Atelier Lydie and Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings (Going Back)

Source: Cashmoneys (My wallet, it weeps. And I ignore it)
Price: £49.99 (Season pass £62.99 (GASP), 21 DLCs ranging from £2.09 to £7.19)
Where To Get It: Steam

Well, since I gave in to the “dangerous to my wallet” urge to get hold of an Atelier game, let’s do a going back on it…

The Atelier JRPG series is, essentially, about cute alchemists and their rise, their personal arcs, and the people that surround them. It’s a series heavy on crafting, with turn based battles, and, sometimes, time limits to the game’s story which mean replaying things on NG+. Yay.

He has, no joke, that bow-chikka-wow. As befits such a handsome devil

Thankfully, Lydie and Suelle is not one of those, being a pretty relaxing game about two young ladies (dorks), their attempts to become the greatest alchemists (and, keep in mind, this game has protagonists from the previous two, Atelier Sophie and Atelier Firis, appearing) in Merveille, in the kingdom of Adalet.

It’s good stuff, with nice, light music, cool characters, and a slow burn to the plot. That may be a turnoff for some folks, that the stakes don’t get raised until the second act, with minimal foreshadowing before that, but honestly… It was nice.

I shouldn’t call this poor man, unable to move on, a trash dad. But at times… Yeah, he’s a trash dad…

It was nice to avoid the plot for a while and just craft things. It was nice to enjoy all the fun side content. And funnily enough, that desire to see more of the characters (even the tsundork Lucia, or Liane and her cheery, yet overbearing love for her sister) actually helped, because this is a game that rewards you for seeing all of the plot, doing all the things. And it does it pretty organically, for the most part. The main story won’t progress until you want it to, and, while later items require later dungeons, the progression feels natural.

As to the combat? Well, it’s an interesting one, because, while Lydie and Suelle themselves are by no means weak, they’re still characters who rely on either their special abilities (which run out when you’re out of MP) or… The items they craft. And the game encourages the latter, while adding a nice little mechanical touch to emphasise this narrative. The characters who later join your party can, before a monster attacks, throw themselves in front of Lydie or Suelle, protecting them, while Lydie and Suelle have good synergies as support characters later on. I still kept Suelle, with her dual pistols (which she admits she demanded to be trained in because it looks cool) in the frontline pretty much throughout, but Lydie, in the backline, helped keep another character alive in rough fights.

You have to appreciate a boss called “Justrun-Foryourlife”, no?

They weren’t joking, either, he’s Givenme-Arunformymoney.

This has been my first experience with the Atelier series, and it’s left me with a good impression. Cuteness, a mostly relaxing loop, slowly rising stakes with a lot of character moments, with interesting characters to fit? Yeah, sign me up for more, ta!

Cute alchemists should rule the world. Send tweet.

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