RPG Maker! Some people love it, others hate it. Personally I grew up in the scene, although I never made anything. There’s an amazingly wide range of games that have been made in the engine, from Final Fantasy fangames to Pac Man clones to surreal horror adventures. Some of the most popular games have no RPG elements in them at all, and others are mechanically complex 50-hour behemoths made by one person. CrossCode was made by people who came out of that scene, and the guys who made To the Moon started out making free games in the engine as well. So with all that said, here are some titles to start with. If anyone has other recommendations, feel free to post them in the replies!
Helen’s Mysterious Castle. I’ve mentioned this before, but Helen’s Mysterious Castle is one of the best hidden RPG Maker gems you’ll find for sale online. It’s a compact role-playing game in which you explore a castle full of secrets, fighting monsters along the way. The battle system is really interesting: you’re given a small but diverse number of weapons and items that you must use intelligently to defeat enemies. Each new discovery drastically expands your options. Plus the heroine only communicates through punctuation marks, which is great!
Ib. Along with Yume Nikki I’d reckon this is the most beloved RPG Maker “horror” game. You play as a young girl who must traverse an art museum of terrors, making friends (???) along the way. If you’re looking to get into the “RPG Horror” branch of games made in this engine (likely the most popular right now) this is a great place to start!
Star Stealing Prince. A medium sized JRPG with great atmosphere. You are a prince in a happy kingdom where it always snows, who stumbles into something much bigger and scarier than you expected. It’s surprisingly difficult, but there are many charming details and small touches put into this game. For instance, you can wash the dishes in every house in your kingdom!
Chocobo Panic: Space. It’s a really large Pac Man clone starring Chocobos. I dunno if this is as great as Pac Man Championship Edition, but it’s good for what it is. A talented developer can push the engine pretty far!
Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. This game is a recent Earthbound-like in a similar vein to current champion of the subgenre, Undertale. From what I’ve played, I wouldn’t say Jimmy is quite as good as Undertale, but it’s certainly worth your time: the music is excellent, there’s some unexpectedly spooky bits and the game gives you some fun “Earthbound moments” like a talking mole giving you a tour of his house.
Dhux’s Scar. I played this game a few years ago and was blown away by it. In hindsight there are some pretty problematic, “anime” bits (that even the creator admits they’ve grown out of) and the story comes close to collapsing under its own weight near the end. But this is a 6-hour game that is bursting with ideas: a Dragon Quarter-style time limit, careful resource conservation and 3 asymmetrical protagonists (two of which are comparatively useless) going up against brutally difficult enemies. Some wild and quirky art, as well!