Software Info:

RPG Maker VX Ace
Developed By: KADOKAWA
Published By: Degica
Released: December 10, 2012
Available On: Microsoft Windows
Genre: Game Development, RPG
ESRB Rating: None specified (games made with this could range from E-AO)
Number of Players: Singleplayer
Price: $69.99
(Humble Store Link)

Role-playing games hold a specific allure for gamers because they allow the player to feel a direct connection to the world they are in, including having a direct impact on their avatar in terms of growth and the world in terms of their involvement. RPG Maker VX Ace takes this to another level by letting you make the worlds you want to feel a connection to.

RPG Maker VX Ace is the last in the line of the RPG Maker franchise to use the Ruby scripting language to power the engine and is also the last engine in the franchise to be limited to Microsoft Windows operating systems. As a game creation tool, it comes pre-made with all the basics needed to make a top-down, tile-based RPG game like was in vogue in the late '80s and '90s.

The engine is a simple one, and while it does not come with a guided tutorial, it has easy to understand documentation for how to make your own game and the database comes preloaded with basic data and templates for making your own game. More content can be found on the official forums and blogs providing further instruction and resources. There is also Steam Workshop integration, allowing fans to share content, including resources and entire games made with the engine.

RPG Maker VX Ace

Strong Points: Has a perfectly arranged engine for easy creation of 2D, top-down, tile-based RPGs
Weak Points: Lots of potential in the engine requires advanced knowledge of the Ruby scripting language
Moral Warnings: Some cleavage-baring enemy graphics in stock resources; RPG-based violence if the battle engine components are utilized; some occult like imagery available in the stock tilesets and animation files

Graphically, RPG Maker VX Ace uses 32 x 32-pixel tiles that have a high fantasy focus in the stock resources provided with the game engine. The character sprites are typical "chibi" or super-deformed looking as opposed to realistic, though resources for more realistic looking sprites can be used. Animations are essentially a series of PNG files with sound effects that the database arranges in a looped pattern, which the user can further customize to the limits of their skill. Battle scenes can be mixed and matched for different foregrounds and backgrounds. There is also a "parallax" background for maps with transparent areas that can be added to give a feeling of depth and animation, like moving clouds or stars. Battler graphics for battle scenes are shown in a front-view default engine with a high fantasy style like the other art.

Musically, the provided resources have a classical fantasy sound to them, provided in the OGG sound format. Sound effects also follow this theme, and the engine allows assigning sounds and music when and where the player deems appropriate. All of them sound pleasant on the ear, and there are built-in options to control volume and pitch for all audio files.

Control is largely mouse and keyboard-driven, though the created games have a degree of compatibility with common PC gamepads and related accessories. Stability is excellent in the base engine, and while the creation engine and games made for it were intended for Microsoft Windows, both can run quite well via Wine/Proton in Linux.

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

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 88%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 9/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The game provides a basic character sprite and face maker, which is adequate but limited and does not make faces in profile view like the stock resources, but forward-facing only. The Ruby powered engine allows players to add their custom scripting to the engine if they so choose, and even if the user is no scripting expert, there are a massive amount of resources available at this time all over the Internet. Some basic knowledge of how to edit Ruby scripts is recommended if one needs to tweak these scripts for your specific needs, and tutorials in Ruby can be found in multiple fora if one needs some instruction on this.

Morally, RPG Maker games can be as clean or depraved as the player wants them to be, the engine stock resources can be discarded entirely and others can be used if the creator desires.

As for the stock resources, aside from a few battler sprites showing a bit of cleavage for some of the female characters, the vast majority are tame, generic fantasy stock character drawings. A few of the animations have generic-looking magic circles, and a few generic hexagram "magic circle" tiles exist for those wanting to add an evil or mystical look in some maps, but that's about it for anything of moral concern. Again, their usage remains entirely up to the game creator; they can be ignored or discarded entirely. The battle engine, if used, provides for turn-based RPG style violence, but one can make a game with no combat if they choose.

RPG Maker VX Ace is definitely worth the purchase price, but given it's often available via massive discounts and on sites like Humble Bundle, it's worth snapping up in those locations, where resources can also be gotten very cheaply often at the same time. Morally, games made with RPG Maker are only as concerning as the creator wants them to be, and while it not an ideal engine for making more than a certain genre of games, it's a worthy one for those wanting to specialize in 2D, top-down RPG game creation.

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Daniel Cullen

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About Us:

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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