Bayonetta and its sequel were perhaps better known for their loading screens than the credits sequences. When loading into each major area and chapter within the game, it would grant you a short period of time where you can practice your combos.
It's a great way to learn new combinations, as the button prompts would be displayed on the right of the screen, so you can try each one out in real-time — no pressing pause and accessing a 'combo list' here!
This was more of a fun little distraction rather than a full minigame, but the brief loading screens within Wave Race: Blue Storm would contain a moveable water bubble thingamabob that creates some pretty awesome ripple effects as it skims over the water. It's one of those gameplay elements that you simple have to play around with, just purely for the fact that it's there.
Like Wave Race, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's loading screens included a fun minor interactive element to distract players from the load times (which, if you remember from back in the day, were looooong). Here, the game would display one of the many different characters or objects found within the world, and you can zoom in and rotate the model to your heart's content.
There's also a bit of accompanying text to explain what you're looking at, but we reckon everyone was too busy moving the models around to notice.
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Let's be honest, this one could be applied to most of the Assassin's Creed titles in the franchise, but we're just big fans of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The loading screens for Assassin's Creed games can be lengthy at the best of times, so what better way to pass the time than to hang out in a virtual space and just... run. In circles, no less!
There's no goal here, no incentive to do anything, but it's a great little way of retaining the core gameplay and admiring the animation during loading screens.
Yeah, we know what you're thinking; FIFA 22 for Switch included in a 'best of' list? You've lost it, Nintendo Life. Sure, while the Switch version itself is an embarrassment that's not worth the price of admission, the FIFA games in general do a lovely job of masking loading screens by letting you practice random drills or set-pieces. Better yet, once the game loads, you're given the option to carry on practicing should you wish to do so.
It's a nice little way of warming up before a match and brush up on some skills.
Hideki Kamiya's Okami contained a pretty neat little minigame during loading screens that would actually grant you with bonus Demon Fangs for the main game. The standard minigame involved pressing 'A' in time with the paw prints appearing on-screen, which would then grow in size upon the next round. The other variant would contain a blank screen, simply requiring you to mash 'A' 50 times to fill the screen with paw prints. It's a simple but effective use of the loading time.
While this was missing from the Wii port, it was brought back for the HD Switch version.
No More Heroes for the Wii was known for its weird and wacky presentation and gameplay. This extended to its loading screens too, as these would involve pressing 'B' to effectively 'bounce' a small star logo up the screen.
Every time it loops back round to the bottom of the screen, it will change colour, but if you cease pressing 'B', then the logo will fall back down to its original position.
A fun little distraction that apparently didn't work quite so well when the game was ported over to Switch, with the star stuttering to the point where it almost ruins the minigame itself. It was fun while it lasted, at least!
Splatoon's loading screens, which contains the delightful minigame Squid Jump, aren't technically loading screens. If they were, Namco probably would've had a great deal to say about it, as Splatoon came out several months before Namco's patent was due to expire.
Rather, this section of the game was dedicated to players joining online matches; the time required for this gave Nintendo the perfect opportunity to pop a fun little minigame in there that gamers can play on the Wii U GamePad. Neat idea, and a game we missed when playing the sequel.
So that's it! No doubt there will be some that we've missed, so if you have a favourite minigame or interactive element during credits or loading screens, let us know in the comments.