Mother 3 (also unofficially referred to as EarthBound 2) is a 2006 role-playing video game in the Mother series, developed by Brownie Brown and HAL Laboratory, and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance. The game, which is the final entry in the series, was directed by Nobuyuki Inoue, written by series creator Shigesato Itoi, and scored by composer Shogo Sakai. The story follows Lucas, a young boy with psychic abilities, and a party of characters as they attempt to prevent a mysterious invading army from corrupting and destroying the world.
The game’s development spanned twelve years and four consoles, beginning in 1994 for the Super Famicom console and then transitioning to the Nintendo 64 and its 64DD add-on before being cancelled in 2000. Mother 3restarted development in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance and was finally released in Japan on April 20, 2006.
Mother 3 was a critical and commercial success upon release. Critics generally praised the game’s graphics, music, and story, but believed that the gameplay offered few innovations to the role-playing genre. The game was never released outside Japan, though an unofficial English fan translation was released by the Starmen.net internet community in October 2008. On December 17, 2015, the game was released for the Japanese Virtual Console on the Wii U. Since then, the game has achieved a recognition comparable to Earthbound, becoming a cult classic.
Mother 3 is a single-player role playing video game similar to previous games in the Mother series. The player controls a party of playable characters who explore the game’s two-dimensional fictional world, primarily shown from a top-down perspective. While navigating the overworld, the player may converse with non-player characters, obtain items, or encounter enemies. Winning battles against enemies awards experience points to the party, which is required for leveling up. Leveling up a character permanently enhances its individual attributes such as maximum hit points (HP), power points (PP), offense, and defense. Weapons, armor, or accessories can be equipped on a character to increase certain attributes. The player can restore their characters’ HP and PP or heal various status ailments by visiting hot springs which are abundant in the game world, and the player can save the game by talking to frogs. Currency is introduced in the later half of the game as Dragon Points (DP), earned by winning battles and used to purchase items. The player can deposit or withdraw DP from frogs.
In a battle sequence, the player can perform combo attacks by repeatedly striking to the beat of the background music
Mother 3 retains the turn-based battle system featured in EarthBound. When the player comes into contact with an enemy in the overworld, the game transitions to a battle screen. Battles are viewed from a first-person perspective, showing the enemies against a distorted, animated background. The player can assign each character in their party to perform an action, such as attacking an enemy or using items to restore HP or PP. Some characters can utilize psychic-based abilities referred to as PSI, which includes stronger attacks and healing abilities, and require PP to execute. Like EarthBound, combat uses a “rolling health” system: when one of the player’s characters is injured, its HP will gradually “roll” down, similar to an odometer, rather than immediately decremented. This allows a mortally wounded character to perform actions like attacking or healing themselves, as long as the player acts quickly enough. If a character loses all HP, it will become unconscious and cannot participate unless revived by another character. The player loses a battle if all characters become unconscious; the player will then be given the option to continue play from the nearest save point, but with half the DP on their person