Variation of the Self-Imposed Challenge
. The goal is to complete the game while collecting as few extraneous items as possible.
Often overlaps with a straight Speedrun
, but not always. Sometimes it's quicker for a Speedrunner to do some judicious Level Grinding
or go out of his way to pick up a Game-Breaker
— sacrifice a little efficiency in the short-term to pick up a lot of time later. A player on a Minimalist Run
will never do that. If he doesn't need it, in the strictest sense of the word, he skips it.
Sometimes called a "low%" or "0%" run, but not to be confused with a Low Level Run
(though in some games it's possible to do both). Contrast with 100% Completion
. Compare Instant-Win Condition
. See also Minimalism
- The Metroid series.
- Zero Mission can be completed with only 9% with the only combat upgrades being the Ice Beam, Plasma Beam, and a single pack of Missiles. Some of the ending pictures can only even be accomplished by beating the game with completion under 15%.
- It's possible to beat Fusion with as few as 1% of the collectibles. A "0% run" is also technically possible, but requires superhuman timing and precision and for a long time was considered impossible without tool assistance.
- Metroid: Other M enforces a no item expansion run in Hard Mode, keeping the player locked at 99 energy and 10 missiles. It also removes the Last Chance Hit Point mechanic, and prevents you from facing the True Final Boss.
- In Super Metroid, it is possible for a human to beat the game with only 14% of the items, dictated in part by the amount of damage that must be done to Mother Brain's first form with only missiles. Two variations exist, one involving the Ice Beam and the other involving the Speed Booster, but the Ice Beam route is the easier to execute by a human. Tool-assisted speedrunners, however, have knocked down the completion rate to 2%, completing the game in a mere 2 minutes (by the in-game timer) by corrupting the game's memory and executing arbitrary code to make the game skip to the ending.
- Most games in the The Legend of Zelda franchise allow players to skip Heart Containers, allowing for challenging three-heart runs. Conversely, the first game can be completed without picking up the sword, except for the final boss. Expanding on that, Breath of the Wild allows players to skip everything after the Great Plateau and just go straight to the final boss.
- The bare minimum items it is possible to complete Ocarina of Time with is just three: The bottle (to do a glitched warp to the final Ganon fight), either the Deku Shield or the Megaton Hammer (the hammer allows you to skip the "2-3-1" room at the bottom of the Deku Tree, which is currently the only needed use of the shield in-game), and either the Deku Stick or the Kokiri Sword (the stick can be used to skip Mido, who requires you to get the sword and shield before he lets you on the path to the Deku Tree). It involves some intense use of glitches, but it is possible. If you happen to get really lucky with cartridge-tilting mechanics, it's theoretically possible to skip the Deku Shield/Megaton Hammer as well, going in with only a bottle, a Deku Stick, and your wits.
- Cave Story can be completed with only 3 weapons and 3 HP. This means that damn near everything one-hit kills you, and you don't have much to use in killing them back.
- It's also possible to complete the game with 2 weapons and 3 HP, but this involves picking up an upgrade that merges two of the three weapons and in some ways makes a "true" Minimalist Run easier. (The weapon, for those who haven't played the game, is the Snake, a weapon that can shoot through walls.)
- In Freelancer completing the game using your starting ship.
- Doom has the "Tyson" speedrun category, which allows using only the fist, chainsaw and pistol.
- Most Roguelike games (notable Roguelikes: NetHack, Angband, ADOM, Moria, and the original Rogue) have variations called "challenge games" in which a player imposes limitations on himself. For example, in NetHack, one such challenge game is to complete the game without ever eating any food; in ADOM, one might try to complete the game without ever picking up more than the essential "quest artifacts". When you consider that Roguelike games, for the most part, do not allow you to restore from a save file after you die, those who complete challenge games are usually both very good and very obsessed. In NetHack, the challenges (called 'conducts') you stick to are recorded by the game and included in the character dump at the end, whereas in Angband and its thousand variants, challenge modes (such as Ironman, where you cannot use up stairs, as well as others to make monsters smarter) could be set in options.
- In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, the only way to aquire the blue gem is to beat the game's first level without destroying a single crate. This was surprisingly tricky to many players, given the fact that there's an impassable chest-high wall past the halfway point of the level (the trick is to jump on the bouncy crate, which doesn't break with the first jump).
