The FM Towns featured video modes ranging from 320×200 to 720×512 resolutions, with 16 to 32,768 simultaneous colours out of a possible 4096 to 16.777 million (depending on the video mode); most of these video modes had two memorypages, and it allowed the use of up to 1024 sprites of 16×16 pixels each. It also had a built-in font ROM for the display of kanji characters.
One unique feature of the FM Towns system was the ability to overlay different video modes; for example, the 320×200 video mode with 32,768 colours could be overlaid with a 640×480 mode using 16 colours, which allowed games to combine high-colour graphics with high-resolution kanji text.
Up to two graphical layers can be overlaid, whether it is two bitmap layers, or the sprite layer with a bitmap background layer. The latter is useful for action games, though the sprite function is not as advanced as that of rival 16-bit computer, the Sharp X68000. When the sprite layer is used, it is rendered to VRAM layer 1 on top, with the bitmap background as VRAM layer 0 below. When two bitmap layers are used, then both are rendered to VRAM layers 0 and 1.