Review: Earthbound (SNES)

"I started EarthBound with 2+ years of anticipation under my belt."

by Matt Baugher


For a little over two years I have been a constant listener of the soundtrack to EarthBound (Mother 2 in Japan). I recently got my hands on an SNES classic, a nintendo console that allows you to play 20-something classic games. I had never wanted to complete the game on an emulator and figured I’d wait to play it on a console. With that being said, I started EarthBound with 2+ years of anticipation under my belt.

The game starts off by placing you in your sleepy hometown of Onett. A meteor crashes on your local mountainside and you are left to investigate. The story progresses on to tell the story of how the main character, Ness (You probably know of him from Super Smash Brothers!), overcomes Giygas (a horrifying, shape-shifting alien that embodies evil). You travel from town to town, exploring communities drenched in ironic statements on American culture. You fight enemies with a baseball bat, eat hamburgers, ruin a cult and experience what makes America so strange. Another major theme includes growing up and seeing the world for what it really is. I cannot go into enough detail on the soundtrack and how it perfectly encapsulates the strange mood of the game. The game takes samples from the Beach Boys and John Lennon and twists it into something you’ve never heard before. The game’s soaring melodies and spacey basslines make sure every song stays interesting. I was raised on Pokemon R/B/Y, so a turn based J-RPG fighting style was right up my alley. The game’s visuals pay homage to 1960’s American Psychedelia and are generally astounding. After finishing the game late on a Sunday night, I realized the game had delivered and lived up to expectations. The game’s mood, soundtrack, social commentary, gameplay and boss battles serve to be one of the most complete in gaming history. I would easily call EarthBound the most emotionally striking game I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.

EarthBound: 10/10, certified gold.

Matt Baugher is host to Live from the Citrus Orchards on AROUSE Wednesdays from 7p-8p.