Ever since RPG Tsukūru Dante 98 was released in 1992, RPG Maker programs have become a popular way for anyone to easily make RPGs. Because of this advance in video game technology, there are thousands of RPG Maker games that span across several genres like adventure, action, mystery, and romance.
By far the most popular genre for RPG Maker games is horror as proven by the popularity of well-known titles such as The Crooked Man. Because there are so many of these titles, it may be hard to know which ones to play. There are a couple of games, however, that everyone should play first to get a good sense of what the genre has to offer.
Updated on November 13th, 2022 by Jom Elauria: While they don’t have the best graphics and often feature simplistic gameplay, games made in RPG Maker continue to attract players as the diverse tool allows the developer’s imagination to run wild. The games made in RPG Maker span genres, from action adventure to fantasy. Another RPG Maker genre that seems popular to gamers is horror, due in large to the well-written narratives and intricate gameplays that such games feature. Players who want to see what horrors RPG Maker games offer to them should check out titles such as Pocket Mirror and Ao Oni.
Created using the RPG Maker 2003, the RPG Space Funeral features a turn-based gameplay and a compelling narrative. The game slightly makes fun of the horror RPG genre by prominently including blood in its graphics and dialogue, as well as having a rugged art style.
The game’s narrative puts the spotlight on a boy named Philip, who tries to look for a city that’s supposedly the origin of everything in his world. On his journey, he encounters various horrific creatures that act as NPCs and enemies. The game was positively received for its mindful decision of making every aspect of the game gritty, which includes the music, art style, and setting.
Pocket Mirror is a horror-based puzzle game that was created by indie game developer AstralShift. The game follows a girl named Goldia die Heilige who has suffered from amnesia and needs to navigate a mysterious world in order to remember who she is.
What’s notable about Pocket Mirror is that it encourages the players to see through the ambiguity in order to complete its puzzles. The game’s developer also warns gamers by saying that Pocket Mirror isn’t suitable for folks who are afraid to see gruesome and graphic content.
Your Turn To Die
From the title alone, gamers might feel their spine tingle with Your Turn to Die. The game is based on a horror visual novel that centers on a high school student named Sara Chidouin, who finds herself in an unfortunate scenario where she has to play a series of games or die.
In a way, Your Turn to Die shares many similarities with the K-drama Squid game. In order to help Sara survive, gamers must quickly finish the game’s puzzles and interact with the other players to determine which one of them will be killed. With its suspenseful and thrilling gameplay, Your Turn to Die is a must-play RPG horror maker game.
Flesh, Blood, And Concrete
Created by Letatlin Dev, Flesh Blood, and Concrete is an indie horror game that takes has players revisit and explore an abandoned building. The game doesn’t feature any terrifying monsters or jump scares, but it is an effective psychological horror game thanks to its creepy narrative.
In the game, gamers assume the role of Lera, a depressed architect who looks for help and gas in an abandoned apartment. The game was much-loved by horror fans due to its stirring plot that touches on how the events of the past greatly affect an individual’s present state of mind.
Because RPG Maker makes it easier for indie developers to unleash their creativity, many games made using the software prominently feature queer protagonists. Released by indie developer Hatoge, Ouija Sleepover is a game that’s focused on a college student Aiden who tinkers with an Ouija board alongside his crush, Dan.
Unbeknownst to the two, they have accidentally summoned dark spirits using the board and are transported to an alternate dimension. Aside from its horrifying narrative and charming graphics, Ouija Sleepover received positive reviews for its plot, which perfectly captures the anxieties surrounding first dates.
The Witch’s House
Created in RPG Maker VX by Japanese game developer Fummy, The Witch’s House is a horror puzzle game released in 2012. The player controls a girl named Viola who must solve various puzzles in order to escape a magical house that is possessed by the spirit of a witch named Ellen.
Unlike most RPG Maker horror games, The Witch’s House does not have much dialogue since Viola is alone in the house except for a talking black cat. This contributes to the game’s creepy atmosphere and makes the jump scares throughout the experience much more impactful.
Alicemare is an adventure horror game that follows a young boy named Allen who has recently been adopted by a man called “Teacher.” After he hears a strange rumor about a mysterious voice on the second floor from the other adopted children, Allen decides to investigate and soon finds himself lost in a surreal world.
The game was created in WOLF RPG Editor by Japanese artist Miwashiba, who has created other RPG Maker series such as 1BitHeart and LiEat. Similarly to their other games, Alicemare has a gorgeous art style that is distinct from other game creators. The cute pixelated designs of the characters and world contrast nicely with the disturbing themes of the narrative.
