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RPG Maker FES (3DS) Review

by Matt West - June 20, 2017, 10:00 am EDT
Total comments: 7


A working, but limited creator's toolbox.

For someone who has always dreamed of creating my own games but lacks the time and discipline to learn how to code, simple game creation software can be an incredible blessing. Removing the complicated tasks of the art and boiling the process down to a handful of inputs and text insertion can allow players of all experience levels to make their own adventures. RPG Maker Fes seeks to provide players with a set of robust tools to do exactly this, hoping to allow fans to create their own RPGs. Overall, it works, but only if you’re looking to create one specific type of RPG, and don’t mind the learning curve or being extremely limited by the amount of tools in your box.

One of the biggest issues is the complete lack of tutorial. As someone who is somewhat familiar with this type of software, I was personally able to figure things out on the fly, but this could be a hefty barrier of entry for many. Tasks such as creating characters and designing the maps can probably be figured out, but the more complicated aspects of RPG making (creating “events,” cut scenes, or quests) should have been given some kind of walkthrough to keep players from feeling alienated.

If you’re able to work out some of the more difficult aspects of the creation process, though, you can create a fairly simple, but fun little RPG. However, be prepared to invest a ton of time into the software if you want it to match your vision. You’ll have to finely tune your RPG’s classes, skills, items, and enemies to make sure that it’s well-balanced and fair. Doing so will require that you test your game over and over to make sure your events and numbers are working properly. RPG Maker Fes isn’t for those who lack patience, as it’s filled with monotonous menus for you to navigate through as you create your game through trial and error.

One of the more frustrating limitations of RPG Maker Fes are in the incredibly small amount of character and item sprites you’re given to work with. Looking to create an interplanetary, sci-fi RPG? Sorry, you won’t find the tools to do that here. In the standard game’s package, you’re only given the most basic character and enemy designs for a generic fantasy RPG. And there aren’t many of these, either, so you’re likely to commit what this reviewer considers one of the many sins of bad RPGS: palette swapping. For a full-priced game, the amount of content feels limited. NIS America has promised that DLC will be coming for the game that may include more diversity, but that feels like a rip-off due to how little the game actually ships with.

In the end, though, after dozens of hours, I was finally able to create my own little RPG starring a clown named Gregory on a quest to make the people of Upset Village happy. It’s technically far from finished, as there are many things I still need to do to balance the game (it’s far too easy in its current state), but I did have fun coming up with the characters and setting, even if I often felt extremely limited by my toolbox. One of the coolest things about the game (that wasn’t available during my reviewing playthrough) is that anyone with a 3DS will be able to download an app that will allow you to share your created games with them, even if they don’t have RPG Maker Fes themselves. In theory, creators can share their games with friends and family, sharing the fruits of their labor.

Ultimately, it’s hard for me to recommend RPG Maker Fes to anyone but the most hardcore of RPG fans that have always dreamed of creating their own game. You’ll certainly be limited by the tools (or lack thereof) available here, and the lack of a meaningful tutorial may hinder all but the most patient of designers. RPG Maker Fes feels like an incomplete product, like a beginner sewer’s kit that was shipped with only one color of thread and without instructions. You can definitely make an RPG if you’re patient enough, but it’s unlikely to come close to what you envisioned when you began, which is likely to leave you unsatisfied.


  • Make an RPG without learning to code
  • Extremely limited amount of character/item assets
  • Monotonous menus
  • No meaningful tutorial
  • Requires a lot of time, patience, and trial and error


pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterJune 20, 2017

I could see myself probably getting into this if I had the time, even with the limited options, but sadly I don't anymore.

I'll probably at least get the app so I can try other people's stuff. That's a really good thing to have, especially since it gives the 3DS an endless supply of RPGs, and I might still pick it up and bring something out.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, June 20, 2017

I'm doing a current project in RPG Maker MV, which I'm very invested in, so I don't see FES working out. Especially with so many system owners moving on to Switch, limiting how many people would probably play a project of mine on the 3DS app.

Mop it upJune 21, 2017

I of course didn't expect it to be as feature-full as the PC editions, but it sounds like it's about on par with the RPG Maker back on PS1, which was pretty basic. I don't think I'd buy it, but I may download the app at some point to see what people have made, out of curiosity.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, June 21, 2017

Quote from: Donk

I of course didn't expect it to be as feature-full as the PC editions, but it sounds like it's about on par with the RPG Maker back on PS1, which was pretty basic. I don't think I'd buy it, but I may download the app at some point to see what people have made, out of curiosity.

Yeah, as expected, but the RPG Maker on PS1 (my first RPG Maker, made a game in middle school with :D, did you make a game with, Mop?) was released decades ago. I would imagine a RPG Maker on a dedicated gaming device now would offer much more while obviously not meeting the feature-rich quality of any PC edition.

Mop it upJune 21, 2017

I would have imagined the same thing, but it doesn't sound like it is better.

I had it back then on PS1 (and it's probably still around here somewhere...), but I never completed anything on it. It was too limited for anything I'd want to do, and memory card space was also an issue. Do you remember memory cards? Good times, good times...

(not really)

PhilPhillip Stortzum, June 21, 2017

Had a third party one before I knew they weren't reliable, and it corrupted, deleting a lot of progress. My game was across three memory cards: one for system data and two for scenario data. :O

StratosJune 21, 2017

RPG Maker would have been great on the Wii U, pity that never got big enough to warrant the development.

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RPG Maker FES Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer Kadokawa Shoten

Worldwide Releases

na: RPG Maker FES
Release Jun 27, 2017
PublisherNippon Ichi Software
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: RPG Tsuku-ru Fes
Release Nov 24, 2016
PublisherKadokawa Shoten
RatingAll Ages
eu: RPG Maker FES
Release Jun 23, 2017
PublisherNippon Ichi Software

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