Whether you are a JRPG fan, or you just looking for fun & cute games to get into. I think Atelier games can be a good option for you. Since there are many games in the series, each with its ups and down, it can be confusing to pick a game, and I don’t blame you for that.
In this post, I will try to help you pick the right atelier game to start with, based on many of the common questions that get asked. Whether you want to play the whole series or not, or if you want time limit, or prefer battles or you’re looking for something else, I have the answer for you here.
For a detailed overview of the individual games, you can check out my overview & comparison of modern Atelier games here, which can also work as a guide that works in a different way~
Quickly go to:-
- What Is Atelier Series?
- You Don’t Like Time Limit? Pick The Game With Easy Or No Limit
- Play Them In The Chronological Order
- I Only Want To Play Only One Trilogy, What Series To Pick?
- I Only Want To Play One Game, What Atelier Game To Play?
- What Atelier Games Are Available On My Console?
- Is It Okay To Start With Nelke?
- And Finally
- See Also
Atelier are light-hearted JRPG games that revolves around alchemy & items creations. You use alchemy to create all sorts of things, from the weapons you fight with, to your offensive & defensive items. You also get to create items that are required for the main character to achieve her goal. There’s also the option to create items to fulfill a request, which you usually do for money.
Besides alchemy, what distinguish Atelier games above other JRPG, or even other genres is their stories. They are totally not about world-saving (which was done to death). But rather on much simpler slice-of-life stuff, like saving your workshop or finding your mom or sister. These are stuff that we could encounter in our lives & relate to (although we don’t have alchemy to solve them by, nihaha~).
The battles in the games tend to be simple, turn-base combat, which is something some players may not like. Some of the games in the series have quite the fun system, in my opinion.
Many of the games in the series, and particularly the older ones had a time limit, where you had to do certain things before a number of months or years have passed. The difficulty of such limit range from game to another. I now some players may not like it, so I included it in this guide as one of the criteria for picking your first game.
One easy way to pick an Atelier game is to see how much you can tolerate time limit. As some of the games have a relatively hard limit. I am aware some of you may be tolerant with time limit, but would prefer to have a lot of time to experiment with the alchemy system, which is one of the areas where time limit can be annoying.
Here’s a table showing you the time limit strictness for each other modern Atelier games, based on my estimations:-
|Series||Game||Time Limit Strictness|
|Arland||Atelier Rorona||Above medium|
|Atelier Totori||Relatively High|
|Atelier Meruru||Above medium|
|Atelier Escha & Logy||Low Medium|
|Atelier Firis||Almost None|
|Atelier Lydie & Suelle||None|
|–||Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists||High|
Any of the games I listed with medium and below are considered easy for most people, and give you enough time to experiment with, without risking losing the true ending (assuming you didn’t miss any of the requirements).
Finishing any of the games with stricter time limit is totally doable, even if you did a very little bit of a bad job at managing your time.
In case of Rorona, the game is divided into tasks, which means you will have an idea of how well you’re doing, as the game will end if you failed to meet any of the deadlines. This is much better than Totori, where you are all on your own.
To make Rorona easier, you can make a save at the beginning of each task so that you won’t repeat the whole game if you failed. Even if you finished the tasks but didn’t get the true ending,
getting the true ending in Rorona is totally doable in the second playthrough, as not only you have your money and equipments from the previous play, but the knowledge of what’s required in each task. So you can prepare for them in advance.
As mentioned before, you’re pretty much on your own in Totori. Finishing the game & getting a good ending is totally doable, but it may feel quite hard if you want to get the true ending. If you’re really good at organizing your time or if you used a guide, then it’s totally possible to do it (A guide can also help you avoid missing any of the requirements, which is very easy to happen in that game).
Dusk series has a much more tolerable time limit. For the most part, you only miss optional stuff if you dawdled around. Getting the true ending in Escha & Logy or Shallie is very easy too. It requires some time planning in Ayesha, but it’s still much easier than Rorona or Totori.
In case of Firis, which I marked its time limit as “almost none” in the table. There’s a one year time limit at the beginning of the game, you have to do a certain task within that time. It’s not a strict time limit by any mean. After that, you can continue the rest of the game with no time-limit at all.
If you don’t want time limit at all, no matter how lax or doable it is. Then any game before Shallie is not an option for you. So maybe going with the mysterious series is the right option for you.
This is the easy and best choice in case you have the time to play all Atelier games. It’s the way that gets you to be knowledgeable about the series. It’s my personal favorite way of getting into any series, and it’s how I got into Atelier games in the first place.
The chronological release order is very straightforward, and goes as follow:-
- Atelier Rorona Plus
- Atelier Totori
- Atelier Meruru
- Atelier Ayesha
- Atelier Escha & Logy
- Atelier Shallie
- Atelier Sophie
- Atelier Firis
- Atelier Lydie & Suelle
- Atelier Lulua
Notice that I placed Rorona Plus at the beginning, as it’s the remake of Rorona, which was buggy & had bad graphics, so I don’t recommend playing that one.
