Atelier Meruru – First Impressions – Iyashikei of Item Crafting

Artist: cocorip

In the past, I have written some initial impressions or full reviews of video games from Japan. Of course, most of what I covered is ones related to Anime such as the Idolmaster games and Pokémon. Now I’m going to do something slightly different and share my thoughts about a pretty obscure game called Atelier Meruru. (Image Source)

Believe it or not, I never heard of this game until now because it’s not popular in the west. However in Japan, the Atelier franchise is rather popular. Compared to the typical Japanese RPG of a male hero saving the world and defeating evil as seen in many Final Fantasy and Tales of games, Gust came up with a rather interesting idea for a role-playing game. They focused mainly on female leads collecting items and synthesizing them together through alchemy to make stuff such as weapons, food, you name it. While I have tried one of the older games (Atelier Ellie), it was kind of hard to get into not because of my limited Japanese knowledge, but for its primitiveness as you can’t do any exploration and all the ingredients are collected automatically. Thankfully, the Arland trilogy brought some type of exploration to the mix, which improved especially in the second game, Atelier Totori and refined in this game.

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In this game, you play as a princess named Merurulince Rede Aris (Meruru for short) who wants to become an alchemist. In addition, she has to use alchemy in some way to develop the kingdom of Arls to a prosperous one. Believe it or not, when I played through this game, it felt like I was watching an Iyashikei Slice of Life show. Not much happens in the game as it does not follow a defined linear story line and what ending you earn depends on what you do in the 5 years. From time to time, you get to experience some events involving various characters you have met throughout the game.

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As for the game play mechanics itself, the battling and exploration takes a back seat as quests, developing the kingdom and making items is the focus on the game. From the Adventurer Guild, you can accept quests to increase popularity needed for development and to earn money. On the other hand, development tasks are various goals you have to meet in order to earn points needed to develop new facilities and other things. These tasks usually involve hunting certain/all monsters, collecting ingredients or making new items.

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On the other hand, the battling system is a turn based one and it’s pretty easy to get used to. While other members can’t use items you make, Meruru and Totori can use them to heal others or as a weapon.  As you would expect, you fight mostly cute monsters (yes, you can even beat a horses and rabbits up).

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Lastly, the synthesizing system is rather complex as you can make many items containing different traits and qualities depending on what items you use. This obviously gives you a wide variety of ways to make each item. As mentioned earlier, these items can be used to make other items, for development or in battle.

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After experiencing several hours of game play, Atelier Meruru is a fun game that does item crafting better than bread making in Shining Hearts (yes, I gone there). Besides the game play, the art style looks rather pretty and basically all the females in this game look cute. Even the older ones who look like teenagers! This is the reason I wanted to play this game and got a copy of Atelier Totori Plus on the Playstation Vita. Aside of that, definitely try it out if you are into slice of life, visual novels, and making items. 


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4 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Got the game for Christmas and have been playing it non-stop. The time management system and item crafting have definitely improved since the first two games. Getting all the endings? Still a hassle, but fun to attempt anyway :)

    Btw: How is the Totori Plus? Definitely not getting a Vita system anytime soon.

    • chikorita157 says:

      I heard some people having a hard time with the triggers on the forums… Apparently there are guides out there on how to trigger them, but they apparently don’t agree with each other. Knowing me, I won’t get the true ending on the first try.

      As for Atelier Totori Plus, while I haven’t gotten so far as I have to translate everything on the fly, the graphics look rather good and similar to the PS3 counterpart. I think it has all the DLC content as it has all the music from all the previous games you can change for the workshop and battle. The only real downside is that it loads a few seconds slow, but it’s expected for a portable game. At least the load time isn’t tremendously slow compared to the PSP games using UMDs.

      • According to a gamefaq guide by Krystal, the triggers happen differently on the first playthrough than it does on subsequent ones. Apparently, everything is random first time around. Yet, like you said, everyone doesn’t agree, so I am just doing it randomly. I already got my extension and on Year 5, so my first ending will likely be the Strongest Princess one based on the events I completed already from the guide. Did at least complete nearly all of Mimi events ^^

        Charge the PS3 users and give the portable users DLC on the port for free (well, cost of the game), lol. Yeah, a port of a PS3 game I would expect to run a bit slow, but doesn’t the Vita include the “install to memory stick option like PSP? Also speaking of port, seems like their is now going to be an Atelier Meruru Plus too: http://www.siliconera.com/2013/01/07/atelier-meruru-plus-connects-with-totori-for-vita-and-other-new-features/

        • chikorita157 says:

          I’m doing a blind playthrough without any guide, but probably look over it if I ever decide to record any Lets Play footage after getting a New Game+.

          But yeah, the DLC is expected on the Vita Port as it had all the music from the previous games from the start. I think you need to beat the game once to unlock the other content such as extra characters joining the party and alternate costumes. Aside from that, there is no install option since the Vita game card is essentially a read only memory cartage. While there is a download copy, I don’t get that since Japanese PSN points cost a bit more than the physical copy if you don’t live in Japan and memory card for the Vita are expensive, so it’s best just to get the physical one unless one is in a hurry to play a game or want to play PSP games as it doesn’t have a UMD slot.However, I’m not sure of the performance difference between the physical copy and the download copy, but it probably won’t make that much a difference.

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