9 Quirky RPG Games Like EarthBound

Image credit: Nintendo

The EarthBound series, known as Mother in Japan, are cult classic JRPGs loved for their offbeat story and setting. Despite it being years since the last entry, the franchise still has a large fanbase. 

EarthBound’s quirky story and designs give it a very distinct personality. This iconic style has been the source of inspiration for many indie-RPG titles and even fan games set in the same universe. 

What made EarthBound special was its modern setting, with surreal moments mixed in, and goofy tones. This was all done whilst still covering darker topics in the story. It balances the adult themes well with the humor and writing jam-packed full of puns. 

They should honestly call the series Father for all the dad jokes the games have! With this writing combined with the charming visuals and unique JRPG gameplay, it’s no surprise they were so popular! If you’re like me – feeling devastated there hasn’t been a new entry in the series, our list is for you! We cover the best games like EarthBound, and what makes them worth playing!

Undertale

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

If you’re looking for games like EarthBound, this is the best place to start. Undertale draws heavy inspiration from the series. It has a similar offbeat tone and moves away from the traditional RPG design.

The game’s developer, Toby Fox, was actually a huge EarthBound fan, and even worked on several ROM hacks for it. The massive influence this had on Undertale is seen everywhere in the game.

You can see the series’ impact in every aspect, from the visuals to the story. In some ways, it even feels like a spiritual successor to EarthBound – and that’s the highest praise possible.

Undertale is filled with the same, pun-packed humor EarthBound has. For example, two of the major characters are called Sans and Papyrus after the fonts.

This joke runs more than surface deep, too. Their names are also a reference to the typeface their dialogue is shown in, and a reference to a webcomic about a skeleton named after a font!

What really makes Undertale unique and shine apart from EarthBound is its narrative. The story is phenomenal, and also choice-driven.

The game’s story features dozens of different endings, ranging from “genocide” to “pacifist”. You can choose to save the two worlds in the game, or completely destroy everything.

Depending on the characters you spare—or kill, it can trigger different endings. This game’s writing was so phenomenal, that it hit mainstream success and even spawned a sequel, Deltarune.

If you’ve already played Undertale, you should read our list for games like it! There are a few titles on there that might satisfy your quirky EarthBound-sized cravings.

OMORI

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

If you’re looking for games like EarthBound, it’d be surprising if you haven’t heard of OMORI. It’s famous in the series’ community and draws heavily from it.

Without a doubt, one of the best parts of EarthBound was its narrative, and how it covered mature themes. This is echoed in OMORI, and the game masterfully covers mental health.

The writing is superb, and the story is a satisfying slow burner. It tackles the effects of mental illness to depict it in a very real way.

It isn’t all gloom and doom, though! You play as SUNNY during the daytime segments of the game, and OMORI during the night.

You’re accompanied by his three best friends, HERO, AUBREY, and KEL. The three also help during battles, and have their own special abilities if set as the leader of the party.

The cast all have their own distinct personalities, which adds in some more lighthearted, and at times—comedic moments to the serious plot. They’re also extremely likeable and have cute designs.

It does have a combat system inspired by the traditional turn-base design, with its own unique spin. Similarly to EarthBound, enemy encounters are semi-random.

The battle system is in theme with the focus on mental health. A character’s emotions can even change the flow of battle.

OMORI’s world design is also gorgeous and traversing it is so unique, that you have to experience it yourself. It’s indescribable. Visually, the game’s graphics consist of pixels and beautiful hand-drawn art.

NEO: The World Ends With You

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

Looking for games like EarthBound? If you want a more modernized JRPG, then NEO: The World Ends With You is a great option! It features a similar, quirky modern-day setting.

However, instead of a fictionalized town in the United States, you’ll be adventuring a heavily-stylized Shibuya. It also has you up against reapers instead of extraterrestrial aliens!

If you were a huge fan of EarthBound’s story and underlying themes, you’ll find The World Ends With You intriguing. It also covers heavier topics, and has the whole friendship is power aspect.

The biggest change from EarthBound (aside from the move to 3D), is TWEWY features an action-based combat system. It’s extremely fast-paced and can be a big change, but it’s worth it.

Aside from that, it still has your usual levelling systems and special skills in the form of “pins”. Which are collectable badges rewarded from battles, or you can buy them from in-game shops!

