Mother 3 is the sequel to EarthBound. The story starts off with Lucas and his brother. On their way from their grandfather’s, a mystery enemy called the Pigmask Army starts the forest on fire. In search of his wife and sons, the father, named by players, finds his wife dead. The story follows the exploits of other individuals, forming a bigger narrative as the game progresses until it focuses back on Lucas. It’s a quirky tale with oddball characters, great dialogue, and plenty of bizarre intrigue along the way. It’s a fun, silly adventure for all ages.
The gameplay is very similar to EarthBound. Roam around the map, or dungeon, and confront monsters with weapons and spells. In fact, there’s not much new to the battle system aside from some new items and differing skills per character. There is, however, an emphasis on timing your hits correctly, thus issuing musical like critical hits. Unfortunately, it’s not explained well enough in order to grasp any of it. That aside, it’s fun for a RPG thanks to the colorful roster of monsters from chimeras to the dim witted Pigmask Army themselves.
This game is dripping with a colorful pallet, creating a brilliant art design that pixel art rarely sees. From the forest, haunted castles, desert areas, and cities, Mother 3 is gorgeous still today. EarthBound shares this same brilliance so it’s good to see the tradition carry on. The one thing that did improve in this sequel is the music. EarthBound had only a handful of songs that stuck out to me, but this soundtrack is brilliant, from start to finish. While it may be a bit linear for some RPG fans, this 20-hour adventure is just the right amount of length for this bite-sized adventure.
Mother 3 has sadly not been localized. Though with EarthBound finally on the horizon for the Wii U’s Virtual Console, it’s possible this game may see the light of day. For now, there’s a brilliant fan translation out there and it’s well worth your time even if it means emulating. There’s a reason fans love the Mother series so much: the characters, art, and heart behind it all. It’s a love song to RPGs along with keeping your friends and family close. I can think of no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on May 12, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.