Nintendo has a tendency to make classic games that generations of gamers come to love for years, and Earthbound is no exception. Originally released in 1995 on the SNES, it’s been re-released on the Wii U for $9.99.
Earthbound takes you on an epic journey where you fight your enemies in a classic and difficult RPG style, with an awesome and retro look and feel that puts a unique spin on the game. You play as the boy Ness, who uses kid-like weapons such as baseball bats and slingshots to strike down his foes throughout his quest. Throughout the game you get better weapons and items, and gain friends to aid you in battle. Though the look of the game is lighthearted, the combat is very unforgiving. You have your basic weapon attacks, but you also get special magic abilities and powers that can help you in a pinch.
Every enemy you face is unique, some being giant slugs and ants, while others being punks on pogo sticks and skateboards. Enemies that are much weaker than you automatically lose the battle when you attack them. Not having to waste time going through weak enemies is great, especially when returning to earlier areas in the game with low level enemies all over. Another cool part of battles in Earthbound is they aren’t triggered randomly like in other RPG’s, instead, you see the enemy on screen and can decide whether to fight or flee.
The health system in Earthbound is clever. Your health is displayed as a number wheel that scrolls down as you lose health. This means if an enemy gives you a fatal blow, you have time while the wheel spins down to try and heal yourself, this makes for intense and heart-pounding battles. Unfortunately, there are so many battles constantly throughout the game, it makes the gameplay very repetitive at times, making you want to quit out of frustration and boredom. The enemies respawn out of thin air off screen, making it difficult to even leave an area without dying. When you die, you appear at the last place you saved, and you lose half of the money you had on you at the time of death, which is a fair deal. Though you die many times throughout the game, the victory is massively satisfying. To top off the game, the soundtrack is beyond awesome. The classic SNES bleeps and bloops, mixed with bizarre and upbeat songs just makes you smile when you hear it, and makes you not want to stop listening.
Overall, Earthbound is just a great game and is very unique. Though the gameplay can get frustrating and repetitive, veteran gamers will have no problems falling in love all over again with this classic.