ULTRA-INDIE Daily Dose: Hello Charlotte, Working Painful Memories

Hello Charlotte Ep1 is a game by Etherane where you are a puppeteer in the true realm who directs and controls Charlotte who is a doll living in a false realm. Where some stories use free will as a subtext that eats at the hero’s soul Hello Charlotte Ep1 tells you very early on the player is malevolent or not is a looming presence that dominates this girl’s world. The unsettling aspect is how she seems to have normalized the ominous characters that have invaded her life. This predicament quickly takes them backstage as she wanders into a haunted castle full of bloodthirsty teddy bears in search of her cousin.

The controls are what one could expect from an RPG maker game with movement and interacting with items the main form of gameplay. While there are RPG elements in Hello Charlotte Ep1 they take secondary to the item interaction and solving lethal riddles. Hostile enemies move in real-time so it does take some dexterous effort to evade at least for myself who hasn’t played any RPG maker games prior to this one. Failing a riddle of being reached by a hostile will result in instant death and the only way to recover is to load a save file, a feature diegetic to the mechanics of Charlotte’s world. It is good practice to save routinely before making decisions since death is more common than progress.

What is initially apparent is that Hello Charlotte Ep1 is a story-rich title with ambition. As I am writing this there are five installments with a mainline trilogy and two offshoot games. While some may consider RPG Maker as obsolete considering the processing capacity and game engines available. That would be underestimating the strength of these games to tell stories as the spaced dialogue and exploration flows intuitively and storywise they have never been short of pleasing an audience from Omori, Lisa, To The Moon, Undertale, or all the way back to Mother 3. These games don’t pull their punches. That being said this is clearly heading towards some intense emotions if the death scenes weren’t indicative enough. Although if you’re here reading articles at Dread XP it’s likely that’s the show you’re here for. The character portraits and artwork emote with wild sympathy and I can’t deny I felt my pulse start to hammer as the music erupted in terror.

In other words, I’m still on my way to finishing Hello Charlotte Ep1 and I’m already chewing through knots of complicated feelings, perhaps my nostalgia is getting eaten at in my ripe old age of 25. Or maybe it’s there’s something there that the less fortunate can relate to. It’s too late to turn back, I’ll be hitting the rest of this title in future Ultra-Indie reviews.

While the other chapters do ask for the small price of $2.99 as I write this Hello Charlotte Ep1 and the side games are available on Itch.io for free.

If you like what’s here take a look at our Ultra-Indie lineup, we’re always unearthing new gems.