A non-spoiled princess who isn’t being kidnapped? Atelier Meruru review

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland follows Princess Mererulince Rede Arls, who has a tendency to act without ever thinking ahead. Her actions tend to lead her into getting lectured by Rufus Falken, who handles a lot of the kingdoms problems and issues. He’s the brightest person in Arls, as well as tutor Mereru. Rufus and Lord Dessier (Meruru’s father) request an Alchemist from Arland to help Arls grow. One day it catches Meruru’s interest, and eventually she decides she would rather learn alchemy than deal with her royal duties. She starts sneaking out to learn from Arland’s alchemist, who ends up being Totooria Helmold, aka Totori, from the previous game.

Developed by Gust, Meruru has 3 years to help increase the population of Arls and make it grow through her alchemy. If she fails to do so she gives up her dream to be an alchemist. But if she does well she can continue. Rufus begins helping her by creating tasks for her whenever requests are made for her. This way she can concentrate on her alchemy and creating beneficial things the people need. The main problem becomes traveling, collecting materials and synthesis with alchemy. With 3 years to meet the deadline, time is valuable.

While this isn’t my first Atelier title, I started at the end of the Atelier Arland Trilogy, so there will be some jokes and events I won’t understand.

As Meruru you will need to focus on quite a few things. You’ll have to check your available dates, as time flies in the game when you synthesize, fight, gather materials and travel, since they can easily take days, weeks and months away. Everything else you do takes no time away from you, so go ahead and talk to everyone. You can even let the controller down and let the game run for half a day and nothing will change. Alchemy is roughly the most important thing in the game. There are over 100 recipes, and quests require many of these.

As you start your adventure,Meruru is accompanied by two members of Arls; Keina, Meruru’s personal maid and best friend, and Lias, Rufus’ unlucky younger brother. As time passes you meet certain requirements, new friends, teammates and even shop keepers from Arland. You’ll get to see more character interactions and story of what happened to your favorite character, each with their own skills and abilities. You can even have a team of alchemists if you want to.

The world map is very large, and you can travel to any areas you unlock to fight, gather materials and deliver quest items. More become unlockable as you clear an area by clearing out all enemies until you have a very large map with each area unique with collectibles and beautifully detailed backgrounds, you chose where you want to go and if you want to battle. Battles are simple by touching an enemy you enter battle which are turn based and based on characters speed, Meruru (eventually Totori and Rorona) can also use Alchemy items and attack, while other characters can use skills and attack as well. What makes the battle more interesting is your other two characters get 2 bars one for a special and the other for additional attacks. As the battles go on and your other 2 characters attack, defend and use skills a bar fills up, when that bar fills they can do one of two things, 1st when Meruru uses an alchemy attack item they can follow up character once leading into both characters adding extra damage outside of their turn, second if Meruru is going to be attacked they will defend her each action costs a bar. The second bar is a special bar and as more attacks and additional attacks are used each character awakens a special attack that can do massive damage which is great in boss battles. So by combining status effects and attacks, plus alchemy items with those skills and specials is important to win. Don’t forget to visit the weapon shop to create more powerful weapons and armor.

The part I enjoyed quite a bit is the animation and art in the game, Atelier Meruru uses a combination 2.5D anime style with cell shading and detailed backgrounds, cut scenes and in game scenes all use the same animation makes it something great to watch, and just like many of NIS America’s title you can switch between English and Japanese voices and for this game I highly recommend the Japanese voices since I didn’t like the English dub at all.

Strategy within games I can do, fighting and creating easy enough time management on the other hand can be a pain, especially when the searching, hunting and traveling. Completing synthesizing quests and tavern requests, while not impossible on my first play through, I feel like I was very under leveled for the final side battle. By the end of year 5 even at level 50 (Max Level), I was able to defeat a large majority of the requested hunts. Even at my best level I was short a few alchemy items, which may of helped me in the end. I was already equipped with the best equipment I can make via weapon Synthesis. Since I have what I think are the best weapons and armor, I can createthings in the game that will help me for my next playthrough.

Don’t forget to create the Gate Warp as soon as you can to save you many traveling days.

For more information and to listen to some great music from the game, you can head over to NISA’s Atelier Rorona page.

Grade: B+

There is also a Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland Limited Edition: Grand Finale Set that comes with the games, an OST, artbook and T-Shirt available only at NIS America’s website for $64.99.

About author

Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.

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