INTRODUCTION / OPENING PARAGRAPH
Japanese role playing games or JRPG for short, usually can come in many varieties. Usually a JRPG aims to create amazing fictional worlds that leave players surprised at the sheer removal from the normality of life. EarthBound however acts a means to bring surreal to what we consider normal thanks to a story that is set in an almost typical world setting that just transforms into the surreal. Fighting enemies may include annoying old men, cops and cranky ladies. EarthBound might be surreal and the enemies might be laughable, but it’s the very reason that game is loved to those who play the JRPG genre. That is why today we here at Honey’s Anime bring you 6 games like EarthBound.
EarthBound, or sometimes called Mother, has always been a series that has tried to stand above the other JRPG tropes set before it. That being said, when we here at Honey’s Anime began writing this list of games like EarthBound we looked for titles that mirrored that major concept of EarthBound. All of the games we’ve included on this list keep the elements that are similar to a JRPG in some form but have a surreal setting that allows for new gameplay concepts and storytelling to shine through. Our journey led us through political RPGs that had us battling for votes and tales of us taking the role of an unnamed protagonist as they survive in odd landscapes of skeletons and cow like mothers. Games like EarthBound need to have the element of surprising the player in multiple ways and we’re sure we caught titles that do a great job of that. Now then, let us begin our journey towards 6 games like EarthBound.
Similar Games to EarthBound
1. Citizens of Earth
- System/Platform: PS4, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, PS Vita, PC
- Publisher: Atlus
- Developer: Eden Industries
- Release Date: Jan 22, 2015
Citizens of Earth is ironically the perfect place to start our games like EarthBound list thanks to the fact that fans of Citizens of Earth consider it akin to an EarthBound parody. Taking the role of a newly elected Vice President of the Earth, your first day is pretty busy. The President of the Earth has gone missing and several odd events have begun occurring. Thankfully you’re the Vice President of the Earth, you have the ability to recruit people to join your party. Recruit people such as Bakers, conspiracy guys and even your own mom and brother. While this task may be too difficult for your normal man, the Vice President of the Earth is fully capable.
Seriously, the amount of similarities in Citizens of Earth in comparisons to EarthBound are numerous. However, that being said, we don’t mean to say Citizens of Earth isn’t its own game and in many ways might just be more surreal than even EarthBound. Thanks to its interesting characters and story, players will find a lot of enjoyment in every moment of dialogue that occurs in Citizens of Earth. If you’ve played EarthBound, you’ll be greeted to almost the same gameplay mechanics and concepts just ramped up to be in a more modern setting and we can’t say that is a bad thing. Overall, Citizens of Earth is toted to be a parody to EarthBound and we here at Honey’s Anime agree with that line of thought.
Citizens of Earth E3 Trailer (Official Trailer)
2. Chrono Trigger
- System/Platform: Super Nintendo, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android
- Publisher: Square, Square Enix
- Developer: Square
- Release Date: Mar 11, 1995
Crono and his friend Marie are witnessing an amazing event taking place at the Millennial Fair. Lucca and her father have created a new teleporter and wish for Marie to be a volunteer in testing it. However, when an accident occurs it causes Marie to be sent through time causing Crono and Lucca to follow. This leads to a series of events that alter the course of the time line and the only ones able to fix it are Crono and his friends. Journey into a time traveling tale alongside Crono and his party in Chrono Trigger.
Chrono Trigger is a well-known game in the world of JRPGs. Like EarthBound, Chrono Trigger relies a lot on real world ideas infused with surreal story themes and sci-fi ideals. In terms of gameplay, players will take Crono and his group into the usual mechanics of a JRPG such as turn based battles and leveling up party members. The main draw of Chrono Trigger lies in its well-crafted story, characters and art. The art is actually handled by world famous Akira Toriyama known for his work on DragonBall and various other gaming and anime titles. If you have yet to try Chrono Trigger, we highly recommend this classic as it stands for what makes a JRPG so great.
Chrono Trigger Launch Trailer (Official Trailer)
3. Lisa (Lisa: The Painful RPG)
- System/Platform: PC
- Publisher: Dingaling Productions
- Developer: Dingaling Productions
- Release Date: Dec 15, 2014
An event called the White Flash caused all females of the world to be killed off. Brad, our main character, finds that despite the female race being gone, there actually lies one young baby who happens to be a female. Trying to pass her off as a boy by naming her Buddy, Brad sees to it to try to keep Buddy safe from the apocalyptic world. One unfortunate day Buddy is found and kidnapped causing Brad to venture into the destitute world in order to save her. Along the way, Brad will remember his old life before the White Flash showing moments of his past and the issues that have traumatized Brad.
