Category Archives: Cover Games

The major, feature-length articles of MoeGamer. Each month, a single game or series gets the Cover Game treatment and is explored over the course of at least four articles.

Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – Battles at the End of the World

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While, as we’ve already seen, much of Escha and Logy’s time in their own game is spent living the corporate life and doing things that other people tell them to do, there are times when the pair of them have to take their own initiative.

We’ve already looked at how this works inside their workshop; today it’s time to take a closer look at their work out in the field, and particularly at how they fend off the foes they encounter during their investigations.

Yep, it’s combat time again; make sure you’ve got a basket full of bombs, ’cause we’re going to be out for a while!

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – What a Way to Make a Living

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After several rather “freeform” Atelier games in which the player is left mostly to their own devices — albeit with a strict time limit — it’s quite refreshing to enjoy Atelier Escha & Logy’s assignment-based format.

While on paper, the experience might sound quite similar to how Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland did things, there are a few key differences along the way. So after last time’s exploration of how Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky handles the series’ core concept of alchemy, today we’re going to explore exactly what the rest of our young alchemists’ day job entails.

There’s exploring, there’s building, there’s crafting… but there’s also paperwork and keeping the bosses sweet. We are living the corporate Atelier life now, after all. Let’s take a closer look!

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – A Question of Technique

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As always for the Atelier series, alchemy is at the core of almost everything you do in Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky.

This time around, there’s an interesting distinction made between female protagonist Escha’s “traditional” approach, taught to her by her mother, and male protagonist Logy’s “modern” approach that he learned in the mysterious Central City. Mechanically speaking, both are pretty much the same — though they are each used for different purposes in the game as a whole.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at that alchemy system, see how it differs from Atelier Ayesha’s approach — and give a firm thumbs-up to some quality of life features that longstanding Atelier fans will find very welcome, particularly if they haven’t played Atelier Lulua yet.

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – Corporate Alchemy

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After the emotional journey that was Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky followed a year later. This time we were promised a pair of playable protagonists — something we hadn’t seen in the series since Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy.

This time around the two “paths” through the game are less noticeably different from one another than they were in Mana Khemia 2, due to the fact that the two protagonists spend most of their time alongside one another. It’s still worth playing both routes, however, as not only do you get to “hear” the innermost thoughts of each protagonist in their own respective route, there are some endings that can only be seen by one protagonist or the other.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves! What exactly is Atelier Escha & Logy, and how does it fit in to the Atelier series as a whole? Read on and let’s find out together.

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The Music of Atelier, Vol. 10: Atelier Ayesha – The Alchemist of Dusk

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It’s that time once again: time to celebrate the sterling work of Gust’s sound team, and the distinctive soundscape they have created over the years from the Atelier series.

As you might expect with the change in artist, overall aesthetic and tone, the sound of the Dusk series is a little different from the Arland trilogy before it — but it’s still recognisably “Atelier”.

This time around, the music is the work of Gust regulars Daisuke Achiwa and Kazuki Yanagawa as well as Yu Shimoda; the latter worked with Inti Creates on retro revival titles Mega Man 9 and 10, and joined Taito’s ZUNTATA sound team in 2017. Series mainstay Ken Nakagawa, meanwhile, stepped aside from Atelier compositions from hereon, though he returned for contributions to both Atelier Lulua and Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists’ soundtracks.

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Bonds of People

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As we’ve already discussed to a certain extent, Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk kicks off an Atelier subseries with a noticeably different feel to its predecessors.

While the Arland series was, on the whole, very positive in tone — the more melancholic aspects of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland aside — the Dusk series emphasises the feeling that all is not well in this “world that is heading for destruction”, as Gust themselves put it.

And that feeling doesn’t just extend to the overall worldview of Atelier Ayesha, either; it infuses the core narrative and provides it with a very distinctive, highly emotional and deeply memorable feel. Let’s take a closer look.

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Wonder and Danger in the Twilight

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So far, we’ve seen how Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk starts a new age for the Atelier series, both with its overall sense of design, and with the specifics of its alchemy mechanics.

Today we’re going to look at what protagonist Ayesha gets up to when she’s not working away in one of her several workshops: the ways in which she is able to explore the world around her, discover many new and wonderful — and sometimes horrifying — things, and how she protects herself from danger when things get tough.

Yep, it’s time to look at combat and exploration in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, another area where the game feels both comfortably familiar and fresh.

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Alchemy in a Fading World

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk is, as we’ve already established, something of a step in a different direction for the series.

Over the course of the series, Gust has always drawn a hard line underneath each of the main “sets” of games before moving on to the next; the narrative of the setting isn’t necessarily wrapped up conclusively (which leaves things open for titles like Atelier Lulua to revisit past series) but there’s usually a significant reinvention of, at the very least, overall aesthetic and mechanical components.

One of the most obvious places where we see this is in the heart of the series: the alchemy component. So let’s take a closer look at exactly how Atelier Ayesha handles this side of things!

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Chromatic Shift

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While in many respects the Arland games had brought the Atelier series back to its roots, they also very much had their own distinctive sense of identity. In order to move on to a new subseries, there would need to be some sort of noticeable “shift”.

That was the challenge Gust was faced with after the success of Ateliers Rorona, Totori and Meruruhow to follow that up with something that still felt like Atelier, but which also distinguished itself from the pastel-coloured, distinctly “comfy” games that had come before? And with the new generation of fans who might have joined the series in the HD era, how to ensure that no-one went away feeling like the series had dropped something important to its core identity?

We got our answer in 2012 with the release of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk — which ended up being the first installment in one of the most fondly regarded Atelier subseries of all time. So I guess they did something right. Let’s take a first look!

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Nekopara Vol. 4: The Smiles on Everyone’s Faces

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The first three volumes of the Nekopara series each focused on a pair of the catgirls from the core cast, and explored a key message or lesson they had to learn.

In Nekopara Vol. 1, Chocola and Vanilla learn how to function independently in human society, earning their “Bells” in the process. In Vol. 2, Coconut and Azuki both come at the idea of honesty always being the best policy from slightly different angles. And in Vol. 3, Maple and Cinnamon determine that staying true to yourself is a much better way to live your life than deliberately holding yourself back, or trying to be something that you’re not.

In Vol. 4, things are a little different. This time around, the core narrative focuses on the series protagonist Kashou, who longstanding followers of the series will know has had a certain amount of conflict brewing in his heart since the very beginning. It’s time for him to finally figure out some answers.

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