- This is occasionally done as a Meta Game in World of Warcraft. 'Nude Runs' consist of players leveling normally but without the use of any equipment aside from innate abilities.
- An similar example is a Hogger raid, an unusually strong but ultimately low-level enemy encountered very early in the game, where large amounts of extremely low level players gang up on him in a kind of false raid.
- Also done with the game's Pv P, there have been instances of people going out and deliberately getting the poorest-possible gear before heading into Battlegrounds to test their skill or the power of the class (considering that this gear inevitably has no stats other than an incredibly minimal amount of armor or some very low damage on weapons, against people usually wearing equipment designed to combat other players, this can get a bit embarrassing... to both sides, depending on how they do)
- Resident Evil 4 gave rise to the minimum shots fired challenge, all-grenade challenge, handgun and knife challenge, and no merchant challenge. Combining the last two results in the handgun and knife no merchant challenge, in which the player must complete the game using only the combat knife and unupgraded basic handgun; in this challenge, boss fights can take upwards of two hours each. Interestingly, the Final Boss seems to have been specifically designed to be beatable using only the handgun and knife.
- At the end of each chapter the player's accuracy and kills are tracked by the game. This has led to both 100% and 0% accuracy runs, along with minimum and maximum kills.
- It is very well possible to play all of Dead Space using only the starting weapon, the Plasma Cutter. This leaves more than enough power nodes that you'll pick up along the way (they'll be right on the main path most of the time) to fully upgrade that one weapon and your suit, plus you will likely earn enough credits to buy all of the suit upgrades from the stores.
- It's beyond possible, it's encouraged: there's an Achievement for it. In fact, it's actually easier to use only the starting gun on the highest difficulty, to allow you to concentrate all upgrades on it and your armor.
- Fallout games lend themselves well to this as long as you stick to the main questline rather than Take Your Time.
- Fallout 3 is especially good for this because you can outright skip much of the main storyline if you know where to go, and it is possible to only fight one battle in the game.
- Final Fantasy X may have the king of this trope: the NSGNSNCNONENNENBB Challenge. If you were wondering, that stands for No Sphere Grid, No Summons, No Customization, No Overdrives, No Escape, No No Encounters, No Blitzball. Basically all you can do is equip weapons and armour you find in its natural state, attack with anything the character started with, and use items. Needless to say, Rikku is the key to this challenge with her Steal ability.
- There's another challenge that replaces No Overdrives (NO) with No Items (NI). Neither have been completed.
- In X-COM: UFO Defense, it is possible to beat the game by doing a single mission besides the final one. Attacking a battleship on the ground and capturing the aliens inside can provide all the research and materials needed to unlock the final mission. All you can do to keep from being fired is shoot down UFOs and researching alien technology. You will end up horrifically underfunded, underweaponed, and on the brink of being fired, but it is very possible.
- In the original Diablo game, this was played to the extreme by Beyond Naked Mages. Players looking for extra challenge not only would ignore beneficial items, but would actively seek out cursed and damaged items which lowered the player's stats.
- Iji lets you upgrade no stats except health on its hardest difficulty—and since upgrading skills is necessary before you can acquire any new weapons, you are effectively limited to the puny starting shotgun, the resonance detonator, and the kick—but since your strength is also locked at one, the kick and the detonator will only affect turrets and weak doors (and the detonator is basically a longer-range kick), so you're really left with only the shotgun. You are still handed a resonance reflector right before the final boss that you can actually use so that you can damage him.
- The true Minimalist Run on Iji is to upgrade no stats at all, not even health. Normal difficulty is recommended for this one.
- Luigi's Mansion keeps track of how much money you earn; at the end of the game, you get a mansion whose size depends on how much money you have, becoming higher quality the more you have. The minimalist run aims to get Ending H (where your total money is between 5,000G to 4,999,999G), in which Luigi ends up with a tent. This is even harder to obtain than the best mansion, as you deliberately have to avoid collecting any kind of money other than the one treasure Luigi automatically collects (King Boo's Crown, worth 5,000G) to get it.
- A variant exists in some Castlevania games, where players go through while refraining from using weapons or armor.
- Ace Combat games allow you to go through them with only the starting plane.
