The Atelier series has been around for years, but it seemed to reach a larger audience with Atelier Ryza. It's a crafting-heavy JRPG with Extremely Anime character designs, and its sequel, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy, is out now.
I had a go at Ryza 1 last year, and it really is crafting heavy - and charming, with it. That game was set in a small village and spent a lot of time building up its core gang of friends. It's also anime as heck though, and I drifted away from it fairly quickly. Bigger JRPG fans than me enjoyed it plenty though, as in Steven Wright's review for us:
Overall, I don’t think Atelier Ryza is the kind of game that’s going to change many minds. Though it ended up surprising me, I would argue that I’m the prime audience for it: a lifelong JRPG fan who enjoys dabbling in games with light sim mechanics. If you can look past its obvious pacing issues - and some of its more gratuitous character designs - Atelier Ryza is a solid slice of JRPG comfort food that goes down easy and might just leave you asking for more. If you’re part of that in-group - and you likely know if you are - you’re in for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Ryza 2 continues the story three years after the events from the first game, "and depicts the reunion of Ryza and her friends." There's turn-based combat, grapple-hooking exploration, workshop interior decorating, and impractical asymmetric costume designs. I'm going to make Ed review it.
Atelier Ryza 2 is out now on Steam, where it costs £50/€60/$60.