The Atelier industrial complex has rolled out another JRPG about an insufferably optimstic young anime girl brewing potions and beating up local wildlife. Atelier Sophie 2 is the sequel to 2015's original, and the latest in the series since Atelier Ryza 2 launched almost exactly a year ago.
This time, Sophie has fallen into a dream in which none of her friends remember her, though the dreamworld setting doesn't seem to change the core of what you're doing. You still gather ingredients, craft things via the "Synthesis" system, and battle stuff. The turn-based battles have become increasingly refined in recent iterations of Atelier and now trigger seamlessly within the game world.
I could have sworn that the first Atelier Sophie only came out last year, but that was Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX, a definitive edition re-release of the 2015 original. While since 2015 there have been many other Atelier games with new protagonists, several of them do narratively connect to form the "Mysterious" series, as per the use of the word in the subtitle. Last year's Ryza 2 was part of the "Secret" storyline, so Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist Of The Mysterious Dream is the first in the "Mysterious" since 2017's Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists And The Mysterious Paintings.
Does any of this matter? Not really. These are games in which you craft stuff, whack stuff, explore an anime village which has become prettier overtime, and often hang out with a likeable group of characters. Ed was fond of the last game, charitably describing it as "unapologetically anime."
Honestly, these are games I've dabbled in, because I like the idea of a colourful, chill alchemy 'em up, but it feels like I'd need another life to invest in 'em fully. If you've got that spare life to hand, you can grab it from Steam now for £50/€60/$60.