TWEWY’s narrative is also more character-driven than EarthBound. You’ll find similar themes of encouraging friendships, and exploring the bond between party members.

Even the non-playable characters in TWEWY are heavily fleshed out. Unlike EarthBound, there’s also a diverse range of side-content to sink your teeth into if you love the world.

If you like the sound of NEO: The World Ends With You, you should read our titles like Kingdom Hearts 3 list! It has other JRPGs that are similar in either setting or combat.

Citizens of Earth

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, and Nintendo 3DS.

Citizens of Earth is a no-brainer recommendation if you want a similar, quirky RPG experience. Just from the screenshots alone, the game screams “EarthBound”!

If you made a mocktail with parts EarthBound and then a dash of Pokémon, this game would be the delicious result. It has EarthBound’s save the world story, along with visuals and humor.

Whilst the gameplay is more akin to the Pokémon games, instead of creatures—you’re the Vice President of the World and recruit other people to battle for you!

From friends to townsfolk and even your family, you can get them all to fight for you! No need to get your hands dirty—this game is basically a simulation for politics.

Jokes aside, there are over 40 people you can capture—we mean convince, to fight for your cause. If you loved EarthBound’s enemy designs, just wait until you see Citizens of Earth.

Citizens of Earth similarly draws from the real world for its foes. You have angry bees, aggressive hippies, and even wackier stuff like hostile toasters!

If you thought EarthBound’s Cranky Lady was bad, just wait until you’re battling Mr. Mocha—a crazed barista!

Coming from EarthBound, you’ll find Citizens of Earth’s gameplay easy to get into. They share similar combat systems, and the game’s overworld is traversed in the same 2D top-down perspective.

Eastward

Available on PC and Nintendo Switch.

When it comes to top-down 2D worlds, Eastward blows away all the competition. The pixel art is absolutely breathtaking. From the characters to the environment, it’s all stunning.

If you want games like EarthBound, you can’t go wrong with playing this. Eastward even pays homage to the series with their game-within-a-game titled “Earth Born”.

Earth Born is a classic-styled JRPG that you can play within the game. Eastward also draws inspiration from Studio Ghibli, Akira, and even Breath of the Wild.

It combines the best of them all to create a beautiful, 16-bit adventure. The game’s world is Hong Kong-inspired, taking place in a post-apocalyptic era with a focus on urban decay.

The world is absolutely gorgeous, every town and street is filled with detail and personality. The story follows the duo John and Sam, providing a The Last Of Us-like dad-daughter dynamic.

The pair are travelling eastward, hence the game’s title, on a train called the Charon. This is where the adventure starts, and you’ll meet a range of vivid and colorful characters.

It’s also where the two get put on the quest to stop Mother, whose ultimate goal is to end humanity. The villain’s name is such an on-the-nose reference to EarthBound.

Combat in Eastward is action-based, and you’ll swap between John and Sam to take down enemies. The monster designs are on par with EarthBound’s level of weird, wacky and slightly scary.

WORLD OF HORROR

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

Tragedy and horror have always been a part of the EarthBound series. Underneath the cute and charming pixel visuals is H.P. Lovecraft level cosmic horror.

Even the sequel, Mother 3, was just as creepy. However, that was more down-to-earth level, focusing more on how humans can be evil and downright atrocious.

If you loved that, then welcome to WORLD OF HORROR. It’s a horror-packed sandwich filled with JRPG gameplay, roguelite elements, Junji Ito-esque art and eldritch gods.

Something WORLD OF HORROR does better than EarthBound is the soundtrack. This is a tough call, but the game’s chiptune music is just so beautiful and haunting—it chills your core.

Visuals-wise, the game is a far cry from EarthBound’s colorful world, but has its own charm. Seeing the disfigured, nightmarish monsters in the 1-bit art style is engrossing.

It also has some of the best writing I’ve ever read. It was co-written by Cassandra Khaw, a famous horror/sci-fi writer, and their skills really shine through.

The combat in WORLD OF HORROR is similar to EarthBound. It features a classic, turn-based battle system. However, you don’t get party members, instead, there are over 10 playable characters.

It also has over 15 different mysteries (levels) to solve, which are randomized every time! Most of them have multiple endings, and the different characters have unique perks to help investigation.

LISA: The Painful

Available on PC.

Turn EarthBound into a side-scrolling game, strip the story of any hope, and you’d end up with LISA: The Painful. Despite its depressing story, it’s quirky and teeming with zany moments.

