Cooking up a storm.
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is the 19th game in the Atelier series produced by Japanese developers Gust, and the first to hit the Nintendo Switch. It’s also my first time delving into the series as well, but could a new platform and a fresh set of eyes leave a positive response on quite an ageing series?
The story focuses on Lydie and Suelle Marlen who live with their father and are dealing with the loss of their Mother, to whom the twins promised they would make their Atelier the finest in the Kingdom of Melveille. However, the girls are still very young and naive and lack the skills of a more advanced Atelier – with that in mind, they seek a tutor to teach them new skills.
They soon come across the Atelier Ranking System, a new system brought into the kingdom where budding alchemists are given a series of tasks to complete in order to climb the ranks and officially be deemed the best alchemists in the land. They soon realise, however, that they are far too out of their depth.
Gameplay here is very easy to get used to – you’re sent out into the city to try and find requests that people would like you to take care of. Once you know what items you need you can go back to the Atelier and find out what ingredients you need. Then you can head out to various locations, such as a forest or a beach, grab the ingredients you need to craft the item and complete the quest.
It’s not all just focused on the crafting, however – there are enemies outside of the city that will attack you. Thankfully Lydie & Suelle are readily able to fight! Battles take a very simplistic turn-based tone here – you select your attacks and then your enemies will attack you back. You can swap between melee attacks and magic attacks in order to best your foes – the battling, in my opinion, was one of the weaker aspects of the game as there was nothing to make it stand out. I would often find myself mindlessly pressing the A button to get through these battles as quickly as possible.
One of my favourite things about Atelier Lydie & Suelle is the growth and personality of the two titular characters, they have well written and quirky personalities that work well between the two characters – you definitely get the feeling of seeing how two siblings would react with one another in quirky situations and the amusing dialogue between the two feels real. Sadly this doesn’t pass on to other characters with the remainder of the cast feeling somewhat dull and aren’t really expanded upon enough.
Atelier Lydie & Suelle is a reasonably good game but it has one major flaw: performance. The game feels like it’s been horrendously optimised for the Switch – environments and characters seem poorly detailed and the frame rate has some rather heavy drops, especially in enemy heavy environments. In a lot of cases this really did hinder my experience with the game but, otherwise, Atelier Lydie & Suelle is a fairly decent JRPG that may not really stand out amongst other JRPGs, but will be well worth your time if you enjoy the series.