Ahhh, Key Quest, Neopia's favorite multi-player game! Ask any Key-Quest player this, is winning a game of Key-Quest possible without winning a mini-game or two? More often than not, the answer is no. Think about it, what are the odds you cover the entire board you are playing to get all five keys before your opponent does? Power-ups and random events can help you receive keys far away, but seldom will there be a Key-Quest game where not one mini-game is activated. Anyone can tell you that one extra key is the difference between a win and a loss. I am a firm believer in the statement that mini-games make or break Key-Quest games, and are the difference between a gold key and a silver key. Your start house doesn't matter that much, luck and cleverness with power-ups is important, but nothing is truly as vital as mini-games victories. This article will cover two of the twelve currently active mini-games; considered by some to be the most difficult. First I will cover Orbliteration and then Shenkuu Showers.
As stated before, first up is Orbliteration! Note that the "thing" you are controlling is a Cuttlebot petpet. Like in any mini-game, your Cuttlebot will be the color you chose at the beginning of the game. For this particular mini-game, color doesn't really matter. Your overall goal in the game is get the highest score. You can do this by earning twenty-five points by moving to a blue orb. Five times that amount, 125 points, are awarded by collecting a purple orb. There are also three volcanoes or geysers at the bottom of the screen. They will sporadically erupt, and if their purple "juice" hits you or is close, your Cuttlebot cannot move for a couple seconds! Some might tell you to watch for the patterns of the volcanoes, but I feel it's better to just focus on moving and knowing which purple orbs have been claimed.
Try and keep your clicks to a short distance. Moreover, you should constantly be moving. Remember, moving to five blue orbs is just as good as gaining a purple orb. He (or she) who hesitates is lost! If you don't think there are any new orbs available, just generally move to the center of the screen as you wait for more to appear.
During the game's countdown, look for you location in relation to where there are more purple orbs. If there are more purple orbs on your opponent's side, you'll have to move quickly. Try to "box out" your opponent throughout the game by hopping on blue orbs that are in their path of a group of purple orbs. By the time they go around you, you should have already picked up most of the purple orbs. But beware; don't let your opponent do this to you!
Many newcomers of the game will ask why is it when they click some purple orbs, nothing happens? The answer is what many consider to be the most difficult and irritating part of the game. You can only claim purple orbs that you opponent has yet to click! To avoid wasting time going for an already claimed orb, you have to keep a close eye on your opponent as well. Try to remember the clusters of purple orbs you have already made it to and if possible, towards the end of the game, stay away from your opponent. Old orbs are washed away usually when the volcano erupts. Most importantly, watch for when new purple orbs appear. When a new "batch" is released, go for the ones closest to you and the ones that are especially close to one another. With practice, you should be able to recognize which purple orbs have been claimed and which ones are still available.
Shenkuu Showers is played at a much slower and relaxed pace than Orbliteration. Know that the two petpets in the game are Pandaphants and Naleaps. The objective of this game is to get the highest score by covering more petpets for the longest. Each second or so you cover one petpet, you receive twenty points. Each additional petpet covered each additional second is another twenty points, and so on. The trick to the game is that you can only collect points by covering petpets no one else is protecting.
Notice during the countdown to the game you can see some of the petpets. Hover your mouse over a petpet so that once the game commences, you will quickly start racking up points. I suggest you pick a petpet close to the sides of the game, so that once the petpet gets to end of screen and must turn around; a new petpet will appear there. Basically, whoever can hold on to two petpets the longest wins the game. Notice that the Naleaps move faster than the Pandaphants. If you can, it is best to cover two of the same species. It is also a good idea to "stick and stay." This means, don't be constantly moving around. If you are covering two petpets, cover them until you cannot cover them together. But, if you see a group of three uncovered petpets in close proximity to one another, cover them.
There are three things you should keep a close eye out for. The first woe to worry about is rain clouds. Pink clouds shrink your umbrella, giving you less coverage. This may not be a problem if your petpets are close enough. Black clouds destroy your umbrella completely, and you cannot collect points for about five seconds. If you are covering more petpets than your opponent, they can start to cover your petpets in this time! I suggest you try to avoid the black clouds by giving up your coverage quickly if you think the Black cloud is going to strike your umbrella. The second thing to keep an eye out for is your opponent. If you notice they are about to be struck by the Black cloud and are covering more petpets, go "steal" their cluster. Also, if you notice that their cluster is about to break up, it might be a good idea to stay close so you can pick up their lost petpets. Additionally, your opponent could slip up and let some petpets out of their umbrella. You could sneak up and cover these petpets if there is nothing else available. Finally, watch for falling power-ups.
There are three "power-ups" available throughout Shenkuu Showers. First, the Green Cloud power-up makes your umbrella a silver/steel color. With this power-up, your umbrella cannot be struck by lightning for about ten seconds. Personally, if you are watching the clouds and stepping aside when they are directly over you, this power-up isn't all that important. I would not risk letting your opponents take your petpets while you go off to get this power-up. The second is the Blue Umbrella. This makes your umbrella even bigger for about ten seconds. This is a great power-up if you notice a petpet is about to come close to your cluster of petpets, yet is not all that important. The final power-up is the most important, and can be a real game changer; the Orange Lightning Bolt. Every petpet you cover for ten seconds is worth forty points, instead of twenty. As already discussed, in order to win the game you need to be covering two petpets throughout most of the game. If you can do this with the Orange Lightning Bolt, you can pick up a couple anywhere from 100 extra points to even 300 points you would not have gotten normally. This is a power-up you should go out of your way to get. Do not let you opponent get this power-up. In a close game, even if you are covering two petpets and your opponent is covering three, you can still win with those few extra points. If your opponent is covering more petpets than you AND gets this power-up, it's pretty much game over.
Hopefully, with much practice, you will find yourself dominating these mini-games. Good luck going for the gold!