[Review] RPG MAKER MV – Nintendo Switch

Written by Thomas Haroldsen
  • Developer: KADOKAWA CORPORATION
  • Publisher: NIS America
  • Release Date: 08/09/2020
  • Price: $49.99 / £44.99
  • Review code provided by NIS America

Introducing: RPG MAKER MV Switch Review

If you build it, they will come. This seems to be the mantra of RPG MAKER. RPG MAKER MV’s tagline is “As long as you have a dream, anything is possible.” This latest edition to the Nintendo Switch entices you to play in a vast sandbox where your imagination is the limit. Since it’s a port from the popular PC edition, it inherently presents limitations beyond one’s own mind. As this captivating creator hinges on ease of use and fluid functionality, I’m going to take a look at its overall performance on the Nintendo Switch to determine if it has a loving home on a portable console or if it should have stayed in bed with the computer powerhouses.

An Epic Journey Begins

RPG MAKER MV touts freedom and offers plenty of tools to create massive worlds with inhabited cities, dangerous caves and perilous labyrinths. There’s no shortage of material, and playing with all the options will take a crazy amount of time. I spent over thirty hours building various worlds and genres, only to find and learn new things each time. My advice, start simple. You have default settings available from the start where you can craft a quick adventure. From there you can take what you’ve learned and branch out. The third game I started creating was a Visual Novel, because why not? RPG MAKER MV is capable of it as long as you’re willing to experiment and put in the work.

Anything is Possible

Day/Night Cycle

There are two main facets to the gameplay that drives RPG MAKER. The first is all in creating engaging games for millions around the world to explore. Secondly, you can download games created by other players and see a similar digital world through their eyes. One thing that astounds me is what other players are able to create. Once games started popping up from other reviews, I hungrily devoured them. I was amazed to see what they had accomplished and it made me rethink what I could do. Sampling other creator’s worlds is a key aspect of fully enjoying this behemoth title. You can learn new ways to build cities, interiors and worlds. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Playing other games can open a window into other people’s talented minds to see how diverse our imaginations truly are. Stories that use the same assets but are powerful enough to jolt you out of recognizable worlds become impressive feats. For an RPG fan, this game gives a wealth of infinitely playable games as long as you don’t mind similar coats of paint.

I’ve always found the most fun in RPG making games is the creation process. Sure, it’s nice to visit your friends and see their baby. They think their baby is the most adorable and smartest kid ever. But we all know, our own baby is far cuter and exceedingly more intelligent than any other kid in the world. That’s how I feel it is with RPG MAKER. It’s nice to visit other’s and see how they do things, but in the end I prefer my own style. You should be prepared, however, when starting to create your own game. RPG MAKER MV takes time. A rushed product will be evident and a one star rating from peers will warn others to stay away. 

The Only Limit is Your Imagination?

RPGMAKER requires patience and trial-and-error to get the hang of things. The tutorial is brief and once you watch it, it’s gone. I had to reboot the game under another profile to see the tutorial a second time. It seemed shortsighted to remove the option to revisit the tutorial as much as desired. Not only that, there’s no help guide in the game and the website is bare-bones when seeking assistance. Fortunately the PC version has been out for some time and there’s a huge community who can help with basic or advanced events.

One thing the console version lacks, however, is plugins found on the PC counterpart. Several videos I found recommend plugins to make things easier. Of course that won’t benefit the Nintendo Switch users. In that same vein, the UI and control scheme for the Switch is poorly implemented. For example, when creating an event you’ll select a command and sometimes it would take you out of the screen. Other times you have to hit the back button. This created many occurrences of me bumbling around the interface. Though this port has a lot of options carried over from the PC, it lacks the fluid control and is often rigid.

The World is Yours to Define

From a graphical standpoint, RPG MAKER gives creators dozens of tilesets to choose from. You can craft an aerial steampunk world or stay with a traditional dark fantasy atmosphere. Sadly, some of the modern tilesets are just rehashed assets that offer little variance. The character creator is far more robust. Alterations available in the character designer are fun to play with. Beyond your actor’s appearance you can customize class, skills, weapons and even terminology. If you want to make a game with a modern setting, gold and slash may not fit the motif. I changed those to bucks and debate, respectively.

Forging Your Own Path

Just as there are thousands of variations to designing your main characters, the sound and music effects are impressive. The lists seem to go on and on in the core game. It seemed whenever I wanted to find something unique, it was available. One example, I tested an early event where going to sleep would conjure a giant sheep floating around the screen with an accompanying baa. The background music is just as diverse. From modern punk sounds to classical woodland tones. There’s music for the world map right down to dungeons, churches, towns and things I haven’t even thought of. The list goes on and on. Again, there are limits. Whereas the PC version can import sounds and even your own voice acting, that won’t be found on the Switch port.

Final Wrap

Reviewing RPG MAKER MV was a daunting task. After sinking more than thirty hours into the software, I was nowhere near completion on a full game. Part of that was in the joy of learning new things and experimenting. It’s easy to get sidetracked, especially for a beginner. Overall, RPG MAKER offers a huge value as it’s infinitely replayable. Not only can you create unlimited worlds and stories, you can play creations from other people around the globe.

Though there are limits in available assets and it’s not as easy to use as its PC predecessor, its vast options make it a joy to experience. Not only did I enjoy seeing my worlds come to life, my son loved experimenting on his own. In fact, he grasped the event creator quicker than I did. It’s not the same as coding or full game development, but it did teach him the fundamentals for those avenues. Not only is RPG MAKER MV a great teacher, it’s a fantastic creative outlet that any role-playing fan should own.

Pros

  • Great Learning Tool for All Ages
  • Make Your Dream Role-Playing Game
  • Share and Play Infinite Creations

Cons

  • Difficult UI
  • Lacks the Full Function of PC Counterpart
  • Few Guides and Thin Tutorial

Verdict
RPG MAKER MV challenges players to dream and rewards with worlds all their own.

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