Developed by “noprops” for RPG Maker XP, Ao Oni is a Japanese survival horror puzzle game that follows a teenaged boy named Hiroshi and his friends as they decide to explore a supposedly haunted mansion. Shortly after entering the building, the group is locked in and they are all hunted by a blue demon.
After the game was released in the early 2000s, Ao Oni is now considered as one of the best RPG maker games that has had official light novels, an anime, and many fan games. The rapid speed and random appearances of the titular blue demon create an extremely frightful enemy that is hard to forget and even tougher to beat.
Another well-known survival horror puzzle game is Mad Father, which was created by Japanese developer Sen with WOLF RPG Editor. In this game, the player controls a young girl named Aya as she sneaks into her father’s laboratory and discovers some shocking secrets about what he has been doing there.
Like some of the best obscure horror games, Mad Father will terrify gamers while also challenging them with its tough difficulty. While progressing through the game by solving puzzles, the plot will keep the player hooked and there are plenty of great twists in the narrative. Also, the game is a prequel to another beloved RPG Maker game, Misao.
The Crooked Man
The Crooked Man is a supernatural horror game that was created by Japanese developer Uri as the first installment of The Strange Men Anthology, which consists of three other RPG Maker games. Created in WOLF RPG Editor, the player controls a man named David Hoover after he buys a new apartment. Over time, he discovers that the building may be haunted and goes on a journey to figure out why this is happening while constantly meeting a creepy man with an abnormally bent back.
With a compelling narrative and a memorable lead character, this game leaves an impression that will make the player want to try the other games in the anthology. Also, the creator has made some other great RPG Maker games separate from this series like Mermaid Swamp.
Composed of three main episodes and two spin-offs, Hello Charlotte is a horror adventure game series created by Estonian artist etherane. Made in RPG Maker VX, the games focus on a young girl named Charlotte Wiltshire, who is a “puppet.” The player is a “puppeteer” who controls Charlotte as she interacts with peculiar characters in a surreal world.
Hello Charlotte is a game series that asks the player to seriously consider their actions in video games by addressing the player directly about their choices throughout the narrative. This is especially shown in bad endings where the game acknowledges the player’s failure to keep Charlotte safe. Also, etherane has a specific art style that gives the series a unique charm and feels compared to most horror games.
Released in 2020, OMORI is an award-winning psychological horror game that focuses on anxiety and depression. Developed by the indie studio Omocat, the player controls a boy named Sunny who is a hikikomori, which is a Japanese term for individuals with acute social anxiety, and his dream self named Omori. Depending on how the player chooses to deal with his traumas, the game has several different endings.
Despite being similar to games like Yume Nikki and Earthbound, the game has a unique art style that sets it apart from its predecessors. Unlike many horror games that misrepresent mental health conditions, OMORI realistically represents anxiety and depression, and it enforces the importance of communicating and connecting with others.
Jimmy And The Pulsating Mass
Created in 2018 by Texan developer Kasey Ozymy for RPG Maker VX Ace, Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass is another Yume Nikki and Earthbound-inspired psychological horror game. The game focuses on a young boy named Jimmy who lives in an idyllic dream world with his family. But, when an alien entity known as the Pulsating Mass kidnaps his family and threatens to destroy everything, Jimmy must go on a journey to save his family and overcome his weaknesses.
Unlike similar games like OMORI, this game has an interesting combat system. Because Jimmy can empathize with anything, he has the ability to transform into monsters he meets, which gives him new abilities. This effectively keeps the player engaged as Jimmy is constantly changing and showing new powers that they can use in the game.
OFF is a surreal horror adventure game released in 2008 by Mortis Ghost and Alias Conrad Coldwood, who make up the Belgian team Unproductive Fun Time. Similarly to Hello Charlotte, the player is treated as a separate being that is “given” control of a humanoid creature called the Batter. This creature’s “sacred mission” is to “purify” the world, and the player travels with The Batter through various Zones, meets various characters, and slowly learns the truth about the world.
OFF is different from many RPG games because it uses a cooldown system instead of a turn-based system, which means everyone attacks in real-time. With an interesting art style, unique characters, and moral questions that are raised within the narrative, it is no surprise that this game has become a cult classic.
Developed for RPG Maker 2000, Ib is a 2012 psychological horror game created by kouri. Players control a nine-year-old girl named Ib who visits an art gallery and gets trapped in another world inside the art pieces. While exploring the surreal world, she meets a man named Garry and another young girl named Mary as she tries to find the exit and return to the real world.
Ib is a polished short experience filled with a foreboding atmosphere, interesting puzzles, and effective scares. Along with the other games on this list, Ib has gained a cult following and even has some official merchandise.