This software is an excellent introduction to game-making. While many people don't like RPG Maker games, it's still a great way to start your game development journey - or just to sate your hobbyist tendencies!
I recommend this without reservation - I may never release a game for public, but I love writing short little in-joke games for my family and friends.
For instance, I once wrote a short Kingdom Hearts-themed game for my daughter, which also used characters/settings from Beyond Good And Evil and Final Fantasy 7 and 8. As I understand it, under the terms of the RPG Maker license, the game I wrote WOULD NOT be allowed to be released (even as a fan creation) without paying for all of those character's usage rights - but I didn't make it to sell, I made it for my daughter. And SHE loved it.
- Easy to use.
- Fairly easy to understand.
- Anyone who's fiddled with game editors before should feel right at home.
- Plenty of tutorials available.
- Great, helpful community, especially on the official website and forums - this was the main selling point for me.
- Design is modular (meaning you can work on one aspect of your project at a time, or all at once)
- Don't like the Final Fantasy Style battles? Find and download a battle engine to change it to something more like the Zelda games!
- Importing custom data (inc. sound and graphics) COULD NOT BE EASIER.
- The asking price *includes* a license, meaning you can legally sell your RPG Maker VX Ace game the second you've made it! (there are some understandably strict caveats to this, though)
- includes a character maker, ideal for those of us who suck at art (like me).
- ACTIVE devs and community!
- Don't have the sprite/sound/script/whatever that you want? Try requesting it in the official forums - chances are, somone else has already requested it!
- One of the few pieces of software that I own that has NEVER crashed.
- Steam Cards! Hey, it matters to me. ;)
- License is included in the price, but some may consider it limited - for instance, if you make a sprite in this program, that's basically the only place you're allowed to use it (exceptions: or other programs in the RPG/Game Maker stable that you own the license to). So, you can't make sprites in this, then export those sprites to be used in say, a self-made browser-based game. And so too, for ALL the stock assets.
- Importing the custom data itself is quite easy - but knowing what to do with it can be confusing at first. For instance, importing a new tileset can be done with 3 button clicks. But then you have to go over the tileset and tell RPG Maker VX Ace which tileblocks the player can walk through, and which they can't, and so on. This makes complete sense once you think about it, but it isn't explained anywhere in game (that I saw).
- The DLC isn't like traditional DLC, it can require some real work to set it up (see above for a basic example)
- Advanced Developers (I'm not one, so this is a guess) may find certain aspects of the engine restrictive.
People who should buy this software:
- Amateur devs
- JRPG hobbyist
- people curious about the game development process
- people who have good ideas for stories
- IDEAL for people who want to make their 'first real game'.
People who should avoid this software:
- Uh...people who hate JRPGs, I guess?
- People who refuse to play nice on forums (because that's where most of your questions will get answered)
- People who are allergic to cuteness
- People who are allergic to lists
- People who actively hate maths and other forms of 'thinking'. I'm not trying to be snide, I swear. Some of us just aren't designed for calculations. Having said that, I actually fit into that category - and I love this software. But it is a fact: planning is part of game making.
I would basically recommend this software to ANYONE who shows even the slightest bit of interest in it. An excellent and very affordable way to get into game developing - it does exactly what it claims to, and does so quite solidly.
I award this product 9/10, without hesitation.