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Game Info:

RPG Maker MV
Developed By: KADOKAWA CORPORATION
Published By: NIS America
Released: September 08, 2020
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
Genre: RPG, Game Creation
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco)
Number of Players: Singleplayer, Multiplayer (users can share created games)
Price: $49.99

Note: This concerns the Switch console port of RPG Maker MV. While sharing many resources and features with the PC version, it has many key differences that make it a separate product.

I'd like to thank NIS America for the review key for this game.

Console ports of game creation software typically have two problems. Not only do they have to adapt it for use on consoles, but they also have to modify those creation tools to work with and around console limitations. RPG Maker MV for the Nintendo Switch does an admirable job in this regard.

Based on the PC version, RPG Maker MV for consoles is much the same. It's a top-down, tile-based game engine for the creation of RPG games. It lacks the custom scripting features of the PC version and is not compatible with MV PC in any way due to various technical and legal issues. To compensate for this, the console version has a lot of extra content and custom online interactivity features unique to the console port.

Graphically, the stock graphics draw from the same well as MV, except the console port ships with over double the stock MV resources, including some content that had to be purchased as separate DLC in the PC version. There is a very mild bit of aliasing seen in the game editor in some windows, but this doesn't appear to show up in the playtesting and finished games. On top of fantasy and modern/sci-fi graphical assets, the console version ships with material for Japanese, Chinese, Steampunk, and Dark Fantasy style games. All the graphics have a vibrant if slightly cartoony style for the most part. Finally, more DLC has been promised to become available as in-app purchases, with some as free bonuses.

RPG Maker MV
Highlights:

Strong Points: Excellent port of PC version to consoles; lots of base content included for custom game creation
Weak Points: Controls require practice to get used to
Moral Warnings: Optional RPG style violence; some mildly suggestive female character art; depiction of demons and mythical beings in a generic fantasy context; some optional generic magic circle art usable by game creators

Music and sounds are much the same as in MV PC, except there is a LOT more of it, and MV PC's love of orchestral music/sound effects abounds alongside music to fit the various graphical themes mentioned above. Like the graphics, more will become available as in-app purchased DLC and free bonuses over time. There are also voiced lines for characters to use in games and voiced music for different events, the former provided by Japanese voice actors, the latter is in quite good English.

Controls are the big game-changer, as the constraints of the console forced the developers to ditch the keyboard/mouse controls of the PC for something entirely different. Instead, it makes heavy use of toggling through menus via the directional pad and various buttons. For the parts that require text, an in-app keyboard is displayed and the engine includes a parser for common English words to make long displays of text easier to type. There is an unskippable tutorial where you are walked through the basics the first time around, and it's quite useful with that in mind. If you migrated from the PC MV to the console MV, this control scheme change will likely throw you for a loop, but it can be adjusted to with a bit of practice.

Stability is generally improved from the PC version, albeit with some caveats. Load times are generally not unreasonable, being a few seconds at worst, though there are some very rare issues with maps not loading properly. This can be easily fixed by simply reloading the map. Another issue is that the sound manager can have a similar issue, which is also fixable by reloading the sound-select screen. Otherwise, this is a quite stable product.

As for the online features, not all of them could be tested fully since this review was written before release. I can confirm the game posting and submission forum is functional, offering free login bonuses of extra resources daily for doing so. Interaction is generally limited to the sharing of games created with the editor for players of the game itself and they can also be played by downloading a free "MV Player" (which would be the Run Time Package for PC) that allows even those who don't own the game editor to play games made by it via Nintendo Online. Connection times are reasonable, and cloud saves are supported for saving valuable space on your Switch.

RPG Maker MV
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 82%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Morally, while similar to the PC port of MV, there are some additional resources included that will be covered in more detail.

Violence is RPG style "give orders and watch it happen", of the bloodless and goreless variety. This is true for both front and side-view combat modes, should a game have combat included. Language can be as crass or clean as the creator desires, there is no inbuilt censorship of anyone being able to add any sort of profanity by default. Parents can restrict that by using the Parental Control features provided by an external downloadable app, should they be concerned about the sharing of foul language via the in-game text parser.

Sexual content is on par with the stock version of MV for PC, with some female enemy battlers and artwork being a bit revealing, but no worse generally than exposed midriffs and mild cleavage. Overall, nothing worse than could be seen on a PG-rated daytime TV show.

There are the usual references to demons, gods, and Hell in a few names of enemy characters, used in a generic fantasy sense. The "magic circle" artwork typical to most games varies depending on the theme. The Fantasy/Modern set uses the classic hexagram look, the Arabian set uses a generic stylized "eye", the Japanese/Chinese sets opt for a generic "yin-yang" symbol, and the Dark Fantasy set has a generic eight-pointed runic circle. None of the above are further complimented by real-world religious or occult symbology, merely being available for adding a mystical element to map set pieces.

Morals and ethics are entirely at the discretion of the game creator, games can be as clean or perverse as the game designer intends. The online features do have a rating system, so it's possible to avoid objectionable created games to some extent if the need arises.

On the whole, for the asking price, this is a recommended product if you want a portable RPG Maker, though I heavily recommend the PC version should you desire the use of custom resources and scripting features. Morally, this is suitable for most children, and parents can opt for further filtering of some online and language features if that is a concern.

About the Author

Daniel Cullen

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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