Mother is a RPG for the NES, a very strange one at that. Rather being set in a fantasy filled world or a futuristic sci-fi setting it’s set in what was then considered to be modern day America (1990s). Its a story of a boy with special psychic powers. The story is pretty basic considering its a NES RPG but its probably one of the more story focused games on the NES. You find your self having to fill in the story your self alot , like an entire town is filled with children, they talk bout how they missed their parents, well you have to assume something happened to all the parents and sure enough you find later on what happened to them but no one really tells you, you just see it and you understand. For its time Mother had a pretty good story, but if your looking for a game with a deep and engaging story, your looking at the wrong game…and wrong console.
Like many RPGs of its time, Mother uses a Turn based combat system. You gain levels to progress through and collect 8 melodies. These melodies are hidden throughout the world. The game forces you to talk to NPCs to find out where these melodies are or if your lucky just happen to stumble upon them. Talking to NPCs is also where alot of the games charm comes in. You run into lots of random and strange conversations with people. This strange humor flows into the rest of the game, such as fighting hippies or out of control cars. It really helps you push forward through the game, always wondering what kind of enemy your going to be fighting next.
The game play is pretty solid but it can get quite repetitive, But like most RPGs the difficulty is brutal. One moment you will be killing enemies in one hit, the next moment it will be vise versa. Thankfully death doesn’t punish you too much and you are allowed a “continue” feature. When you use this you just get a small deduction to the money your carrying and restart at your last save point with all of your EXP and items intact. The game features a very unique menu system too, instead of just clicking A to talk to some one or look at something you open a menu that gives you different options, this gives you a lot of options of what you can do with different people and objects. Although it doenst feel completly fleshed out and feels like more could have been done with it.
The Graphics are pretty typical for a NES RPG, Combat wise Final Fantasy has better combat graphics with different effects for multiple spells and attacks, but Mother is pretty basic. It takes a dragon quest style first person perspective and spells are represented by making the screen flash like their trying to give some one a seizure. The over world is actually a pretty nice looking for a NES game. Nothing ground breaking but it looks pretty good. Also worth mentioning is the over world is incredibly large, it seems massive compared to other games I’ve played. There are a lot of reused sprites with just different color variations. The sound effects are simple but get the job done. The Music how ever is really well done and really put some feeling into the game and gives some chilling moments in some of the more serious moments in the game.
Mother has a pretty decent length,clocking in at around 20-30 hours which could be extended much longer if you grind. After that, like most RPGs theres not much to push you to play through the story again unless you just want to revisit the quirkiness of the game. Other wise once you finish it, it will probably be shelfed.
Overall Mother was a satisfying experience, and while its quite old and feels a bit outdated, due to the fact it came out in on the NES, it has a strange charm to it that makes you pretty happy about playing through it. Considering the game is free for download online I highly recommend it, if you plan on purchasing Mother for the NES before playing an emulator I cant recommend paying over 30$ for the first mother. Your probably better of importing Mother 1+2 which will give you both titles.