how good your luck is you’re eventually going to be relying on a 1/33 chance to get the final figurine you want and it’s going to be painful. I ended up spending over 200,000UC on this capsule machine over the course of an hour desperately trying to get the last figurine that I needed. To add insult to injury the final figurine I got was Destroyman of all people! Even from the afterlife that man is laughing at me.

The next capsule toy machine is the Alien gacha. This gacha is filled with figurines of the characters of No More Heroes 3, totally a total of twenty four to collect. This machine doesn’t cost UC to play but rather WESN, a resource that you typically use to upgrade your stats at the skill tree. By the time you get to the capsule machines you’ll likely have full upgraded yourself, making this the only thing to spend this resource on. Just like the assassin gacha you’re likely going to be sitting at this one for a long time desperately pulling for the figurine you want, 1/24 may be better odds than 1/33 but it all comes down to your luck at the end of the day.

The final capsule toy machine in the motel is the battle recreation gacha. This machine is filled with figurines showing Travis fighting against a boss from the previous games. It has the lowest figurines of all the machines, containing only 10. The machine costs a hefty 1000UC to do a single pull, but because your chance of getting a new figurine is always 1/10 you won’t be standing at this machine for a long time.

I really don’t know what else I could possibly say about these capsule machines. So let’s just move on.

Toilet Plunging

Appearances: NMH3

One of the most notable features about the No More Heroes franchise has always been its save screen. In every game Travis will walk into a restroom and drop trow whenever the player wants to save the game. It was only a matter of time before the series made a toilet-centric minigame to go along with it.

Because No More Heroes 3 puts a bigger emphasis on its open world than previous games, the player will come across several portable toilets they can save at. There’s an issue though, all of these toilets are out of service! Travis therefore must take on the role of a plumber and unclog them all!

If one wants to unclog a toilet you must first locate where the blockage actually is. To do this, the player must slowly rotate their analog stick along their controller. If they position it at the rig angle they’ll receive a button prompt to begin the unclogging process.

Once the player actually begins to unclog the toilet they’ll have to rapidly shake the analog stick to make Travis unclog that pipe! Upon succeeding at this, you’ll be brought back to the first phase of the minigame to find another clog. Once you’ve cleared all three blockages in the toilet you’ll be ready to actually use it!

Even if this minigame is really simplistic I appreciate its addition a lot. Its existence essentially makes save points another collectible in the world of No More Heroes 3 and I love collectibles like this. In addition, it’s one of few minigames in the series to have an immediate and tangible effect on gameplay other than just giving the player money. Because of that, it’s one of the better minigames in the franchise to me

WESN Mining

Appearances: NMH3

Next up we have the only No More Heroes 3 minigame that I think is bad: WESN Mining. In this minigame Travis gets sent down into the volcanic underground of Santa Destroy to mine and obtain WESN, the currency that is used at the skill tree. This minigame is very similar to many No More Heroes 1 minigames in that it doesn’t play in a unique way but rather has the player control Travis the way they normally would, walking up to objects, and pressing a button to interact with them.

Unlike the minigames of No More Heroes 1 though, the player is not put in front of the objects nor are they marked on your map. Instead you are put into a subterranean maze and required to find five large WESN crystals within a few minute time limit.

The difficulty of this minigame comes from finding all of the crystals as well as the exit within the time limit in addition to some ordinary obstacles that may kill you along the way. These obstacles take the form of enemies that you can easily swat down with your katana and lava spires. The lava will spill along the path you walk and will drain your little health if you walk into it.

Which brings me to the worst part of the minigame. It is entirely possible for the crystals you’re supposed to mine to be placed directly where lava falls onto the map. Meaning that you can be in the middle of the mining animation and take damage from the lava, potentially killing you. This one factor makes the minigame a completely frustrating chore.

Like the other No More Heroes 3 minigames there are multiple stages of this minigame spread across the game’s open world. Unfortunately there isn’t much variation between each stage of the minigame though and each stage has the same lava problem. Making me want to never replay this minigame once I’m done with this article.

Tale to Nose

Appearances: NMH3

Santa Destroy has had an issue with rising crime rates lately, as such the city has asked Travis Touchdown to take care of this problem through the method of vehicular manslaughter.

