Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World

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Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World – Review

‘Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World’ is one of our newest Jap-anime games developed by Gust to be released to the Nintendo Switch, after numerous other consoles. Speaking to my general weeb self, I just had to give it a look. This game is a spin off from a very popular, 20-year-old series ‘Atelier’. With the Altelier franchise famously being an RPG dream, how does this game stand itself from the others?

The game opens with you being introduced to Nelke Von Lestamm, a rich aristocrat sent to manage and develop this small village of Vestabalt. Sent by her father, it is your job as her to micro manage the people, their resources and your time to build a thriving economy and productive hub. Nelke, while lacking any sort of actual alchemy talent, does however have an interest in it and will often find herself out exploring and searching for a magical relic amongst monster filled forests.

This game will not be for everyone, and certainly not even some of the fans of the original Altelier games as it is just so different from what you would expect. Essentially it plays very much like a building simulator much like twisted amalgamation of Farmville and Sim City, far right wing compared to their other titles. It does have a lot of menus to sift through and to master but it isn’t very difficult as a tutorial like beginning, steps you through it for a considerable amount of time.

The game is split up into ‘weekdays’ and ‘weekends’. On the weekdays you construct new establishments for people you integrate into your town, and to manage resources. This is also the time where you have new shops to be built with cooldowns before they can be accessed or instruct an alchemist to use recipes using ingredients collected to be sold in stores.

it’s quite motivating once you get your head around the overwhelming number of menus to manage

During the weekends you can go on ‘investigations’ to expand and search the lands around your village for much needed resources. This is where you may run into the only mild action in the game, as you don’t even get to control your characters as they walk through the surrounding environment of the town. This will lead you to stumble upon some turn based fighting, and while this is clunkily put together, it adds that refreshment you need. Battles are a tad awkward due to confusing but not hard mechanics and it is almost a shame to attack the monsters since they are so darn cute. Weekends are also the times you can visit other NPC’s and establish those muchly not needed bonds. They don’t really add too story wise, other than more reading, but they do unlock buildings and other events.

This game has a lot of dialogue, much of it not incredibly interesting, but I was torn between skipping it (which is an option) or missing out information about your next objective. There is a lot to shift through with so much being unnecessary to the story being told, and the plot points that are relevant to be brutal honest, are not that noteworthy anyway. I find too much talk can be a mood killer, even in a narrative-driven game.

The graphics are definitely quirky and notable to say the least. There is a mixture of cartoon cutscenes mixed in with 2D Japanese art and even 3D character model gameplay when enter the investigation walks and fighting. I appreciate a game that goes above and beyond with graphical detail and this one is definitely a refreshing change to most western games.

The music is very folkish with lots of flutes and general whimsical overt cheeriness. Very cute at the start, but as I progressed through the game, lower and lower the volume went, as I felt like I was gradually falling into an episode of Playschool.

Overall, Nelke and the Alchemists: AOFNW isn’t a bad game, for a building simulator, it’s quite motivating once you get your head around the overwhelming number of menus to manage. Watching your little community prosper is actually quite satisfying enough to me to not really care about the lacklustre story that is attached to it. The turn-based fighting while mediocre was a welcome element to break up the gameplay and gives you that much needed break from all the dialogue. This game is a shock to the Atelier franchise, but the question is… is that necessarily a bad thing?

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The Good

  • Spin off from the original RPG series ‘Atelier’
  • A muchly needed and tight tutorial process
  • Turn based fighting breaks up the game flow in a good way, adding refreshment
  • Beautiful mixture of graphics and cartoon anime design

The Bad

  • Spin off from the original RPG series ‘Atelier’
  • A lot of menus to juggle
  • A lot of dialogue to get through
  • Confusing fighting mechanics
  • Plot is not interesting enough to be motivating

Written by: Stacey

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