Lisa is a weird game, thus why it’s perfect for our 6 games like EarthBound list. Players traverse the land in a 2D side scrolling experience all while engaging in turn based battles. The concepts that make Lisa so unique is the odd way characters engage in battle and the story itself. Lisa also boasts some very mature themes and create an atmosphere that feels apocalyptic in every detail from the art style to how characters interact with Brad. Lisa is definitely one of those games you have to try to really understand the ability of a developer like Dingaling Productions to take a tried and true genre and alter it so greatly to create a truly unique experience.
Any Games Like EarthBound ?
4. Paper Mario
- System/Platform: Nintendo 64
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Intelligent Systems
- Release Date: Aug 11, 2000
Mario is on a new adventure, though this time he’s a bit flat. In Paper Mario, players assume the role of Mario in a 2D RPG experience. Invited to join Peach in her Castle for a nice party, Mario and Luigi are thrilled to go. However, once again Bowser attempts to shatter another peaceful day in Mushroom Kingdom when he steals not only Peach but also her entire castle. Mario now needs to free seven star spirits in order to gain the ability to stop Bowser and his nefarious plot. Thankfully Mario isn’t alone in this quest as several characters are there to help him in his various battles against Bowser’s evil forces.
Paper Mario is a fun RPG that captures all the elements of an RPG and a Mario game. Players lead Mario and several others like Goombario and Kooper, into battles that are similar to most turn based games but incorporate the Mario theme. Graphically, having Mario in a paper form seems like a risky venue but thankfully Intelligent System and Nintendo remove that fear with an amazing look and feel that Paper Mario has. Paper Mario has been very successful and has had many sequels produced in the same format showing that this style has the fans okay, us here at Honey’s Anime too. That being said though, we feel the very first Paper Mario is truly the best of the series and we highly recommend to play it if you love Mario and are willing to dive into another zany adventure.
- System/Platform: Nintendo DS
- Publisher: Marvelous Entertainment, Atlus (NA), Rising Star Games (PAL)
- Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
- Release Date: Mar 30, 2006
Contact starts with a man named the Professor running from an odd enemy called CosmoNOTs. During his retreat, the Professor ends up crash landing on an odd planet and finding that the energy source for his ship has been scattered upon crashing. The Professor decides to ask Terry, a young boy on his ship, to venture across the planet to find the cells that power his ship helping him and Terry escape back home. However, this planet isn’t friendly and Terry will have to rely on the player, an unseen force, to help him and the Professor if they wish to survive the journey that awaits them.
Contact is a pretty cool RPG that removes a lot of the usual concepts from turn based combat. Players take control of Terry very minimally in combat allowing for a more focus on using abilities and items. Also very different is the way the game levels up where players gain stat points based off the actions that affect Terry such as hitting an opponent and or taking damage. In many ways this is why we love Contact so much and why it earns a spot on this list. Honestly we here at Honey’s Anime highly recommend playing Contact for a great story that takes some interesting twists and turns as well as some cool art that mimics the styling of EarthBound in many ways.
- System/Platform: PC
- Publisher: Toby Fox
- Developer: Toby Fox
- Release Date: Sept 15, 2015
Last but certainly not least, let us look at Undertale the game that has recently set the internet ablaze with discussions and videos about it. In a distant past, the world was ruled over by two factions, humans and monsters. When a war breaks out between the two beings, humans stand victorious and create a barrier to prevent monsters from leaving their underground domain. One day a young boy decides to climb Mount Ebbott for unknown reasons despite the saying that any who climb the mountain never return. When the young boy finally reaches the top he looks down into a large abyss and falls in. What should be the end seems to be just the beginning as the young boy awakens in a strange new place.
Undertale can be described as being one of the best RPGs we here at Honey’s Anime have ever played. Similar to EarthBound, Undertale by Toby Fox shatters the reality of the typical RPG thanks to clever writing, a very different take on in game battles and impressive music. Players will find no two battles are alike as sometimes they can be all about talking to an enemy to calm him or her down, or playing a game that requires avoiding bullets. Undertale also boasts many different endings depending on how players react enemies and characters alike as they play the game allowing for plenty of replay value. Overall, we saved Undertale for last on this because it is truly a spectacular game just like EarthBound is. A clever story, an amazing cast of characters, an art style like EarthBound and multiple endings, what else can we say to convince you to play Undertale?
EarthBound will always stand as a title that at the end of the day you can discuss it with others and still feel like you didn’t say enough. It stands to reason that it’s a game that stays with you years later and you won’t be alone in that mindset. Each of the games on this list aimed to do the same as EarthBound and we’d say from both the discussion boards on the net and from how we here at Honey’s Anime have had plenty of our own talks in regards to some of these games. However, we would love for you folks reading to let us know in the comments section down below some of your favorite titles from this list, or something we should have included. As always we ask of you folks to keep reading our great articles here at Honey’s Anime and stick around for even more lists such as this one.