Something that needs to be said immediately before we even begin to dive into the main portions of the review. I have a lot of experience with RPG Maker MV on Steam, have been messing around and building small games with it for well over a year, and have played countless titles that are considered “good” which were created through the engine. When NIS America announced they were going to bring over RPG Maker FES to North America, which is on the Nintendo 3DS, I was slightly concerned with it being a 3DS title and all. But, there have been some great roleplaying experiences on the handheld, so my judgement was ultimately reserved until I could get my hands on the title and begin experimenting with it to see how it performed, and mess around with creations submitted by others. So how did it end up being? Read on for our full RPG Maker FES review.
Title: RPG Maker FES
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Kadokawa Games
Available On: Nintendo 3DS
Reviewed On: Nintendo 3DS XL
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Game Provided by the Publisher for the Sake of This Review
To say that my fears with this being a Nintendo 3DS game were confirmed is an understatement. While there is still a lot of room for creativity and Kadokawa Games did everything that they possibly could to squeeze as much into the title, it ultimately feels very underwhelming when compared to much better options that currently exist within the same franchise in RPG Maker MV.
The limitations of the 3DS become very apparent when playing RPG Maker FES. Using the touch screen to actually design a game felt okay, but anyone that has played the PC version will instantly realize the inferior design gone into this version. That being said, it’s hard to actually review a game when there isn’t really a game to be reviewed. Instead, it relies on the user to actually make the game that you’re reviewing. For this reason, I waited until there were actual samples to be downloaded and tested through the store before writing this review.
After spending time playing many different user-generated games, I can safely say that RPG Maker MV is a much better experience on PC. For starters, the game thrusts you into the world of creating video games without really giving a tutorial or any help whatsoever. Before there were any samples to be downloaded, I was messing around trying to create my own game. The layout for actual game design is simple enough to understand, but the small screen of the Nintendo 3DS makes it excruciatingly difficult to actually design an entire world. I found that when scrolling the screen, I often would lose my place or things just wouldn’t go together naturally like you think they would.
Another clear example of how this version is going to go is by looking at a sample of what is currently available that has been made by players. A majority of the experiences that you can download are short and simple games that all have the same mechanics or basic designs. There are a few standouts on the store currently available, but the time and effort needed to make something of that caliber with RPG Maker FES is simply not worth it in my opinion. As I said, if you have a PC, a much better version of the game exists that allows for extreme customisation and better design choices through and through.
Perhaps this game will appeal to a certain group of gamers that already understand how to use an engine and develop a video game. Because honestly, it’s not all that bad in terms of games that you can actually create if you sink the hours needed into it. I’ve seen some great things come out of RPG Maker in the past, but the downside has always been the amount of time it takes to truly understand what goes into creating a video game. Dozens upon dozens of hours are needed to just be able to make a simple role playing game.
In all, RPG Maker FES is a decent entry in the series, but I cannot recommend it over what is currently available on PC. If your intent is to purchase this game to learn how to make an RPG on the 3DS, you may have some fun with it. But, if you are looking to buy this game to enjoy and experience other user-generated content, I would say to hold off for now. The art style, graphics used and the engine are very nostalgic and throw backs to the RPGs of yesteryear, which is a nice touch, but the overall experience just doesn’t strike the necessary chords needed in order to be a solid game.