Also On: PS5, PS4, PC
Publisher: KOEI Tecmo
It can be daunting to take on another RPG in a year that’s already seen a hefty number of popular releases, but Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg might be the perfect palate cleanser if you’re burned out on 40+ hour adventures at this point. It’s not the longest RPG in the world, nor the most complex, but it does offer a charming adventure that also serves as a new starting point for the long-running series from developer Gust. It makes for a solid remake of a PS1 release that never made its way to North America previously, and brings along with it a decent number of quality of life improvements that make it worth checking out.
Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg puts you in the shoes of Marlone, AKA Marie, an alchemist in training that’s not quite cut out for the job. Her poor skills with a mixing pot lead to her instructor giving her one last chance to impress, by tasking her with a series of exams across multiple years culminating in a final exam and one last chance to impress her teacher. In order to complete the various tasks assigned to Marie, you’ll need to travel to locations outside of the city walls, gather materials, battle bad guys, and learn various alchemy recipes in order to achieve the “good” ending.
Atelier Marie Remake does a solid job of bouncing between exploration, combat, and alchemy brewing, allowing you to hire various party members to outfit your three-person party, uncover rumors that can lead to new locations and boss encounters, and offers a whole host of events that’ll be tough to uncover in just one playthrough. Thankfully, due to the short length of the game, you’ll likely feel compelled to run through the story over and over, or you can opt to check out the unlimited mode that cuts out the timeframe restriction entirely.
I’m not entirely sold on the visual design of Atelier Marie Remake, which opts to showcase characters in a diminutive chibi form that sort of makes the whole experience look a little cheap to me. Compare this to another recent game in the same series, Atelier Ryza 3, and there’s a tremendous difference in presentation quality between the two, with Ryza 3 easily winning in that particular category. My assumption is that the developer is trying to scale the original sprites from the PS1 original into 3D here, but I’d honestly have preferred they stuck with the sprites over the chibi style.
Thankfully the additions and modern day quality of life improvements do help to make Atelier Marie Remake a better experience overall. The aforementioned Unlimited mode helps strip away the stressful time restriction if you just want to play as much of the game as possible in one go. Other functions, like quick travel through town, the ability to speed up and automate combat, and a far superior guide functionality make Atelier Marie Remake a more relaxing, enjoyable RPG experience overall when compared to the original game.
I’d certainly recommend checking this out if you’re curious to see the series roots, but I’d also say this isn’t the best entry in the Atelier games available on the Switch or other platforms. It certainly has some charm to it, and the gameplay loop is easy yet satisfying, but don’t expect an RPG on par with more recent Atelier releases. Still, I enjoyed my time playing Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg, and I bet you will too.
Note: KOEI TECMO provided us with a Atelier Marie Remake: The Aclhemist of Salbucodes for review purposes.