What Atelier Game to start from? A comprehensive guide for picking your first Atelier game

Luckily, It’s Not That Hard To Pick Your First Atelier Game

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~

You can see all the available Atelier games in the following Amazon links:-

What Is Atelier Series?

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.

You Don’t Like Time Limit? Pick The Game With Easy Or No Limit

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 Lulua None
Dusk Atelier Ayesha Medium
Atelier Escha & Logy Low Medium
Atelier Shallie None
Mysterious Atelier Sophie None
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.

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Atelier Rorona Time Limit

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.

Atelier Totori Time Limit

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 Time Limit

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.

Firis Has A Time Limit, Kinda~

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.

I Don’t Like 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.

Play Them In The Chronological Order

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.

I Only Want To Play Only One Trilogy, What Series To Pick?

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:-

Looking For Something Dark In A Way

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.

Easy And Light Hearted

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).

Light Hearted But Challenging

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.

Best Slice Of Life

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~

Best Story

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.

I Just Want To Relax & Enjoy My Time

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.

Battle System

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.

I Only Want To Play One Game, What Atelier Game To Play?

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.

If you started reading this post because you’re interested in Atelier Ryza:- You can totally start the series from Ryza if you like. It’s not connected to any of the other trilogies. And is the start of its own series.

What Atelier Games Are Available On My Console?

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
Arland Atelier Rorona X X
Atelier Totori X X
Atelier Meruru X X
Atelier Lulua X X X X
Dusk Atelier Ayesha X X X X X
Atelier Escha & Logy X X X X X
Atelier Shallie X X X X X
Mysterious Atelier Sophie X X X
Atelier Firis 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

You can see all the available Atelier games in the following Amazon links:-

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.

Is It Okay To Start With Nelke?

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.

And Finally

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.

You can see all the available Atelier games in the following Amazon links:-

Please share your experience with me on twitter once you try the series, I like to hear about such things.

See Also

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5 responses

  1. Thank you so much. I wanted to get into the series but was overwhelmed with the amount of games. I searched for where to start on Google but the guides were just too complex and confusing for an outsider. But I loved your guide. It is simple yet really informative and easy to read and understand. It’s just perfect. Thank you.

    • Hello TCHORT! I am so glad you liked my guide. I tried my best to make it helpful, as I would like more people to get into the series ^^

  2. Hi! I think its great that you made the effort to create this guide. I have recently been illuminated by the existence of this series and have decided to play it. I already made some research on where to start and what to expect from these games, but your guide clarified a lot of doubts. Also you made it in a really easy to follow manner so that people who are not huge jRPG buffs still won’t get confused. Thank you!
    I have decided to start with the Mysterious series for pragmatic reasons – its the easiest one to obtain on PS4 and chronologically the first one on that console. So I already bought the whole trilogy and probably will start Sophie very soon. Though some people nag that this game is too easy, I myself agree with your assumption, that it might be a good introduction to the mechanics and general fell of the series, before jumping into something hardcore like Arland. And I already played a lot of harder jRPGs (like Final Fantasy III) so I hope that Atelier Sophie will prove to be a pleasant distraction.

    If you don’t mind me saying this… I know that you made this guide last year, but you might want to update it, because there is EVEN MORE REASON to play the series now – Atelier Arland and Dusk trilogies have now been realeased on PS4 as deluxe versions, supposedly with all DLC included! I heard that they also came to Switch but could not confirm it as of yet. So most Atelier games (excluding the really old ones like Iris, Salburg etc.) can now be owned by PS4 users, which is great news!

    Finally, I have a question – have you by chance played Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom?

    • Hello Jaco,

      I am so glad you liked my post! I also think you did well choosing the mysterious series, as it’s so beginner friendly, while still wanting to play the harder games.

      I agree I probbaly should update this guide, specially since Ryza is out now, although I never played that one yet. The games are being released on many consoles, including the Switch (which also has Arland & Dusk trilogies now). These are great news, since I had to buy a PS3 back in the day to enjoy many JRPGs, some of them are still exclusives to it.

      Never played Ni no Kuni II, but I started the first one, and I got a good impression of it, but never managed to get far due to the lack of time. I really loved the art style of it. The story was interesting too~

      • Well, I asked about about Ni no Kuni II because it has “sort of” an alchemical system. I say sort of because one of the main things in this game is collecting tons of random junk as you walk through the game world. This junk is later used to build your kingdom, which unlocks options to pick up even more junk, even faster. It’s a very crude system, and one I didn’t really like. I was curious if Atelier alchemy/crafting was anything similar or was it more engaging.
        I guess it does not matter anymore, since I decided to give the series a fair shot anyway. And jRPG’s are my favortie genre of games, especially turn-based ones! If I want to catch up on this phenomenon that is the Atelier series, it looks like i have my work cut out for me ^^

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