- Shadow Complex features two different levels of this challenge - there is an Achivement for finishing the game with 13% or fewer items, and a 'Master Challenge' for only collecting four percent - which doesn't include a gun.
- Despite being a newer game, Batman: Arkham Asylum is already building challenges, starting from things like no detective vision (meaning you have to be much much more observant), to no upgrades during the main game.
- Any Super Mario Bros. game (SMB 1, Lost Levels, SMB 3, SMW, SML, New SMB, New SMB Wii, etc.): No power suits. Still too easy? No mushrooms.
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. It's possible to beat most levels in the game with a grand score of zero — a challenge which is much harder than finishing with 100%. This is only possible in the GBA Updated Re-release, however; in the original, your health (which is part of your score) regenerates between hitting the exit and and the level actually ending.
- Most of the Mario games have "ascetic" runs, where you can't touch any coins or gain any points during a stage. (Points that you gain for completing a level are excluded.) A Super Mario World hack that enforces this rule (instantly killing you if you break it) is also available.
- Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils can be completed with 12% items. This foregoes every ability except for stopping time for about 1 second. This includes wonderful things like turning to the right. <15% (one additional item allowed) is required for an achievement.
- There's at least one Let's Play of someone trying this in Mass Effect 2: not doing any of the character-specific sidequests (or any sidequests at all) and just going through the main game. Tragedy ensues.
- It's possible to play various Grand Theft Auto games equipped with only one weapon at a time.
- In Aquaria, it is possible to explore The Abyss without gaining the Sun Form (which gives you light) first. It might be even possible to reach the final boss without gaining the sun form at all.
- A lot of the items in The Oregon Trail II are completely useless except for trading or making your wagon tip over.
- In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it's possible to go through the game without using items that restore health or energy or Praxis points (how you activate augments). It's also possible to complete it without using any weapons, using tricks to defeat the mandatory bosses: the first boss can be killed by throwing barrels at him, the second can be killed by items brought into the boss area with you, the third by using a takedown at the right time, and the fourth by entering a code and waiting for the boss to die. This allows what one called an "Absolute Zero run".
- The Missing Link DLC has an achievement for not using any weapons, explosives, or Praxis Kits throughout the entire add-on; your only means of offense are takedowns. Since the boss is Burke (who can be defeated with a takedown) and several of his men, a no-weapon playthrough is possible.
- BioShock Infinite has, as a slight variation, an achievement for completing 1999 Mode (an insanely difficult variation of gameplay) while purchasing nothing from any vending machines - everything must be scavenged from the surrounding environment.
- Shovel Knight has the achievement "True Shovelry" for completing the game without buying any of the relics, which are various forms of ranged attacks and utility items. There is also "Penny Pincher" for not buying anything, but the difficulty is mitigated since it can be gained in New Game+ after buying everything in the first playthrough.
- Giga Wing 2 as well as spinoff Mars Matrix start the player off with a score multiplier of 0, which is raised by picking up gold items. By never collecting a single one of those, it is possible to do a non-pacifist playthrough while maintaining a score of 0 points, despite the games focusing on reaching scores that would easily break any conventional calculator.
- Ratchet & Clank has some variations, ranging from No armor, no bought items except for those that are necessary to proceed (and sometimes, not even them). A very interesting one is the "No Clank run" in the second game; This however requires a lot of game- and sequence breaking.
- Rabi-Ribi has achievements for skipping out on items, including skipping the Piko Hammer you get early on, and for never picking up a single non-consumable item, and will recognize a "Low Item %" run if you go long enough into one. This is made possible with hidden techniques that you are unlikely to discover by chance, one boss battle being tweaked so that the boss automatically loses all of their HP in seconds (as said boss becomes your partner and only source of non-melee damage afterwards), and the game altering some areas to accomodate your reduced mobility.
- Tales of Symphonia actually has multiple titles unlocked by eschewing certain items completely until a certain point in the game. Specifically, Lloyd's "Eternal Apprentice" title requires you to keep his starting weapon equipped until after defeating Kilia (which is admittedly still fairly early in the game), while Genis's "I Hate Gels!" title requires you to avoid using Gels (the basic HP/MP restoration items) until meeting Pronyma for the first time at Fooji Mountains (considerably later than the Kilia battle.)