Palette is one of the classic games in the freeware Japanese horror genre and was released in 2000 with the help of RPG Maker 95. The game was also awarded as part of the ASCII Entertainment Software Contest which led to a PlayStation Japanese version entitled Forget me not -Palette- which had a similar premise to the freeware version although had some notable differences and tweaks.
Like many horror titles released from RPG Maker Palette is highly focused on creating an atmosphere through pacing, dialogue and general setting to ensure there is still sufficient horror despite the simple game engine. Ultimately told over 50 scenes players explore a story in Palette that centres around players helping an amnesic girl referred to as B.D. Your role in this adventure is as Shianosu B. Shian who is a well known psychiatrist who is reluctantly coerced at gunpoint into helping the girl one late night at the office.
For the most part though players control B.D. in her own dream world that is made up of mazes, puzzles and passages that have been designed for exploration and discovery. Amnesia features heavily throughout this adventure with themes of lost memories littered throughout the environment and story telling scenes.
There are two primary game modes in Palette with the main one focused on this exploration as you explore and move between the available maps in a black and white colour palette with various brightly coloured objectives to draw your attention. During this mode each step into a new map or hitting a barrier will slowly decrease the gauge on the side of the screen which when it reaches zero players will be sent back out to Shian’s office (due to B.D. complaining about a headache). Players are able to dive back into memories after a short delay though with this mechanic more of a story telling mechanic than an actual gameplay interference.
The second game mode is activated when you inspect objects in the first gameplay mode which alters the world around you and gives you the chance to begin restoring memories, a key step in the ultimate advancement of the story. In this mode you’ll find examined objects framed by a white line while the surrounding world takes on a different sepia tone of colours.
Utilising each of these game modes players you’ll slowly acquire shreds of memories with nearly two dozen of these that are unlocked by examining specific objects at certain points of the story progress. Piecing these together with the broader scenes you’ll recover memories and the accidental events that have led B.D. into your office originally. With the game translated by vgperson into English (the translation brain behind many of the popular Japanese horror game translations) Palette is now accessible to a larger audience that appreciates the RPG Maker horror niche.
- An award winning freeware title that explores a horror theme and was developed in RPG Maker.
- Piece together the lost memories of your patient a young girl that goes by the name of B.D.
- Two unique game modes that alter the game world to give you a different perspective of your surroundings.
- Obtain all the shreds of memories as you progress through dozens of game scenes that slowly restore your memory of events.
- Free to play title that was later developed into a Japanese PlayStation title.
Review Platform: PC