The Nintendo 3DS is home to many RPGs – Fire Emblem, Shin Megami Tensei, Bravely Default, Etrian Odyssey, Rune Factory, Dragon Quest, YO-KAI WATCH, and others…. but have you ever thought of it being a home to your very own RPGs too?
This is where RPG Maker Fes comes to play. RPG Maker Fes is a new piece of software for Nintendo 3DS developed by KADOKAWA Games. It was released in Japan in December last year, and thanks to NIS America, we’ll get to enjoy it next week (June 27, 2017).
As the name implies, RPG Maker Fes lets players create the RPG of their dreams. You decide who the characters are in your game, where they visit, what kind of enemies they will encounter, the weapons they wield, and the story.
Making games the conventional way is tough, but RPG Maker Fes simplifies the process. Unlike the other Nintendo 3DS game creation tool SmileBASIC, no programming experience is required to use RPG Maker Fes. All I needed was some imagination and a stylus to get things going.
Every game has a structure, and games in RPG Maker Fes are no exception. There are four “sections” to customize to make a proper RPG – Maps (where your world will be), Events (this is where all of the game logic goes), Encounters (setting where all the monsters will appear on the map), and Database (creating the characters, weapons, and monsters).
I decided to name my first RPG “Some weird place”, and made a town area map called “Castletown”. There are various map sizes to choose from – small, medium, and large. Players get to choose the BGM that plays in each area (there are over 40 – 60 different tracks to choose from). Once the map size and BGM have been decided, a blank canvas will appear. I started filling it up with tiles, buildings, and trees to make it a proper town.
Placing objects onto the map could be done with the stylus or button controls, but I found myself alternating between both as it’s faster to get things done. The next step would be to populate my town with NPCs, and I found it was located under the Events section. So I created a new “Event”, named it “Moriah”, and chose how Moriah would look like. There were many different character appearances to choose from, and each one has 4 different colors.
Now here’s the fun part – making Moriah speak. Using the Event List’s Message Control, I wrote some dialogue for Moriah. Other commands could be added too, such as conditionals (If yes, Moriah says this; if no, Moriah says this), status change (increase HP, heal, give items, etc), and movement. I added some sound effects and animations to make the scene much more dramatic. I liked how comprehensive every character and event could be fine-tuned.
A pre-set list of events is included in the game for drag-and-drop placement, such as linking between two maps, shops, doors, and staircases. If there’s a need to edit any event settings, it can be easily done. It made life much easier for me and my attention could be focused on more crucial parts of the game.
It was time to give my world more depth. I entered the Database section of my game and begun creating the monsters, weapons, items, characters, professions, and other essential things that needs to be inside the game. This became a very time consuming task for me as there were many details to enter and set, so I decided to use the pre-sets available and edit them from there. There are many aspects players could customize for every actor or object in the game. For example, players could set the stats of every monster (HP, MP, Attack, Defense, Speed, etc), their drop items, “monster elements”, and negated status.
“Monster Elements” is similar to what people call the “Weapon Triangle” in Fire Emblem games. Fire is strong against Wind, Wind strong against Ground, Ground is strong against Water, and Water is strong against Fire. Weapons could be given elemental strengths too, so setting little details like this could make any RPG more engaging.
Now it’s time to give my game a spin. Performing a play test is pretty easy – it can be accessed from the menu at any point of time. Pretty handy when testing a certain event or battle.
The controls for every game made in RPG Maker Fes are the same. D-pad/Circle pad to move around the world, B to dash, and X to show the status screen, which opens up the menu to access the inventory and save progress.
Pretty satisfied with what I have so far, I headed online to check out what other games people have made. In RPG Maker Fes, creators can upload the games they have made online for others to enjoy. If you aren’t planning to buy RPG Maker Fes, you can still play the games creators have made by downloading RPG Maker Player, which will be available for free on the Nintendo eShop from June 27.
I feel it’s quite a smart move for Kadokawa to do this – giving creators greater exposure and players the opportunity to try out these games, something developers of the next Super Mario Maker game may want to take note of.
Although my reaction to the game is generally positive, I felt RPG Maker Fes was lacking in a few areas. The creation tool has something called “Content Packs”, which contain art assets, music, and sound effects to make games look different from each other. At the time of writing, there’s only one content pack included with the game, which means everybody’s games will look identical to each other. I believe there will be additional content packs available for purchase in the future, as the Japanese version has quite a number of them live now.
A sound editor or sprite editor would have been nice to have too, for creators aiming to make their game even more unique. I personally wouldn’t mind paying for it, if it means I could make my game look different from the rest of the crowd.
In conclusion, I felt RPG Maker Fes is a nice tool to have for players to casually whip up the RPG they have always dreamed of making. It’s easy to use, there are lots of aspects and features that can be customized and fine-tuned to make a real RPG, and there’s an easy way to share your creations to the world.
Verdict: We couldn’t really call RPG Maker Fes a soup since it isn’t really a game, but it’d be a fitting kitchen for budding chefs to cook and serve their soup.
A review copy was provided by NIS America for the purpose of this review.