Instead of a group of starry-eyed kids, you take control of a young boy, Bradley Armstrong, who was abandoned by his mother. The game then fast forwards to a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

This wasteland is devoid of any women, until Bradley—you, come across a baby girl. This is where your quest begins, when the girl is kidnapped, and you’re on a mission to save her!

Just like EarthBound, this game delves into dark and mature themes whilst presenting them in cute, pixelated visuals. The character and monster designs also look similar.

This likeness even extends to the user interface! For example, the chat boxes in LISA look like it’s right out of EarthBound. This isn’t a bad thing, and gives the game a sense of familiarity.

You’ll find LISA’s battle system just as cozy, too. It features your classic JRPG turn-based combat, but there’s also a fun addition of drugs!

Your party can consume drugs, known as Joy, to increase their powers temporarily—but be careful, it causes hard withdrawals.

A feature that sets LISA apart from other EarthBound-inspired titles is that you can choose your party members. There are over 30 different companion options, and they can die… Permanently.

Ikenfell

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Forget Eagleland and get your robes ready to attend a magical school! If you want a title similar to EarthBound, then Ikenfell has your back.

It’s a tactical turn-based RPG that draws heavy inspiration from EarthBound and other titles in the JRPG genre. The world and characters also have that same, cute pixel charm.

Ikenfell story follows a group of magic students, and will take you on a heartwarming ride. It’s also unapologetically queer in the best way.

If you’re a huge fan of EarthBound and part of the LGBTQ+ community, definitely check this out. You play as Maritte Hildegaard, trying to find her missing sister, Safina.

This quest takes you to the magical school of Ikenfell, yes, also the game’s title! Whilst Maritte is initially a muggle—for a lack of better words, she gains powers once she enters the school.

Weird right? This is just the start of the unusual events that begin happening. Bizarre magical-related events begin breaking out, and it’s up to you to solve the mystery.

Where Ikenfell does an amazing job at nailing the retro aesthetic EarthBound offers, it goes a step further with its combat system. It combines strategy elements with classic turn-based battles.

There are a total of 6 characters to choose from for battles, with parties consisting of 3. The combat system has incredible depth, and each character has their own unique powers.

From the amazing representation to the beautiful soundtrack from the Steven Universe composers, Ikenfell is a title I recommend to any EarthBound fans.

OFF

Available on PC.

Before games like Undertale and OMORI, the pathway for EarthBound-like titles was paved by OFF. It takes heavy inspiration from it, along with other huge JRPGs like Final Fantasy.

The game even has its own cult-following, with plenty of fans crossing over from EarthBound. OFF features your standard RPG combat, but what makes it special is the world, story, and tone.

You have your standard level progression, you’ll acquire new party members on your adventure, and even attain new special moves. It has an ATB combat system, so attacks are on a timer.

The story of OFF follows the Batter. He’s just a plain man in a baseball uniform who is on a sacred quest to save the world! This is where it delves into EarthBound levels of weird.

Don’t worry, it just gets more ridiculous from here. In an Alice In Wonderland-like fashion, the Batter’s guide on his “sacred mission” is an eloquent, talking cat.

From funny-looking bird bosses to wacky Lovecraftian-esque ghosts, the monster designs go off the rails. The other characters are just as zany and unusual, too!

OFF is unique and near one of a kind, if it weren’t for EarthBound. If you want more wacky classic JRPG fun with a just as peculiar story, this game is the way to go.

Bonus – MOTHER: Cognitive Dissonance

Available on PC.

The EarthBound/Mother series has always had a huge ROM hack and fan-game community. One of the best titles to ever come from that is MOTHER: Cognitive Dissonance.

If you’re a huge fan of the universe, this is the closest we’ll ever get to a new entry! Cognitive Dissonance is a full-fledged and complete fan title with an all-new cast of characters.

Story-wise, it takes place in-between MOTHER 1 and 2 (EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound). It’s a fan game, but it may as well be canon!

The game features the series’ iconic pixel designs, and even has its own original soundtrack. It’s a must-play if you want more games like EarthBound, and the cast of characters is just as lovable.

Cognitive Dissonance follows a group of aliens whose mission is to keep Gigue away from the Apple of Enlightenment.

The story is compelling, and the gameplay is similar to the original EarthBound games. This makes it perfect to jump straight into, and best of all—it’s also completely free!

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