When beginning a stage of this minigame Travis will immediately begin speeding down the highway on his bike toward the target vehicle. In order to destroy this vehicle you simply need to crash into it and lower its health bar. How many times you’ll need to crash into it depends on the stage, with later stages requiring you to crash into it more.

Your biggest obstacle during this minigame will be actually catching up to the target within the time limit, your bike has a limited boost function that will be inadequate for catching up to the target on its own. However if you crash into and destroy black cars on your way to the target you will get a small refill of your boost function as well as a slight extension to the minigame’s time limit.

If you can successfully destroy the enemy vehicle you will be given a score based on how fast you did it as well as your remaining HP, you lose HP from crashing into walls along the highway so make sure you avoid doing that. You wouldn’t want to lose your gold medal run over a few scrapes, right?

Easily the coolest part of this minigame though is that there is actually a hidden boss fight attached to it. If the player gets a gold medal on all six stages of the minigame and then heads on over to the Thunderdome, there will be a new challenge awaiting them. The brother of Ryuji from No More Heroes 2, Ryuichi, is here to challenge Travis to a duel.

This boss battle plays just like the other stages of the minigame, with the one key difference being the Ryuichi will actually fight against you with a variety of weaponry like bombs and laser beams. This boss fight is honestly a highlight of the No More Heroes 3 experience and I heavily encourage you all to unlock and play it.

Coast Guard

Appearances: NMH3

The harbors of Santa Destroy are under attack! Gigantic alligators are approaching from the sea and the city needs a brave citizen to man the guns and shoot down these invaders!

During this minigame that player will be put into a turret that fires a single powerful shot forward with a press and right trigger. The goal of the minigame is to simply survive for three minutes as the crocodiles approach you. If even a single crocodile reaches your turret, it’s game over.

There are four types of evil crocodiles in this minigame for you to fight. There’s the standard green crocodiles that slowly walk toward you, the red crocodiles turn as they move, the light blue crocodiles that run toward, and the gigantic godzilla-sized crocodiles which take multiple shots to destroy. Out of all these enemies only the light blue crocodiles are an immediate threat. The other three types can be dispatched easily so prioritize taking out the light blue ones.

Enemies will approach you in waves with a one second delay between them appearing and actually walking toward you, giving you some time to strategize and figure out which order you’ll shoot them down in.

Out of all the minigames in No More Heroes 3, this is the one I have the most fun with. Fighting against these alligators and watching my score meter raise higher is both tense and cathartic. It helps that the last few stages of the minigame are difficult in a fair way. Once the game starts giving you waves of the light blue crocodiles mixed in with the occasional red one there’s some legitimate tension and a thread of failure.

However despite this minigame being incredibly fun, something about it just doesn’t feel right to me. Throughout this entire article we have been talking about minigames that take mundane day to day jobs and put a video game spin on them. Now here we are at the final minigame of the article talking about shooting down godzilla-sized crocodiles. While I still love the minigame, it doesn’t feel like it belongs in a No More Heroes game.


And there we have it! Every single minigame in the No More Heroes franchises reviewed! At the end of my Like a Dragon minigame review article I ended things by discussing which game in the franchise had the best side content and which minigame had the worst side content. I would do the same here, but I honestly do not believe that is necessary.

No More Heroes 1’s minigames are all charming, but they flounder in the gameplay department by not having much gameplay at all. No More Heroes 2 by contrast has minigames that all play fine, but they’re almost all forgettable and I struggled to say anything about them.

Then we have No More Heroes 3, a game filled with legitimately fun and well designed minigames that also pays tribute to the games that came before it either via revamping their minigames or turning the focus of those minigames into collectibles in its vast world.

I do not think there should be a No More Heroes 4 as I believe 3 is a perfect ending to the franchise, but if Grasshopper Manufacture were to make another one I would absolutely love if it’s minigames to influence from 3’s.

Thank you all for reading this novel-length article. As I stated back in the beginning I plan to make this a semi-frequent series on The Story Arc. I cannot guarantee how often these articles will release as they all require me to play many games and then write a lot of text, I will try my absolute best to get one out every few months though. Until then, I hope you continue to frequently visit our site.

If you would like to support me and my endeavors to review every minigame under the sun, consider donating to my ko-fi. It’s a lot easier to play games and write about them when I have to worry less about food and water.

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