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Nelke And The Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers Of The New World

Posted by GG Goblin On April - 10 - 2019

Can too many alchemists spoil the broth?

The Atelier games have been around for 25 years, a considerable achievement for a game series that is still not what you would call mainstream here in the UK. Still, over the past 25 years, there have been Ateliers of this and that, and Alchemists of here and there, and an incredibly dedicated fan base has built up around the coming of age JRPGs. And so, to celebrate this milestone, Gust decided to try their hand at something a little different, a game that exists in a completely different genre to all of the rest. A bold move, for sure, but a move that allows the developers to cram in characters from all of the previous Atelier titles, which is just the sort of celebration that 25 years deserves.

nelke1 (Copy)

Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World has that familiar overly long title that fans of the series will recognise, but from there on out things are very different. For starters, the main character Nelke has absolutely no skill or interest in alchemy, which may come as quite a shock. Instead, Nelke is all about administration, and in this case, city planning. Nelke is of noble birth and wants to prove herself, in that coming of age way that fits in with all of the other Atelier games, by turning the village of Westwald into a profitable city. It’s a mighty ambition, and one that will take a lot of work. There are some other motivations going on here, but they very much take second place to the all consuming need to turn a profit.

So, Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists is more of a city building game than anything else, and Nelke isn’t an alchemist. Do not fear though, Atelier fans, as the game is absolutely dripping with other alchemists, as characters from all of the previous games in the series make an appearance to help Nelke out, as is the way in Atelier games. It’s all very friendly and as all of these different characters from different worlds come together, the emphasis is all about putting them to work in the most efficient way. There may be some disappointment from fans when their favourite past character turns up and doesn’t get a massive amount of screen time, but there are a lot of characters to get through.

Nelke’s time is split between two different types of task. There are work tasks and holiday tasks, and Nelke will only have limited time slots to take care of what she needs to to ensure the continued growth and prosperity of the town, and there will not be enough time to get everything done. This is where the urgency of the game comes in, as some tasks offered are of a mandatory nature and failing to complete them will lead to a game over. However, for the most part, Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists is a relaxing game, maybe more so than any previous Atelier title.

nelke2 (Copy)

This is partly down to the more hands off approach for the player. While a large amount of the time playing the game will be spent working through menus, going out on an expedition during the holiday time, in order to explore and gather materials, is a bit more immediate. However, rather than wandering a nice open area, Nelke and her party will move automatically along a chosen path, hopefully to the end of the area if time permits. This is all done automatically, as is the collecting of materials along the way. Players can interact by choosing to run if they wish, but risk leaving behind valuable resources and getting into more fights. Even the combat takes a much more laid back approach, with some turn-based encounters that can be resolved automatically if the player wants even less involvement.

Outside of these expeditions, players will spend their holiday time on research of building up relationships with the other characters. Players will have to choose carefully how to spend their time for the best effect. For the work time though, that time management is even more important as the player will not only have to decide what buildings to build, from the likes of Ateliers, stores, landmarks and farms, and then who to set to work in these buildings, but also they will have various quests to work towards and time limits to reach. Quests that come in from Nelke’s father are the most important, but other quests can offer great rewards and so should be watched. A successful city will need a good income, and so the player will find themselves organising what the alchemists can make with the materials available, and then putting them up for sale in the shops. Different characters are better at some things over others, and so the player will also need to ensure they are in the right job and doing the right things to make the most of them. For such a laid back game, it can get  a little overwhelming at times once the city starts to grow.

Aside from being a completely different type of game, Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists fits in well with all of the other games in the series. The visual style follows suit, and the overall friendliness of the game makes it feel like an Atelier game. It’s all very nice and quaint, as an Atelier game should be.

nelke3 (Copy)

Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World may be a spin off from the main Atelier series, but it has all of the qualities that an Atelier fan would want. It’s not a complicated game, and the player will be more hands off than usual, but there is something very compelling about building up the city and keeping everything ticking over. Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists is an unusual but welcome addition to the Atelier series.




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