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A decent game with potential

Game being reviewed: Shards of Xar
Engine: RPG Maker VX

I'm dividing my review into 4 sections: Gameplay, music, graphics/mapping, and storyline. The overall score will be based on the scores for the 4 sections.

Gameplay: Since it is an RPG Maker game there are going to be obvious limitations to gameplay variety but, that doesn't mean the gameplay can't be good (this has been disproved countless time by other games). Shards of Xar uses a side-view battle system and implements some other scripts to make the game more enjoyable and complex.

The characters don't have many skills or equipment yet but, it's too early in the game to be judgmental about that. The battle difficulty is well-balanced and I appreciate the use of event-based encounters instead of random encounters.
Other additions such as the monster encyclopedia and keys that open chests show the creator tried to add some variety to his game beyond what was necessary.
The battle system from what I can tell is Tankentai, which is a good side-view system so no complaints there. Tankentai allows for cool-looking battle animations which, the creator definitely used. The battlers are small sprites which look similar to your own character's sprites. This is good because it shows the creator used some custom battlers.

I also like the addition of weapon types not present in the original vx rtp (such as guns). I personally use a lot of rtp in my games and I applaud people who don't... although there's absolutely nothing wrong with rtp. lol.

I'm giving it a score of 4/5. It's simple in some ways so it loses 1 point for that but, it's only a demo so I'm assuming the gameplay will only get better in later versions. I can see potential for this to be a fun game once it gets to the 10 hour mark.

Music: The right music is used at the right time. Some of it sounds like the rtp music though and I can't give a high rating for that. The boss theme for Jerylin was pretty good though. I'm a bit picky when it comes to my music so I'm giving it a score of 3.5/5.

Mapping/Graphics: The opening cutscene was done well. Most people don't put that kind of effort into an opening cutscene (at least lazy ones like myself don't).
The mapping for most areas was simple but, enough B-D tiles were used to keep it from being too bland. The "jumping rocks" are a nice addition. I'm not very picky about mapping and I usually don't notice any small nuances (my own games got negative feedback for poor mapping in the past). So, I'm giving it a 4/5 for mapping.

Story: The story started of pretty simple like most rpgs with the main character going on a training mission. But, this quickly develops into a much bigger plot where the main character's becomes in danger. This is the game's strength. I grow tired of shallow happy stories in games so, I'm happy to see people take a serious approach to storylines. It seems (from what I can tell) that the story will be quite melancholy. You don't get characters like Jerylin that are really messed up in the head but, who you also feel sad for in most games.

There are times when it felt like the story/dialogue was rushed and some lines were cheesy. However, I am quite familiar with how difficult it is to piece together a compelling scene in a game. I cannot critique this game's story too much for that reason. The story seems to be developing well and I hope the creator continues to impress us with his work. I give the story a 4.5/5.

The game is good overall. It is isn't really complex like some games with non-conventional level up systems etc, but, it has enough variety to keep you interested. The story is the strong point of the game and that definitely kept me entertained. It seems a but deeper than the average "evil demon" trying to take over the world plot.

My recommendations would be to stray from the rtp music and maybe put in some music from other rpgs (that's what I'd do in the past) but, it's your call. In my current project I'm using classical music (unconventional but, it works).
as for mapping, I cannot offer many suggestions. Mapping (and scripting) are my weakest areas.

The demo was only 45 minutes long but the creator definitely has a good work in progress. My overall score is 4/5.