If you like, you can mess with the order above, and play Lulua before starting the dusk series, for example. As it’s considered as part of Arland series now.
Playing a whole trilogy is one good way to grasp how atelier games are, and to see if you would play another trilogy later on. While picking any of trilogies randomly may be enough, each trilogy has its own unique characteristics, so you may prefer to start with one over the other.
So, based on what you are looking for, here’s my break up for which one to pick:-
Then the dusk series is your way to go. It’s the only atelier series mentioned here with a dark theme, for the most part. Despite the darkness, it still has quite a lot of sweet slice-of-life elements in it.
Mysterious is the one to play, while providing you with light-hearted moments, the games are considered easy, with almost no time limit at all (Firis has a temporary time-limit, as mentioned above).
Arland series has some of the best light-hearted moments, which range from comedy to touching. It doesn’t lack it when it comes to being challenging enough, giving the time limit.
If you think the challenge in Arland is too much for you, then you can go with Dusk, as it has a tuned down challenge compared to Arland, while still having good interactions.
If you want excellent slice-of-life, and don’t care about anything else, then Arland is the way to go.
The slice-of-life in Dusk deserves a lot of praise too, so make it your second choice in case you enjoyed Arland~
In my personal opinion, the Dusk series has it better when it comes to the story. The story still had a good social aspect to it, though it’s a bit less than Arland in that regard.
If you want to play a trilogy that just let you relax and enjoy your time, then Mysterious series is the way to go. Not only the games are easy, but the soundtrack and atmosphere of the games are made exactly for that purpose.
As I keep mentioning, Atelier games tend to have a simple turn-based battle system, and it’s probably not the series one would go just for battles. Despite that, the Dusk series has a very fun battle systems. Fans of the series quite like the one in Shallie, though I personally enjoyed Escha & Logy the most personally.
This is the hardest question to answer among the ones posed here. Since we have 10+ games to pick from, each with its ups and down.
Each game in any of the trilogies is a stand-alone game on its own. So you can start with any of the games in any given series, for example, you can start the Arland series from Totori, and you will be fine. The issue is that will miss some references, but you won’t be completely lost or anything.
If you want to avoid missing anything, you can pick the first game from any of the trilogies. This makes picking one game similar to picking a whole trilogy, except that you only play the first game in it.
If you don’t mind missing things, then you can pick any game you like. In the listing below, I picked the best game for each criteria based on my evaluation. I added a second option in many cases in case you needed more freedom of choice:-
- Beginner-friendly:- Sophie.
- Good Battles:- Shallie, Escha & Logy
- Relax:- Sophie.
- Open-world:- Firis
- Challenging:- Totori
- Easy with good slice-of-life:- Sophie, Lydie & Suelle
- Slice of Life:- Rorona, Totori
- Dark story:- Ayesha.
- Story:- Ayesha, Totori.
Depending on what console you have, you may only have access to certain titles. Some games are still exclusive to PS3 & Ps-Vita, while some others are available literally on almost every single console out there.
You can check the following table on what Atelier games are available on each console:-
|Series||Game||PS3||PS4||PS-Vita||PC||Switch||Xbox One||Xbox 360|
|Atelier Escha & Logy||✓||X||✓||X||X||X||X|
|Atelier Lydie & Suelle||X||✓||X||✓||✓||X||X|
|–||Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists||X||✓||X||✓||✓||X||X|
|Atelier Lydie & Suelle was released officially on PS-Vita in Japan only|
|Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists was released officially on PS-Vita in Japan only|
There’s a version of Atelier Rorona available for 3DS (for Japan only). It’s not the exact same game as the one for the other consoles, as it features chibi-styled character. It had a tactical battle system with tiles in it, instead of the turn-based Atelier games tend to have (it reminds me of Stella Glow’s battle system).
Giving how the Xbox has always fared badly in Japan, it’s not a surprise it never ever got any game from the series at all.
The short answer to that is no, and for two reasons:-
- It’s the kind of games that’s more fun when you have played at least few Atelier games before.
- It’s a spin off, and not an Atelier game in the traditional sense. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not a real start with Atelier games.
When it comes to the aspects I discussed above. It’s challenging when it comes to time management, and requires you to understand the town system. It has a super simple battle system, the same goes for gathering as well.
Atelier games are very unique and fun games, and tend to be underrated compared to other series. Having many games with different characteristics, and on different consoles can make picking the first game confusing at first, so I hope this guide has helped you pick your first Atelier game, which I totally hope you like.
Please share your experience with me on twitter once you try the series, I like to hear about such things.