Software Info:

Pixel Game Maker MV
Developed By: Gotcha Gotcha Games, KADOKAWA
Published By: PLAYISM
Released: September 19, 2019
Available On: Microsoft Windows
Genre: Game Creation
ESRB Rating: None specified (games made in the editor can be from E-AO)
Number of Players: Singleplayer (the editor can be used to make multiplayer games)
Price: $84.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

I'd like to thank Kadokawa for the review key for this software.

Many have heard of RPG Maker, the game maker for top-down, turn-based 2-D RPGs. The same developers also have made Pixel Game Maker MV (PGMMV), using some common engine code with their RPG Maker MV program, but it's geared more for the creation of non-turn-based games on either side-scroller or top-down view modes. As an engine, it has a lot of potential for game creation but is far from perfect.

It's worth noting first what both RPG Maker MV and Pixel Game Maker MV have in common. Both support Javascript (in both) or Coffeescript (only in the latter) extensions to the stock eventing programming to do things the regular engine cannot allow the creator to do by itself. That aside, both function quite differently in constructing games. RPG Maker already comes with a lot of sub-systems like the combat engine and various other sub-mechanics of a basic role-playing game pre-included. Pixel Game Maker forces the player to assemble the logic for things like basic character movement, combat, and other subsystems BEFORE they can have a functional game.

With that said, both feature a GUI in which various things like tilesets and animations can be picked to populate scenes, which make up the structure of the game project. Various sub-menus allow basic character and world logic to be constructed using a combination of menus and visual logic. PGMMV allows for the creation of side-scroller and top-down pixel-based games of all sorts of genres, provided the logic to make all the functions of the game is set up by the player. There is a built-in tutorial that explains each feature in-depth for both modes, and I strongly recommend doing them before attempting to make a game, otherwise, the creator will likely have no idea what they are doing.

Pixel Game Maker MV

Strong Points: Excellent tool for making pixel style side-scrollers and top-down based games
Weak Points: Clunky looking interface
Moral Warnings: Action-platformer level violence possible with stock resources once assembled; some minor references to the undead in some tilesets

Graphically, NES quality resources are provided for both game modes. None of the resources particularly stand out or are overly visually impressive, but they are adequate for the creation of fantasy and sci-fi games and serve as adequate templates and placeholders. Custom resources can be imported so long as they conform to the specifications outlined in the game manual.

Sounds and music are generally chiptune and synth pieces for fantasy and sci-fi games. None of it again stands out, but it's adequate for sample games for lack of anything better and sounds pleasing to the ear. Controls in the editor are keyboard and mouse-based, while games can be made to support keyboard/mouse or gamepad input. Games can even be ported to consoles like the Nintendo Switch, so there is built-in support for supporting console controls as well.

Stability is fine in terms of general performance. The editor itself and games made with it run at a reasonable level of stability with no crashing, hanging, or bugs provided they have been set up correctly. The ergonomics of the editor aren't the greatest, but it can be learned with a bit of practice via the tutorials.

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

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

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

Morally, this product is pretty clean save a few minor things.

Violence is entirely up to the creator. By default if all the logic for it is properly assembled, it's possible to make a game where you destroy monsters and/or robots minus any blood and gore, should that be the intention of the game creator.

Language and sexual content are non-existent unless the creator includes those elements themselves. There are some mild references to the undead in the tilesets for a "Castlevania" styled game, along with some generic church style symbols, but that's all. Morals and ethics are entirely at the discretion of the game designer as well.

On the whole, this is a good product for building top-down or side-scroller games that is much simpler than Unity or even Game Maker, but its high price tag means it's not a casual investment. Morally, the stock resources are pretty clean save the minor violence and undead references noted above. Overall, it's not a casual engine for game creation, I'd try the free demo before I'd commit to buying it. If you find it easy to get into, it's a powerful game creation tool.

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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