In between all the epic stories about saving the world from destruction, rescuing princesses from castles and putting a stop to bad guy evil schemes, it's nice to have something a little less urgent to kick back with from time to time. The Atelier series, now on it's 17th entry, is exactly that - rather than concerning themselves with heroic escapades, they instead focus on the mundane day to day lives of young female alchemists, each trying to find their purpose in life. Equal parts light-hearted fun and addictive 'alchemy' crafting, the latest entry in the series, Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, will soon be upon us, kicking off the next Atelier trilogy in style.
Set in a colourful, medieval-inspired town, Atelier Sophie follows the exploits of a beginner alchemist, the titular Sophie, who finds that she's the owner of a book with a bit of a difference. The mysterious tome holds not only all the secrets to the long-lost art of Alchemy, but it also has a living soul contained within it, going by the name of Placheta. You'd think having a talking alchemical bible would make learning alchemy easy peasy, but poor Placheta seems to have lost her memories - and therefore the recipes written within. Together Placheta and Sophie set about restoring her memories, one recipe at a time, hopefully restoring Placheta to her human form too in the process.
When you're not off exploring dungeons and fighting monsters in traditional role playing style, most of your time with Atelier Sophie will be spent brewing potions and creating equipment with the game's Alchemy system. Alchemy itself isn't really too far removed from cooking - all you need to do is chuck the corresponding ingredients into a pot, let it simmer for a set number of days and out pops a new item, be it a new weapon, a helpful cure-all or an apple pie. Much like cookery though, the outcome of your alchemical creations depends a lot on the quality of the ingredients you put in in the first place, with bigger and better ingredients imbuing the finished item with more useful effects or boosted healing powers. But in order to get the best materials, you'll need to head out into the surrounding forests, deserts and caves and harvest them yourself - and deal with the hostile local wildlife in the process, in Atelier's signature simple turn-based battles.
Atelier fans will also be able to pick up a special Limited Edition version of Atelier Sophie, exclusively from the NISA Online Store, with pre-orders open from tomorrow, the 22nd March. For the proper money equivalent of $100, you'll get the following:
- Atelier Sophie for the PS4
- Full-color, 48-page hardcover art book
- 2-Disc, 38-track original soundtrack with jewel case
- Cloth poster (40"x26")
- 5 Mini art prints (5"x7")
- Collector's box (Includes all the above)
For folks who haven't yet made the leap to the 'next generation' consoles, Atelier Sophie will also be hitting the PS Vita as a digital download only. Somewhat unusually, this version will be launching day and date with the physical Playstation 4 game, and won't be one of the enhanced all-DLC-included 'Plus' versions we've come to expect on the handheld - instead, it's the exact same game, just on a smaller screen. We'd put money on there being an 'Atelier Sophie Plus' later down the line though.
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book will be hitting the Playtstation 4 and PS Vita on the 10th June (and the 7th June in the USA). In the meantime, why not check out the announcement trailer below!