The Grey Rainbow is a 2013 point and click flash game/visual novel based on a short story by Vlatsko, who also did the design for the game.
A detective lives in a dreary, melancholy world where everything is gray, when he's inexplicably spirited off to a colorful world filled with magic, but is close to the same fate as his world, losing its color and magic. Tasked by the queen to speak to the spirit of the mountain, the detective must help to prevent the coming grayness. Along the way, he's forced to ask questions about life and morality as he understands it.
Can be played here.
Tropes featured in this work:
- Anthropomorphic Personification: The Lady of the Mountains is one not just to the mountains, but to the world and to all that has ever existed.
- Bittersweet Ending: The detective is brought back to his world and is given the items he acquired in his quest and uses them to plant the flower he grew in the color world, using the color to help them become more lively and potentially restore some magic. The world still remains gray and bleak, but people look on in fascination and he seems to have found love at the end.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The Wizzard does a better job at calling himself evil than he actually does proving it.
- Contemplate Our Navels: For a fantasy tale, there's an awful lot of philosophizing in the game, on the nature of magic, life, death, morality, and the loss of innocence and wonder.
- Cool Old Guy: The old man you meet in Happytown. He's a retired adventurer, one of the founders of Happytown, accompanies the detective on his journey into the desert (saving his life several times along the way), and lets the stay in his house while he nurtures the flower for six months.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Tree of Death, while frightening, is really just a force of nature and a part of the cycle of life.
- A Dog Named "Dog": Lampshaded. Dwarfy P. Frawd is the name of the dwarf the detective meets. The "P." doesn't stand for anything.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Mr. Squirrel first drinks a happiness potion to briefly move on from Mrs. Squirrel cheating on him, then eventually turns to alcohol to the point where the bartender has to stop ser
- Everything Talks: Almost everything, anyway. Trees, rabbits, clouds, squirrels ... averted, however, with the phoenix, which only speaks to the detective in a dream.
- Gray-and-Grey Morality: Puns aside, there's generally little in the way of right or wrong in this universe. For instance, the detective has to trap a rat that's been stealing food from the rabbits. Later on, should the detective try to justify his actions, the Lady of the Mountains will tell him that the rat had its own family to feed, and that without it, they died.
- Harmless Villain: The Wizzard, though his only real villainy is saying he's a villain, but is easily disturbed by anything he deems as too evil, even if it's something as minor as never turning out the lights. He never actually tries to hurt anyone.
- Interspecies Romance: Dwarfy is the offspring of a dwarf and a giant.
- The Magic Goes Away: It's stated that this is a natural consequence of the worlds turning to gray, as color contains magic in it. That there's shades of gray on the rainbow in the second world is a bad sign.
- Meaningful Name: The woman that the detective, aka Tom, meets at the end is named Scarlett. Earlier, it's explained that red is the color required for love magic, and scarlet is a form of red.
- Sdrawkcab Name: "Dwarfy P. Frawd".
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The game stands somewhere in the middle. While there's plenty of bright colors, cheerful and cute imagery, and it has an overall positive message, there's still the matter of that looming grayness that threatens to sap all the magic out of the world, as well as questions about whether there's truly any right or wrong.
- Sugar Bowl: Downplayed with Happytown. Despite its name being rather on-the-nose, there's a squirrel who turns to alcoholism because he caught his wife cheating on him with another squirrel and the unnamed old man has a heartbreaking backstory.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The detective is horrified when the Lady of the Mountains kills the phoenix in front of him to the point where he leaves.