Hello Charlotte Episode 1 is an exploration game made in RPG maker. It is free on itch.io so you can check it for yourself. There is no combat and you only interact with the map, talk with NPCs and avoid 1 or 2 slowly moving enemies. The game took me a bit more than an hour to beat. It is the first game in a series of 4 and other games are also available on Steam and itch.io.
Hello Charlotte have a very good art style that is full of charm. If I had to throw a bunch of buzzwords at you, they would be “Tumblr/Homestuck/YummeNikki/SCP”. The game world seems dark and upsetting, but our main character, Charlotte is a happy goofball. Other NPCs, even if they’re bizarre, seem to like Charlotte and be funny and friendly.
Unfortunately, that’s all there is to like about the game. You advance through the game through a series of riddles from simple to annoying. You need to save a lot because most interactions can kill you without warning. This mechanic has some link to the plot, but it’s tedious. Some deaths have a guro illustration, which is nice, but it might not be to the taste of everyone.
On the art point, only the illustration and the characters are memorable, the map textures are really simple and forgettable when they don’t become annoying. Some maps are supposed to be alien, weird, and dreamy, but they look more like someone copy-pasted random stuff without coherence, and they suffer from comparison to Yume Nikki. The story is almost inexistent, a dozen of plotlines are opened, but only one is closed. It feels like we only brush the world and the story (and we do, it’s the first of 4 games). I wish it would be more constrained.
Overall, the poor gameplay left me with the feeling that this game shouldn’t have been made an RPG Maker, but should be a straight VN. The random deaths, annoying riddles, and the story is only brushed are contributing to making me drop this series at the first installment, despite a cute art style and a world that seem exciting.
Pictures appearing on this article are taken from the itch.io page