I played up to Threed. I tried guys, I really did. But I am not seeing why this game is so loved. This game's insanely tedious. I keep getting my ass kicked, and since they let you keep your levels and stuff, I've basically been strong-arming my way through the game. I knew the plot wouldn't be very deep at all, but I still expected something charming. Besides a few funny-looking enemies, and some random one-liners, there's almost nothing here. Each town's plot has been paper-thin, it took waaay too long just to get Paula (and she's level fucking one, wth?), it's usually unclear on what you need to do next, and it feels like there's hardly any strategy to the battles at all. The game really just seems to be famous for the mood whiplash of Giygas and his battle.
Pleeeeaaaase tell me this gets better. Because I've been anticipating finally getting around to playing this for a long time, and I really wanted to love this.
(Nearly?) every boss is susceptible to some status ailments (and in that sense I'd say it's a fair bit more strategic than most of the RPGs from that era). You get to play around with those more by the time you get Jeff. Otherwise, bottle rockets are useful. Consumable items as a whole are really good to have around in EB. Don't worry about conserving magic -- you don't really need to. Magic butterlfies are plentifulish.
It's really not a hard game by any means. And there is an in-game hint system.
The core gameplay in Earthbound's really the exploration side of things, though -- it's a fairly sizable and detailed gameworld.
And no, while the 'mood-whiplash' of the Giygas fight has become memetic, that's not why the game's famous. It's famous for conveying a lot of... I guess emotion, without relying on a heavy textual narrative to do so. There's more to the story than it first seems, but I guess that you could say Earthbound's story isn't an argument but rather a presentation of its own constructed reality, without a strict narrativization of the events within for the purpose of guiding the player to one particular interpretation or them.
But I would suggest against assuming that everything ostensibly funny/silly in the game is strictly humorous.
I think Fourside is when everything really starts to come together, thematically. And also where it starts getting creepy.
I don't even think the Giygas fight is that mood whiplashy. Compared to, I don't know, the start of the game? Sure. Compared to Lumine Hall, and everything thereafter, though? No. Actually Poo's meditation bit is probably the biggest WTF in the game. Moonside or Paula's kidnapping was the earliest.
Also Everdred being a stand-in for Lennon, and that getting taken to its logical end.