The 16 bit RPG is a genre which has gone from strength to strength over the many years of its existence, with classic titles such as Chrono Trigger, and modern games such as I Am Setsuna proving that the graphical style is one that never goes out of fashion. Several programs have been released to allow anyone to build their own RPG for themselves, but none of them have become as prominent as the RPG Maker series which began in Japan back in 1992. As well as the home computer releases of the franchise, and the several home console versions which never made it to Europe for reasons unknown, RPG Maker has now decided to branch out to Nintendo 3DS in the form of RPG Maker FES.
Instead of throwing users into the blank canvas straight away like in the PC versions of the franchise; RPG Maker FES’s development environment is divided into four separate modes. The first option is dedicated to using graphical tile sets to design the maps that your characters will inhabit. Despite the limited resolution on the Nintendo 3DS, it is very easy to click and drag in this release, from the tile sets onto the maps. Some of the more essential shortcuts are assigned to the face buttons such as an auto fill option for longer words, and the dash feature to run around the map. These shortcuts help a great deal, giving you a break from using the touch screen for every action.
The second menu option is where you design the gameplay, using Event Chips that you can place around the maps. From random enemy encounters, to scripted cut scenes and item shops, every new event and gameplay feature in your project requires you to design it from the menu. Luckily, the in game descriptions for the various event triggers and outcomes go into a high level of detail, so you will rarely not understand what a particular option is meant to do. The only minor criticism I have for this section is that it is not possible to enter in your own custom programming code to add a personal touch to customising your events.