Its been a long time since I have written anything or played games consistently for that matter. The idea of powering on my PS4, Vita or Switch just seemed like such an extra step that made it not worth it. However, gaming is a hobby I love and quite frankly nothing was catching my eye to play. You guys aren’t here for that though so I’m going to give a quick blurb about this game that I’m currently 30 hours into.
What is it?
If you are familiar with the Atelier series, its a game designed around schedules and crafting items in your little atelier workshop. Usually the shop was headed by an inquisitive and lighthearted young woman looking to become a great alchemist and make a name for herself in her new community. This, is not that game.
This game is a Atelier fan service game that is a city builder sim in the same vein as Animal Crossing. The draw is that the game includes EVERY protagonist from the Atelier series as well as Mana Khemia. There may be another series in there that I am forgetting but that is the gist.
You are an administrator named Nelke who is accompanied by her faithful maid, Misty. Nelke is a recent graduate from school who is in charge of developing a rural town named Westwald into a bustling and successful city. You are also a curious explorer who wants to investigate the legend of the Sage of Granzweit and the mysterious tree that no one has ever seen. Since the legend originated in Westwald it became the perfect place to set up shop. It just so happens that the moment you arrive, mysterious alchemists, that were rare in this world, started showing up en mass to help you reach your goals.
The story is bare bones but it is just enough to keep you motivated to continue. The Atelier games never had the most complex stories so expect more cuteness and fan service nods to continue.
How Does it Work?
Community simulators can vary on how they want you to manage your town or city but this one has you managing the construction of different ateliers, boutiques, shops, weapons stores and places to gather in town. You have to decide which items to sell, which things to grow and which items for your alchemists to synthesize. All the while watching sales charts and being mindful of the deadline looming in the distance.
In a way, all the systems can be rather complex so pay attention to the tutorials that are given early. After a while you will be managing your city like a pro while watching the sales figures rise and fall.
The city sim elements are broken up by an on rails combat systems that allows for turn based combat but you do not have full control over the models. This is also one of the ways to gather new materials so it important to explore regularly. There is also a research tab that requires you to use the alchemists that come to town to create new items. So instead of doing it yourself, the alchemists come with items that you need to harvest materials for to make new items.
Did I mention the social sim part? Yea there is a social sim where in the “free time” portion of the game you have to have conversations with the various cast members to raise their friendship levels. Doing so allows for their levels to be high enough to participate in the research for new items. These conversations can also open up special landmarks to add to the beauty and viability of your town. The only downside is that you have to split this time between socializing and exploring which means you may not get as much time to gather materials on your own or make it to the end of the investigation area.
There are a lot more systems I could get in depth about but I haven’t finished the game just yet. All in all, I am enjoying my time with the game. It has ignited my passion for gaming again and that was what I really wanted. I love the Atelier games and I’m enjoying seeing the past characters that I loved in their games. I am enjoying watching my town grow and managing things. I’m thinking about my next play through or even post game. If you haven’t picked it up but you enjoy the Atelier games and city sim games then I think you will enjoy it.