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Tips for Buying EarthBound

September 24th, 2013 | EarthBound, Images

A reader recently sent this in from across the Atlantic Ocean:

Hi Mato!

So in the UK we have a magazine called ONM which is basically Nintendo Power, just British. Anyway, the newest issue has a review of the Wii U Earthbound release!
(I apologize for the bad quality of the image; I don’t have a scanner.)

And here’s a look at it:

(Update: I’ve put up a new, better scan courtesy of Sebastian)


(Click for full size)

It’s kind of hard to make out most of the text, but it at least looks like the game got a score of 90 out of (I assume) 100.

One of the cons the review gets is that you need to grind sometimes… I can only recall needing to level up before Frank and maybe Peaceful Rest Valley. Are there any other places that are notorious grinding spots for first-time players?

One of the pros listed is “Fresh and exciting battle system”. I’m actually surprised to hear that, because it’s usually dismissed as old and bland by reviewers, especially nowadays.

Still, it’s really cool to see reviewers / first-time players enjoying this old game so much. I hope it’s done well on the Wii U everywhere!


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20 Comments to ONM EarthBound Re-release Review

The World Is Square said on Sep. 24, 2013

Game mechanics seem to cycle from “bland and overused” to “refreshingly retro” pretty regularly. Or perhaps the reviewers just haven’t played a lot of older games?

I always found myself grinding with Jeff in Winters quite a bit. I was paranoid that a Gruff Goat was going to trample me into oblivion.

Prayer For Safety said on Sep. 24, 2013

Pretty nice review from what I was able to read. I remember level grinding before the final “Your Sanctuary” boss.

Xi said on Sep. 24, 2013

I seem to recall Peaceful Rest Valley/Lilliput Steps as being rough. An odd review nonetheless, as Earthbound is a far cry from other grind-heavy games of the era, such as the SNES Final Fantasies, or 7th Saga.

Erikku8 said on Sep. 24, 2013

In the battle system’s defense, its simplicity is quite nice since there’s no tutorials or overly complex novelty mechanics involved. But to each one his own.

Woofo said on Sep. 24, 2013

When I was little I used to have to grind quite a bit in EarthBound to accommodate my lack of understanding of the game and genre. These days, I know all the enemy weaknesses and best equipment and so barely have to do so at all. I’d expect other people have similar experiences.

On the battle system, honestly Mother 3’s amazing battle system spoiled me and now I can’t enjoy EarthBound’s quite as much, haha. At least it’s pretty straightforward.

Vince94 said on Sep. 24, 2013


I definitely agree with Xi about Final Fantasy III/VI being waaaay more grindy. I’ve always been extremely underleveled on the Floating Continent.

kenisu said on Sep. 24, 2013

I always have at least a little trouble with Lilliput Steps, since Paula is so under-leveled there and I’m always determined to make sure she survives the Mondo Mole.

Of course, I could just go through the cave before rescuing Paula, but somehow it feels more “right” to me for the two of them to go through the cave together, and I hate to break tradition 😀

LakituAl said on Sep. 24, 2013

Well, I bet with ‘refreshing’ they mean the rolling HP meter. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other game with such a mechanic (if somebody has, please do tell me! :D)

As for grinding, I only ever had trouble going through the whole “Threed>Saturn Valley>Factory and back” trek without a bit of grinding. And then again, after I made it a habit to do the T-Rex bat challenge, that is not an issue anymore. XDD

Nick said on Sep. 24, 2013

The problem for me was always over leveling making the game to easy.

Esper said on Sep. 24, 2013

What’s great about EB is that you never have to grind. Sure there will be some tough spots if you don’t and you’ll probably die sometimes, but as long as you’re depositing your money, you’re always making progress. It’s a very fun difficulty level, I feel.

Mac said on Sep. 24, 2013

I agree with Mato the only spot where a new player would grid is before frank but other than that I never felt I had to grid as long as you have the right equipment. But then again a new player might not get all the equipment like mr. Baseballcap

BusterTheFox said on Sep. 25, 2013

I had to do some grinding during the Fourside Dept. Store. For whatever reason I had a VERY hard time during that part. I guess I relied a ton on Paula’s PSI moves to kill everyone ASAP while not caring about PP. xD Then I would just Pray and hope I got it back! Heh. Call me crazy, everyone else seems to not like that command, but I love it. Any ill effects it has on my characters it has on the enemy too, after all. It makes Paula good for something after her PP has run out other than bashing for hardly any damage. She can heal the party by little bits, sometimes restoring large amounts, sometimes restoring PP, other times reviving dead allies (and enemies too, that’s probably the biggest downfall of Pray…). Anyway, I’m getting off-track.

I really like the game’s battle system, it’s half of what makes me love the game in general. I like how even if you take enough damage to go down, you still have a little window of time to get something done about it before it’s too late. Either bash like crazy without thinking or have everyone guard and make your healer try to save the patient. Or sometimes when you get knocked into really low amounts of HP, if you play quickly enough, you can get in a turn or two of attacks, taking a few more hits, before healing. It really adds a different layer of strategy to the game that I quite enjoy.

Chivi-chivik said on Sep. 25, 2013

I never had to level grind the first time I played it, but the second time I had to level up before Franky’s battle and when I had to go to Milky Well.

And I really love the battle system: the HP rolling meter is great if you want to heal before it reaches 0 😀

Nicho said on Sep. 25, 2013

In the blue box of the review, it says it may not have much of a cultural ‘catch'[?] as Final Fantasy, but is very unique. I don’t want to start a war, just a discussion. Which do you guys think is more cultural? Final Fantasy [which I sadly have not played an installment of yet] or Earthbound?

Mato said on Sep. 25, 2013

It seemed to me it was simply saying that it wasn’t as well-known or as popular as the Final Fantasy games back in the day. Which I’d definitely agree with.

misterdigi35 said on Sep. 25, 2013

If I don’t care how high my level is when completing the game I will almost always grind before Stonehenge.

Refat17 said on Sep. 25, 2013

I didn’t have much trobule in the Frank battle because I got tons of smashes in that battle. It seemed like as the game went smashes were harder to get. Is that how it was suppose to work?

DJMankiewicz said on Sep. 25, 2013

The actual combat system really is pretty typical. What keeps it from getting old is the magical personality that radiates from the various abilities you get and the assortment of flavor text accompanying every enemy in the game (not to mention all that unique battle music).

However, getting into combat was very unique at the time (and still isn’t replicated nearly enough). I still love how encounters aren’t random, you can gain initiative or lose it based on how you encounter the enemy, and eventually get so strong you don’t need to worry about “mindlessly hitting A” to work through fights you’d easily win anyway (the instant win system).

John said on Sep. 26, 2013

Never really grinded much the first time I played Earthbound but learned what it was due to playing FF6 first. Were two of my first console rpgs and having somehow gotten pretty far in 6 without knowing what grinding was til I saved at a certain spot and was stuck dying, that helped me realized I needed to fight at least more often in Earthbound while I was playing. Later rpgs I played I started grinding way to much lol.

Anonymous said on Oct. 9, 2013

I also got in ONM twice in a row, second one on facebook. And they print facebook profile pics, and I decided to make my one an edit of Ness sprite to look like yours truly. So you also have at the bottom of the Facebook part of the Connect page my slightly creepy EB looking smile. I promise I won’t burn your house down.


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