Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings Review (Switch)on April 17, 2018 by Mitch Jay
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is a very long name for a game, isn’t it? But that’s the same with all Atelier games and, like all Atelier games, this entry shares much in common with its predecessors, and is a great end to the Mysterious trilogy.
In the Mysterious trilogy, Lydie & Suelle is the strongest entry. Following the twin sisters as they work towards their goal of having the best atelier in the country, their erratic father is of little help but his paintings in the closed-off basement of their home are. When Lydie and Suelle realise that they can enter these paintings and collect unique materials, they soon realise that their ambitious dreams aren’t all that far-fetched.
Its light-hearted story will put a smile on your face, and the girls’ cheery personalities are infectious.
A bunch of returning faces join the newcomers, including previous protagonists Sophie and Firis, to help tie up the Mysterious trilogy with a neat little bow. Each Atelier game follows the journey of a young alchemist as they refine their skills and learn how alchemy can be used for a variety of situations, and it’s satisfying seeing Lydie and Suelle grow to become experienced alchemists – especially as they begin as some of the most novice alchemists seen in the series to date. Its light-hearted story will put a smile on your face, and the girls’ cheery personalities are infectious.
The core gameplay will be familiar to those who already follow the series with a mix of combat, collecting materials and synthesis being part of your day to day life. There is an in-game calendar, but it’s lax and doesn’t inflict the same pressure that some of the previous titles have done, thankfully – it mostly effects which enemies and materials you’ll find. The open-world of Firis has been replaced by the series’ usual area select though, which is good or bad depending on how much you enjoyed that aspect of Firis.
Outside of traditional abilities such as using a skill or item, two characters can team up to perform a stronger attack. It’s fun experimenting with who’s compatible and seeing what unique attack they’ll pull off, and you can even synthesise in battle now! This makes for Atelier‘s smoothest gameplay yet, plus Suelle fights with dual revolvers and that’s rad.
Alchemy is a little more complex compared to the combat and you’ll have to experiment a lot to get the best results. With so many materials to choose from and different attributes for each one, there’s a lot that goes into the ideal synthesis. Weapons, healing and offensive items, and many items that you’ll use in the game are procured via alchemy, and much of the equipment that you buy or find are not nearly as good.
Its gorgeous visuals, distinct character designs and generally happy atmosphere make this a delight to play.
This is Atelier‘s first foray onto Switch, and it’s a fantastic game to play on the go. I’ve played it both docked and undocked, and undocked it suffers from some frame-rate issues. It’s nothing severe and didn’t hamper my enjoyment with it, but they weren’t present when docked.
If you played Atelier primarily on Vita, then the Switch version is a the platform you’ll want to play Lydie & Suelle on. Its gorgeous visuals, distinct character designs and generally happy atmosphere make this a delight to play, and I can only hope that previous Atelier games make their way to Switch in a collection someday. Sadly, this is the first Atelier game in several entries to skip an English dub and whilst it’s sorely missed, its soundtrack and Japanese voice-acting are superb.
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is an example of if it’s not broken, then don’t try to fix it because the game’s mechanics are unique, and Gust have been refining them with each entry. This is among the best Atelier titles that I’ve played and it’s become one of my favourites thanks to how engaging I found Lydie and Suelle’s personal story to be.
If you’re an Atelier fan then of course you should buy this.
If you’re an Atelier fan then of course you should buy this, and if you’ve yet to play them then I recommend picking up Sophie and Firis, and rounding it off with this one – the strongest in the trilogy.