RPG Maker MV / RPGツクールMV Trinity
Developer: KADOKAWA CORPORATION
Publisher: NIS America (Nintendo Switch / PS4)
Release: September 8, 2020 (NA) / September 11, 2020 (EU) / September 18, 2020 (ANZ)
The RPG Maker series has been around for quite some time now, starting back in the early 90s. As the name suggests, this is not technically a game series but more of a game creation tool which makes for quite an interesting review, I’m much more confident in reviewing something with more structure, but please bear with me as I am actually, really enjoying myself with this software!
This may sound redundant, but in case you haven’t figured it out from the name, RPG Maker MV lets you create RPG’s. It’s specifically geared up towards creating JRPG-style games, but you really can create whatever you like. Can you imagine Super Mario Maker but for RPGs? Well, that’s what RPG Maker MV essentially is. I’ve dabbled with RPG Maker on PC over the years but never took time to really get to grips with the systems, after playing around the Nintendo Switch version of RPG Maker MV I can confidently say its defiantly an RPG Maker game alright, everything you need is here, Tiles, Events, you media database letting you customize every single aspect of your game.
Upon launching RPG Maker MV for the first time, you’ll start the tutorial. The tutorial will take you approximately 30 mins from start to finish. In this tutorial, you’ll learn the basics of; placing tiles, creating transitions from one map to another, creating character event’s such as NPC movement and interactive speech, programming enemy stats, and even briefly, touches on uploading and downloading RPG Maker game creations. Now, if all doing all those things sounds laborious, you wouldn’t be wrong, especially coming from someone who has played an RPG Maker game before and although the tutorial is good and quite concise, I do wish there was a way of speeding it up.
On to the creation itself, RPG Maker MV is very intuitive and will teach you the basics of game design through trial and error, no programming needed. It may seem a little overwhelming at first, however, this is a great example of how game logic is created and demonstrates very well how games actually work behind all the fancy graphics and nice GUI’s.
Now, it is worth noting that this is the type of software where having a google tab open on your phone will save you a lot of time and headaches. You see, RPG Maker has a massive community and from what I have experienced, everyone seems very helpful and welcoming to beginners, which makes a change! I see this more as a pro rather then a con, it’s the kind of software that sometimes you just need a little guidance.
RPG Maker MV run’s very well one the Switch, sure there’s the occasional stutter when switching from the editor to a playtest, and sometimes some of the creation menu’s feel a little sluggish, but I also remember this being an issue on the steam version. While playing other people’s creations or playtesting my own scenarios, I never noticed any performance issues in-game. The biggest issue I had with the switch version was the controls. The RPG Maker series benefits heavily from having mouse and keyboard support, being able to click precisely where you want to quickly really does help, that said, within a few hours I was natively navigating the menus with no problems, just something to be aware of, you will get used to it!
At the time of writing this, I’m guessing the servers have only just recently gone live as there are only a few creations to download. This will be remedied once the game reaches retail and more people share their creations online. Heading over to the maker’s forum from the main menu we can see what created games are on offer. From here, it is simple and clicking on the one that sounds most appealing and downloading it to your console. There’s a rating system and some info on who made the game etc.
I’ve been informed that upon release, RPG Maker MV Player, a free application will be available on your console’s store. This will allow others to play your creations even if they don’t own RPG Maker MV. As this is an early review copy, I have not been able to try this out yet but it does sound promising and I guess it would function much like a stripped-down version of the Makers forum!
Before this review turns into a rambling mess, I will give a quick overview of RPG Maker MV’s strengths and weaknesses.
RPG Maker MV is an easy to learn, hard to master creation system which is very rewarding as you slowly get better at game creation.
You need no knowledge of programming and RPG Maker MV will teach you the fundamentals of game design without having to look at boring code.
The portability of RPG Maker MV on the Nintendo Switch is a really interesting feature, being able to edit your game wherever you are is great for some quick-fire creativity.
RPG Maker MV was clearly designed with mouse and keyboard support in mind, although this console version gets around it with its control scheme, it sometimes feels a little clunky. That said, give it a few hours and you’ll be more than used to using the controller.
Performance in some areas can be a little touchy. As I stated earlier, switching between the creation tools and actually playing a game in RPG Maker MV can cause brief freezes and stutters. This is nothing game-breaking, just more of a slight annoyance and something I remember being present in the PC version.
Lack of guidance, although the game’s tutorial does a good job of teaching you the fundamentals, a LOT is left for the player to figure out, most of which is intuitive. Some of this is not intuitive in the slightest and you’ll be googling a lot, that said, it feels really good when you eventually figure out whatever roadblock or bug you are experiencing and very rewarding to fix it!
In conclusion, RPG Maker MV is not going to be for everyone, some people may find it overly complicated but if you stick with it and learn the systems RPG Maker MV has in place you can have a very rewarding experience not seen in other games (or software, I guess.)
To get the most out of RPG Maker MV you will need to dedicate a lot of time, but the potential to create an unlimited amount of RPG’s is truly something amazing. Personally, I cannot wait to see what people create in RPG Maker MV and hope this helps to give a new generation the game development ‘Bug’!