There was a time when most people considered RPG Maker to be nothing more than a beginner's tool for solo developers to get a taste of what it felt like to engage in game development before they would move on to more complex software. However, the RPG Maker dev tool is deceptively complex, with most people managing to make some truly incredible games that have stood the test of time as some absolute narrative masterpieces.
From full-blown epic RPGs to linear adventure games that feature some truly incredible stories and characters, the sheer level of love and effort people put into their games on this platform is truly astounding in every sense of the word. To put this into context, here's an in-depth look into fifteen of the greatest games ever made using RPG Maker.
Chances are that ardent gamers must've heard about at least one game on this list, if not more.
Updated May 7, 2021 by Ritwik Mitra: To this day, games made in RPG Maker are still attracting massive attention due to the unique manner in which most developers make use of this diverse tool. These seemingly simple titles end up hiding a ton of depth that is slowly revealed through either the writing, combat, art style, or a combination of all these elements. There's no wonder why games made in RPG Maker have a massive fan following behind them to this day.
15 Ara Fell
For players who want to enjoy a classic RPG experience without any modern nuances that can be interpreted as irksome, there's no better game to try out than Ara Fell.
Of course, to just call Ara Fell a tribute to the RPGs of the past would be a massive injustice to the quality of this underrated title — the story and combat are great in their own right, with the classic art style being the perfect cherry on top of a well-rounded package.
For players who actually want an evolution of the RPG genre that doesn't involve heavy grinding or cumbersome inventory management, Skyborn should be right up their alley.
The game might not be the longest title on this list — most players finish the title around eight hours or so —but the quality of its combat and storytelling makes it a stellar experience regardless.
13 Star Stealing Prince
A free indie RPG Maker game that is full to the brim with amazing content in the form of a great art style, an excellent story, and enjoyable combat — Star Stealing Prince is an excellent title for any fan of RPG Maker Games.
The snowy backdrop of this title serves up a delectable premise that will keep gamers hooked all the way to the very end.
A game that has recently come into the limelight in resounding fashion and is considered to be the newest indie darling by many, Omori is an excellent title with some truly quality writing, augmenting a dark and brilliant story.
11 Seraphic Blue
For players who want to get into a deep and hardcore RPG that's full to the brim with massive lore, extremely long cutscenes, and a story that feels as epic as a Final Fantasy title, Seraphic Blue should be right up their alley.
The story starts off on a small scale, before evolving into a conflict that's so massive that the high-stakes plot will leave fans reeling by the end of this adventure.
10 A Blurred Line
Veterans of the RPG Maker scene would recognize this name in a heartbeat. A Blurred Line is an absolute masterpiece released by Lysander86, which explores the tale of a common man in a futuristic world who's framed for the murder of the most important man in the world.
The adventure that ensues is easily one of the most well-written tales in gaming, and the fact that The Blurred Line's sequel hasn't released to this day — and probably never will — is an absolute shame.
9 Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis
Keeping in line with the cyberpunk aesthetic of the previous game, Alter A.I.L.A Genesis is an excellent RPG Maker game that shows just what solo video game developers are all about.
Compared to A Blurred Line, Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis has more of a post-apocalyptic vibe. The world is truly enthralling to explore, with the combat system being unique enough to keep things interesting for the majority of its lengthy runtime.
It certainly helps that the soundtrack in this game is incredible, given the fact that it's a free game.
8 The Way
A game that is near-and-dear to the hearts of most RPG Maker veterans who were closely following this series, The Way is an incredible series that explores the tale of Rhue as he tries to find his lost love along the Way.
While the custom systems present in this game certainly deserve credit, what truly separates The Way from most of the RPG Maker games of its time was its incredible story, which went above and beyond the limitations of its system to narrate a tale that is purely incredible in every sense of the word.
7 Yume Nikki
One simply can't talk about RPG Maker classics without mentioning the cultural phenomenon that is Yume Nikki. A surreal adventure that lets players delve into the psyche of an introvert, Yume Nikki is easily a must-play for any person even remotely interested in RPG Maker games.
The fact that this title has inspired most of the games on this list and is referenced in modern masterpieces like Undertale should be more than enough to convince people just how much of a gem this game actually is.
During the boom of horror titles made on RPG Maker, there were a ton of games that released to mixed reception. However, Ib is nothing of the sort, and while it might fall into some of these tropes, the story told in this classic is brilliant in every way, shape, and form.
From the intricately designed puzzles to the brilliant atmosphere of the game, there's very little in Ib that's wasteful, making for a brilliant experience through and through.
While there are many cult classic games made in RPG Maker games, one can argue that none of these has the quality of OFF. Any connoisseur of surreal games should make it their utmost priority to try out OFF at least once.
A turn-based RPG with an absolutely off-the-rails plot, OFF quickly became an indie sensation, with its story, characters, and setting all being praised through the roof for their sheer uniqueness.
Most developers are inclined towards making adventure and puzzle games on RPG Maker nowadays, as opposed to full-blown RPGs. OneShot is no exception to this rule, but what makes this title stand a cut above the rest is how brilliantly it executes most of its elements.
The charming narrative of this game is undoubtedly its highlight, and any fan of brilliant designed indie titles should definitely give this game a shot.
3 Corpse Party
In modern times, Corpse Party has become one of the most popular titles in the horror game market, with its blend of visual novel design coupled with some truly gory horror being wholly familiar yet unique at the same time.
However, long-time fans of the series are more than aware of the humble roots of this franchise, with the first game in this series being developed on RPG Tsukūru Dante 98.
This one game sparked the emergence of a classic horror franchise that still remains relevant to this day.
2 To The Moon
It's close to impossible to talk about brilliant RPG Maker games without mentioning the emotional rollercoaster that is To The Moon. The game was instantly successful upon its release, and understandably so — To The Moon told one of the most beautiful and melancholic stories ever told in a video game.
Freebird Games absolutely knocked it out of the park with this title, establishing themselves as the masters of emotional narratives with this release.
1 LISA: The Painful
Before playing LISA: The Painful, one should be well aware of what this game is all about. While the game is certainly hilarious with its offbeat brand of dark humor, make no mistake — LISA: The Painful is one of the most depressing video games ever made.
The story of Brad as he tries to atone for his past mistakes makes him one of the most well-written video game characters of all time, revolving around a unique post-apocalyptic setting where all the women are seemingly extinct... that is, until Brad finds a little baby girl whom he decides to take care of instead of using her as a way to ensure humanity's survival.
This results in what is easily one of the greatest — and the saddest — video game stories ever told.
You don't spend $70 billion and give blockbusters to the competition.