Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World

The Atelier series of games are one of Gust’s longest-running franchises. This JRPG franchise first arrived in North America in 2005 but has been around in Japan since 1997. These games center around alchemy, where the player needs to gather various items to synthesize into more useful quest items. They tend to be light hearted in tone and are filled with humor that isn’t too risque or lowbrow. There are currently nineteen titles in the mainline series and several other games that are considered side adventures.The newest installment, Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World, fits into the latter category.

Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World begins with players stepping into the shoes of the titular Nelke, an aristocrat arriving at a new town. Nelke is escorted by her maid, though despite her upper class background and the employment of servants, she’s presented as being a caring, kindhearted person as the game tries to make her into a likable character who doesn’t suffer from class related arrogance. She meets other villagers soon after her arrival, most notably Knoss who is basically in charge of things and Hagel, the head carpenter and Pamela, the traveling merchant who wants to set up shop in town.

One of the problems Nelke runs into is she needs the assistance of several talented alchemists in order to have the village grow and prosper to the degree she desires. In order to attract them she needs to build up the village into a community that will attract people with the talents she needs and first order of business is to build Pamela a shop. After the lengthy introductory dialogue sequence it becomes apparent a major part of Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World village construction and management. The player guides Nelke in developing the village by deciding where to construct different buildings and who she wants to put in charge of running them, all of which requires resources and money to get things off the ground and keep things running.

The passage of time divides the day into weekdays and holidays where different events are available. Weekdays seem to be regular days where the town needs to be monitored to keep things running and holidays grant the player more freedom to check in on the various residents and businesses or venture out and explore the areas around town. The excursions out of town takes Nelke and her party of travel companions down an automated path where they gather materials and occasionally fight the nastier inhabitants of the area. Combat is turn based and seems to be standard fair to anyone who is familiar with JRPGs.

During the brief demo with Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World it was difficult to determine what the full game will be like, since actual playtime lasted about 45 minutes which is barely enough time to get past the intro in an JRPG and in many cases not even sufficient for that. From what we have experienced in this brief session it seems the focus is mostly on developing the town and the exploration and battle is secondary. While the gameplay seems different than mainline Atelier games, the sound, graphics, dialogue and overall tone seems as authentic to the Atelier universe as any other title in the series.