There’s always a bit of natural trepidation any time a well-known console series makes its way to mobile for the first time in a significant way, and that feeling seems to be even stronger when it’s an RPG franchise. The Atelier games certainly count in this regard, having sold millions of copies around the world since the first game released for the original PlayStation back in 1997, so there are certainly a lot of eyes on the instalment now out on iOS and Android – Atelier Online: Alchemist of Bressisle.
In this all-new adventure, you take on the role of a star student at an academy for alchemists. Ingredients for alchemy can be gathered from the world around you in some cases, but you’ll have to fight for others. Combat is fairly straightforward, with characters using their base attacks automatically but needing you to cast their skills at the best possible time (unless you choose to auto-battle, which is also an option). Items and strategic choices add some extra depth.
Because of the focus on alchemy, crafting is an important part of the game as well, and you’ll quickly learn to create items and other gear. Some ingredients can only be gathered at certain times of day — in the game world, not the real one — inviting exploration. Aside from diving into the main story, there are various quests you can tackle at the same time, including commissions for hunting certain types of monsters, delivering items, and more.
Making the experience even more satisfying is the way that Atelier Online has been put together, which includes working fan favorite characters into the mix. The art style is simple yet distinctive, and feels familiar without being an homage to any other particular IP.
There’s plenty of pleasant music throughout, and there’s an impressive amount of voice acting. Similar games often have voice acting early on that lessens a lot after the tutorial, but Alchemist of Bressisle seems dedicated to providing it for the long haul, and there are a number of colourful characters to carry it out. The text portions add flavour as well, though the English translation can be spotty at times.
Atelier Online makes no bones about its status as a gacha game, straight up calling the summoning function ‘Gacha’ (though there is an in-game explanation for it, should you care about that level of detail). Priority is given to paid currency pulls, which isn’t uncommon in gacha games at the current time, but the premium currency isn’t that hard to acquire, which mitigates that effect to a certain degree. Playing for free certainly doesn’t appear to be impossible, at any rate.
The biggest question, of course, is whether Atelier Online feels like an Atelier game, and it succeeds on that front. Yet you don’t need to have played any of the previous titles to understand what’s going on and enjoy it on its own merits, which really is the best possible balance for mobile entries to an existing franchise.
Will it take a place as a full-fledged part of the series in the hearts of its fans? Only time will tell, but Alchemist of Bressisle is off to a promising start. You can try it out for yourself by downloading the game via Google Play (and App Store) by clicking here.
A World Worth Exploring
Atelier Online: Alchemist of Bressisle has a lot to offer to both newcomers and people who are intrigued by the thought of an Atelier game on phones and tablets.