Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists is a new title in the famous series, this time bringing a lot of the previous titles’ alchemists to the party. Learn more about this great game in our Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World Review!
A spin-off in the Atelier franchise featuring characters from past games.
The game focuses on town building and management.
The main character is not an alchemist, unlike the main games in the franchise, but she can work with them and let them manage an atelier in town making it their own.
Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists – Ateliers of the New World Trailer
The story of this game is about Nelke, who was able to convince her father to let her leave the capital, in exchange for helping to make the village of Westwald prosper. She thusly arrives there as the new Administrator that will need to make the village grow, but also with the goal of discovering the Sage Relic that’s rumored to be near this village. What she didn’t know before arriving at the village is that her father would appoint her to complete some specific tasks to make sure the village does prosper, with some deadlines to make sure things actually get done on time!
This brings us to how the game is played. The majority of the Atelier games are built around the fact that you have certain objectives to complete, some mandatory and some optional, before a certain deadline in the game, otherwise it’s game over. This concept is back with Nelke, where your tasks will generally revolve around making the population grow to a certain number, generate a certain income and build some facilities.
There is a distinction between the work days and holidays. On work days, you’ll be able to manage your town, so it will be possible to build new facilities, assign people to jobs, stores so that they can sell items, or ateliers where synthesis can happen. On holidays, you’ll be able to visit key people in town to build better bonds with them, or go and investigate the different regions of the map, to gather resources and maybe find some clues about that Sage Relic you’re looking for.
Investigations are a bit different this time around when compared to your usual Atelier game. Instead of freely roaming on a map to gather resources, you’re instead greeted to a timed scene where your characters will automatically either walk or run. If you walk, you’ll automatically gather materials but might not reach the end of the investigation in time, and might miss a treasure. If you run, you have a better chance of getting to the end, but the odds for enemy encounters will be higher. If you do encounter them, you’ll be playing it out in turn-based battles, typical to the Atelier series or to a lot of JRPGs, but I found them to be quite rare even when running.
Once you’re back to work after some investigations, you’ll see the cycle gradually repeating itself as you take more and more turns. Nelke is not an alchemist, but the more you advance in the game, the more alchemists you will recruit, all coming from previous Atelier titles. You’ll be able to build ateliers and assign alchemists to them, and you can task them to do synthesis for specific items. Synthesis in this game is much simpler than in other Atelier releases, where you just assign a single item to an alchemist, and as long as you have the required materials, they’ll keep on making them during each game turn. With those items being worked on, you can now assign other people to stores, where they’ll be able to sell them in to increase the town’s income. After each week in the game, you’ll get a report on the population and earnings, whether they’ve grown or not, and some hints on where you might be lacking some assignments to make the next week better.
The colorful visual style of just about every Atelier game is back for this one, so it’s nothing highly detailed and stellar in terms of graphic, but still an enjoyable and colorful animated experience. Since you’re not actually controlling your character around the map, and also the fact that the whole town management is mostly menu based, there isn’t much to say about this.
Having played a lot of the recently released Atelier titles, I started this game expecting yet another entry in the main series, so I sorta had expected something that would remind me of previous experiences. That idea quickly faded away as I realized that the whole synthesis and gathering elements of the game were pretty much a streamlined version, removing all the complexity of it in favor of a more fast-paced experience. Instead, the emphasis was on the town management, which I found really enjoyable and a nice change of pace. At first, it was a bit slow to pick up since the tutorial introduction was really taking it’s time to put all the elements into place, but once that was done, the planning became a lot of fun, and I was actually glad of the simplicity of the aforementioned elements.
Trophy-wise, this shouldn’t be a difficult Platinum to obtain since you can continue playing with no time restrictions after beating the main tasks of the game, but doing things like dispatching 3000 expeditions or accumulating at least 10 million in earnings at once, well, those will simply take a lot of time!
I’ve been quite surprised at the fun there is to have with this title. It’s a different experience than what other Atelier titles provide, but there is no doubt that fans of the series will love it, especially with all the returning cast. It could probably also appeal to fans of management games since it’s the core of this game.
PSN Price: $59.99
This Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists – Ateliers of the New World Review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by KOEI TECMO.