Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings Review
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is the final installment of the “Mysterious” series, also making it the 19th edition of the Atelier series. Published by Koei Tecmo and developed by Gust, the Atelier series heavily focuses on the use of Alchemy. With that and the combination of a wonderful cast of characters, set in a vividly bright world with your typical, but well played, JRPG tropes, we are given a great experience for lovers of the genre.
The game follows twin Alchemists, Lydie and Suelle, as they aim to achieve their goal of being the best Atelier in the kingdom. It’s no easy feat with both being rookies in the craft and having little help from their father who tends to spend the household’s funds. The twins are determined to earn some money through their, unfortunately, failing Atelier shop; however great news has come from the Royal Kingdom. Announcing a new ranking system for ateliers, those who qualify can now begin receiving financial aid depending on their level and of course, our heroines have high dreams of reaching the much coveted ‘S’ rank.
In order to move to the top of the ranks, you will have to pass an exam, however before you can even take part in it, you will have to further advance your reputation as an Atelier. In order to move forward, we are provided with plenty of ideas in Suelle’s notebook on how to do this, whether it be speaking with the locals, fighting monsters or even creating specific items with alchemy.
“The gameplay is a bit dull at first, however once you obtain more characters, it certainly becomes more interesting.”
Alchemy did you say? Why yes, the Atelier series has a distinguishing theme of Alchemy, in which players will roam around the game world to collect herbs, items and other things to create new objects. Taking the gathered items back to Lydie and Suelle’s small atelier and propping yourself in front of their trusty cauldron, you will be able to craft many things from cooking ingredients, tools, armor and so much more. You can learn new recipes in a number of different ways to expand your arsenal. Some of them will be unlocked during the story and others can be discovered by reading books. Most of the recipes, however, can only be unlocked by triggering specific actions in-game. Fortunately for us, unlocking these isn’t terribly difficult as the recipe book will give us clues on what we will need to do.
Something that is very unique to this game is the special “mysterious” paintings that you will eventually find. These paintings, having been created by Alchemists from long ago, will allow you to travel inside and explore whilst gathering more ingredients and fighting monsters. The maps you will explore are really interesting and provide a lot of variances as you will visit vibrant and interesting places like a Halloween area, an abandoned ice palace, and even an underwater environment, to name a few. The watercolor-esque paints that border and dot around the edges of the screen as your party enters a painting also add a warm feeling as though you really are playing through art.
There are many places you can visit outside of town and while the world may not be as big as Atelier Firis, it certainly is much larger than the area of Atelier Sophie. It may seem like a step back for some, as we would hope the game worlds would become larger with the next upcoming games. With the inclusion of the new eye-catching maps, we can access through the paintings, it really brings the game somewhat back up to par.
“With its liberal utilization of brilliant hues, playful melodic tones and exceedingly enthusiastic characters make for a pleasant and light hearted experience.”
Combat is simple at its best and is a standard turn-based system.The gameplay is a bit dull at first, however, once you obtain more characters, it certainly becomes more interesting. When you have enough party members, you will be able to form two lines, a front and back row. Characters in the front row will do the attacking while those who are in the back act as supports. Activating certain conditions will allow our support characters to perform extra follow-up attacks which can be used to turn the tide of battle.
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is the sort of game that is best played when one simply needs to take a break. Its liberal utilization of brilliant hues, playful melodic tones and exceedingly enthusiastic characters make for a pleasant and light-hearted experience. Having to run around the map chasing down ingredients is actually quite endearing and the combat system is varied enough that the process doesn’t become too bland. There are a few hits and a few misses with this entry as it doesn’t really do anything innovative and stays quite close to the usual Atelier formula. Old fans of the series will most likely enjoy this entry just as much as the previous ones and any newcomers will be able to pick this up quite quickly and will have a good understanding of what the series is about.
*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***
- Beautiful environments
- Use of Alchemy and Synthesizing items is incredibly fun
- Wonderful Character designs
- A cheery and upbeat cast of characters
- Battles can become repetitive
- Game map not as large as Atelier Firis
- Overall gameplay isn’t innovative