Today, we continue our look at this important and influential installment in the series with a closer look at how the whole game is structured, and how this differs significantly from the previous five games.
Most notably, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland kicks off a subseries of Atelier that, while seemingly providing more restrictions than in the past thanks to the time limit, actually provides a lot of freedom for you to approach your long-term goals as you see fit.
A year after Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy bid a fond (and very late) farewell to the PlayStation 2, the Atelier series finally entered the high-definition era with the 2009 Japanese release of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland for PlayStation 3.
Since the original release of the game and its 2010 localisation, we’ve seen a few other versions. In 2013, Atelier Rorona Plus revamped the entire game for PlayStation 3 and Vita with the graphics engine and alchemy mechanics from Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland, the third game in the Arland trilogy. In 2015, Japan got a peculiar chibified remake for Nintendo 3DS. And then in 2018, Atelier Rorona DX, a port of Atelier Rorona Plus that included all its downloadable content, was released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.
From hereon, we’ll primarily be looking at Atelier Rorona DX, since that is the most readily accessible version at the time of writing — but most of what we’ll talk about applies to all the different versions. So grab your Basket and let’s begin a whole new adventure!
Amplitude Studios first came to my attention a good few years back with the release of Endless Space, a 4X strategy game that I didn’t completely suck at.
Since that first game, they’ve expanded the Endless universe considerably with several other games. Probably my favourite of them all is Dungeon of the Endless, a curious hybrid of roguelike, board game, tower defense and all manner of other goodness. And it’s out now for Nintendo Switch! You can get it in a box and everything.
Having not actually played it for a while, I decided to see how I got on with my rusty skills. The answer is “not well”, but I hope at least you can see why this game is so enjoyable if you take the time to learn it!
Do you remember the “god game” genre? Distinct from the few management sims we still have today, which tend to focus on financial and ministerial affairs, the god game, popular throughout the late ’90s and early ’00s, put you in the role of a supreme being with literally world-altering powers.
It’s a genre we don’t really see a lot of these days, with most strategy gamers tending to gravitate towards experiences with more board game-like mechanics such as Civilization and its numerous imitators, or the aformentioned fiscal frolics such as Cities Skylines, Two Point Hospital and the like.
Releasing a new god game is a brave step, then, but Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada has never been about taking the easy option. And so it was that his company Toybox came to bring us Happy Birthdays, an expanded, rebalanced and enhanced version of the earlier Birthdays: The Beginning, and a game in which you get to play God on your own little cube-shaped world.
After an in-depth exploration of Night’s Domain, Rorona gets busy on some miscellaneous tasks before reaching the deadline for her latest assignment.
This time around, she discovers the truth about Lionela and her puppets; learning that someone isn’t all they might initially seem, and that they might sometimes need your help in ways you don’t expect is an important part of growing up, and a lesson that Rorona is quick to learn by virtue of her very nature — despite (or perhaps because of!) her upbringing by Astrid.
After this, there are just two more assignments to go before we complete this New Game Plus run! Will we achieve any or all of the endings I’ve been after…?
How tough is our girl Rorona? Only tough enough to fell both a dragon and a demon in a single expedition, that’s how tough!
In this week’s installment of our New Game Plus run through Atelier Rorona DX, we find ourselves exploring Night’s Domain, a dungeon at the northernmost tip of Arland that is somewhat… mysterious and otherworldly in nature. It’s full of some of the most valuable, high-quality ingredients in the game, though, so it’s well worth taking your time to explore… if you’re up to the challenge, that is!
Meanwhile, there’s a final bit of intrigue with Lionela… could she have finally found some peace in her life…?
We’re into the third and final year of Rorona’s assignments in our New Game Plus run through Atelier Rorona DX, and some interesting mysteries are starting to be revealed about a bunch of characters.
I’m really enjoying this run, as I’m seeing some scenes I’ve never seen before; the additional “free” time I have available thanks to all the stuff I’ve carried over from my previous playthrough is making it much easier to build up everyone’s friendship values and see all their events.
I’m not sure if I’m on track for any of the “special” endings right now, but I’m certainly going to do my best in this final year to see what we can achieve!
It’s time to wrap up the second year of Rorona’s adventures with the final preparations for the next Annual Festival!
Of course, New Game Plus Rorona got all the boring stuff done absolutely ages ago, vastly ahead of schedule as usual, so instead we take some time to continue exploring the Dark Woods and see what we can find.
There are plenty of mysteries still surrounding our current party members Tantris and Lionela, too… so perhaps we’ll get a little closer to some answers today!