Magical mercantile JRPG Atelier Lydie & Suelle out now

Ultima Weapon, moonlighting between Final Fantasies?

Fans of twee and exceedingly anime games are well served today. Recent years have seen Gust’s 20-year-running Atelier series come to PC en masse, JRPGs that juggle traditional adventuring and dungeon crawling with puzzle-based crafting and shop management.

Today, Atelier Lydie & Suelle ~The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings~ (to give it it’s full, headline-bloating title) is out on PC. The latest in the Atelier line and the last of the ‘Mysterious’ sub-trilogy which first made its PC debut early last year.

Silly high-fantasy fashion, pastel colours and the Power of Friendship are order of the day here, all glued together with a relatively traditional turn-based combat engine, and the Atelier series’ less ordinary mercantile and crafting mechanics. It’s two parts boilerplate, one part gaming comfort food for the Magical Girl Adventure crowd.

The story this time revolves around a gallery of magical paintings, stumbled upon by young alchemists Lydie and Suelle, sisters and co-owners of the local magical equipment shop. By travelling into the worlds within these paintings, they’re able to gather rare and powerful materials to use in their crafting and potion-brewing, as well as fighting monsters to beat extra ingredients out of.

Monster-slaying and extradimensional travel being cornerstones of the game, things escalate quickly, and it looks like the protagonists of the previous two games join the party early on. The end result is larger-scale combat involving a tag-team of three heroes out in front, and the other three supporting, plus the new feature of mid-battle crafting adding even more options.

While initial reviews for Atelier Lydie & Suelle seem positive enough, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this is a poorly timed release, coming in just days after the release of Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom, which looks almost immeasurably higher-budget, with its own creative takes on both combat and management. While neither seem to be earthshattering, JRPG-redefining experiences, one definitely seems to have an edge here.

Atelier Lydie & Suelle is priced at £44/54€/$54 on Steam, which is admittedly a bit steep for the UK and EU, although in line with Koei’s usual pricing. One additional note: Presumably to save money on localization, the game’s audio is Japanese-only, although the text is obviously translated.

13 Comments

  1. Godwhacker says:

    Jesus fucking Christ.

    • lglethal says:

      Yes, my son?

    • geldonyetich says:

      From what I hear, Atelier Lydie & Suelle is actually a pretty strong quality gameplay experience JRPG, with only vaguely incestuous lesbian implications.

      • Rince says:

        Okay, lately I’m reading a lot of Mochi Au Lait works, so you got my attention with the incestuous lesbianism.
        I guess that after skipping Firis I would gonna get this game.
        And if I don’t find any incestuous lesbians I would be very disappointed and it’s gonna be all your fault.

        • geldonyetich says:

          If scantly clad twins can’t descend into a magical world of a painting in a JRPG without the developers being unable to resist teasing at least a vague undertone of lampshaded incestuousness, then I just don’t understand Japan as much as I thought I did.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    To me, “Mercantile JRPG” just makes me think of Recettear. I wonder if this is at all similar.

    • ramshackabooba says:

      Well this series goes back like 20 years so perhaps Recettear was inspired by it. Basically in most of these games you’re an apprencice alchemist. The main part of the game is crafting, you go out to gather ingredients (by harvesting and/or killing mobs), then head back to your lab (atelier) and make stuff with it. You have missions to make items, and as you progress into the game the crafting system becomes more and more complex, with components having different properties, effects, attributes, quality. So in the beginning someone may ask you to make 5 brownies, but later one someone may ask you for 2 brownies of exceptional quality that make you regain health and cure poison, for example. Also the crafting system is not just ‘gather items and combine’, there is an actual process where things change depending on when and how you add the components and what components you use.

      I love these games, specially the crafting part.

      • lordcooper says:

        What makes for the best entry point?

        • wraithgr says:

          Just on the strength of their nicheness, I would say one of the older titles that has a healthy discount. You don’t want to drop £44 on a title only to find the sub-sub-genre it defines is not for you. I bounced off these pretty hard a while back even though I really like the concept on paper, so mileage definitely varies by person with these…

        • Rince says:

          I would say Atelier Sophie. It’s cheap. (Half the price of your regular Koei game, even cheaper if you also are interested in Nights of Azure.)
          And while I haven’t finished it yet, I can say that’s a lovely game. With lots of cute characters, turn based battles, crafting and slice-of-life goodness.

  3. LW says:

    I played one of these on DS, and it was the hottest of garbage; empty crafting system, barebones combat, characters that were assembled out of tropes. Haven’t had the nerve to test if that was an outlier or not.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’ve never played anything in this series, so I certainly couldn’t tell you. But DS got some shockingly bad entries in otherwise decent series (along with some solid classics, to be fair). For example, the infamous Lunar: Dragon Song. (See the clever “DS” in the name? Do ya?)