If you’ve read my column, you know the Atelier series is one of my guilty pleasures. I’ve been playing these games since Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, which was the series’ debut in North America. It’s hard to believe these niche games centered on alchemy have been coming to our shores for more than 20 years now. The Atelier games have found their calling with coming-of-age stories and item synthesis. The engaging loop of building up my alchemy skills, interacting with eccentric villagers, and earning recognition as an alchemist has kept me hooked all these entries later. However, with annualized releases, the quality of these games has been all over the board. Games like Atelier Totori and Atelier Meruru have shined, while the latest entry, Atelier Firis, left much to be desired.
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Paintings is hoping to make the right changes. This entry takes us to a colorful, artistic world, where sisters jump through paintings to connect with their deceased mother. The main protagonists are twins Lydie and Suelle, who are hoping to help their father and take the alchemy business to the next level. Lydie is the older twin and likes to go at her own pace and think things through. Suelle is the opposite – she’s more tomboyish, full of energy, and sports guns. The game still focuses on the daily life of interacting with villagers and gathering ingredients, but Lydie and Suelle can jump into paintings for more fantastical locales, from a gloomy Halloween-inspired forest to an ethereal flower garden with raining stars. This allows them to obtain rare ingredients and learn more about their mother.
With the release date at the end of the month, I was fortunate to get an early build to show off an early portion of the game. Part of what I love about Grind Time is providing people the opportunity to see niche games they’re unfamiliar with in action before release. You can watch the video below, where I’m joined by Brian Shea and Leo Vader, to see for yourself.
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Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Paintings launches on March 27 for PS4, Switch, and PC.