(http://nisamerica.com/games/atelierannie/“Once upon a time, there was a lazy girl.” Is how Atelier Annie is introduced. This title is especially lighthearted even in comparison with other titles developed by Gust. In this resort management simulation and RPG cross-over, the player will play as Annie Eilenberg. She does not dream of becoming a famous alchemist like the other Atelier series protagonists, but instead she spends all her time dreaming about marrying up while doing nothing. Outraged by her laziness, her master alchemist grandfather sent her to Sera Island. There Annie will partake in a resort development project as part of an alchemy contest. And her motivation for competing is none other than the winner’s prize being the prince’s hand in marriage, thus fulfilling her dream of lifelong laziness. Although developing resorts in a tropical paradise may not sound as challenging as saving the world in a traditional RPG sense, but Gust’s in-depth item synthesis system is bound to keep the player addicted through the end in this fun-filled project.

(http://nisamerica.com/games/atelierannie/“Once upon a time, there was a lazy girl.” Is how Atelier Annie is introduced. This title is especially lighthearted even in comparison with other titles developed by Gust. In this resort management simulation and RPG cross-over, the player will play as Annie Eilenberg. She does not dream of becoming a famous alchemist like the other Atelier series protagonists, but instead she spends all her time dreaming about marrying up while doing nothing. Outraged by her laziness, her master alchemist grandfather sent her to Sera Island. There Annie will partake in a resort development project as part of an alchemy contest. And her motivation for competing is none other than the winner’s prize being the prince’s hand in marriage, thus fulfilling her dream of lifelong laziness. Although developing resorts in a tropical paradise may not sound as challenging as saving the world in a traditional RPG sense, but Gust’s in-depth item synthesis system is bound to keep the player addicted through the end in this fun-filled project.

 

Presentation:

The world in Atelier series are peaceful, and their inhabitants make wide use of alchemy and alchemists like the way technology is utilized for comfort and efficiency in modern society. Like previous Atelier titles, Atelier Annie continues to feature a large cast of unique characters. The characters are comical anime-style, possessing dysfunctional traits that are easily poked fun at. But the player will discover that the characters are more than their 2D graphic representation as the game progresses, even more so if the player spends the time to discover the numerous character events outlining the characters’ back history. There are always character events to be discovered almost wherever Annie goes, but they are anticipated because of their genuine hilarity and the characters gradually progress through these events.

 

Graphics:

Atelier Annie is presented entirely in hand drawn anime-graphics. While there’s a limited amount of locations on Sera Island, each and every one of them comes with a beautifully drawn background art and area map. The characters each have their own set of portraits to show various expressions. Adding to the hilarity, the portraits sometimes move around as to act out the already comedic character interactions. More surprisingly, even the monsters in the game have portraits when they attack. It is worth it to let the cute slime-ball Puni attack just to see their picture. When in battle and area map, the characters are represented in their overly adorable super-deformed figures.

 

Sounds:

Atelier Annie stands out amongst its fellow DS titles for having some voice acting. NIS America usually includes English voice over as well as the original Japanese in its North American releases, but unfortunately they are not able to include English voices here. But even without knowing Japanese, the voices still portrait the character traits very well. And there’s also an option to turn it off for those who don’t care for the voices. The music in this title are simple yet memorable, the melodies will stick in the player’s mind before they know it. There’s also a wide range of music to reflect different atmospheres in addition to the cheerful main theme.

 

Gameplay:

The resort management simulation takes place over 3 years, and that’s when the game ends no matter what Annie ends up doing. Over the course of the project, the player is given an assignment every 6 months. It is up to the player to complete the assignments, although failure in completing them does not mean game over but finishing an assignment can earn the player valuable development fund to build and expand resorts. Given the non-linear story possibilities, the ending differs depending on Annie’s actions through the 3 years.

 

The focus of Atelier Annie’s gameplay is alchemy as supposed to battle even though the player may choose to spend most of the time fighting. The battle system itself uses simple turn-based action, and is free of frustrations. Annie only encounters monsters when she is out gathering material, and the encounter rate feels just right when a modifying accessory is not used or is unavailable. Alchemy may be used to infuse weapons and armors with traits to exploit monster weakness, but the majority use of it is for creating various items to fulfill requests from Annie’s resorts, adventurer guild to raise personal spending money, and to help Annie’s friends when they ask for it. With the exception of mini-games, the player may use buttons or the stylus whether it is battle, item synthesis, or moving around.

       

 

Innovation:

Atelier Annie may feel quite a bit different to North American players who only had the chance to experience the Atelier Iris series, if anything, Atelier Annie probably feels more similar to the Mana Khemia games. As supposed to traditional dungeon or world exploration, this game is spent entirely on Sera Island. But there are more than enough quests to keep the player busy making one item after another between delivering them to various locations and gathering extra materials.

 

Longevity:

The 3 years on Sera Island pass by very quickly because of the in-depth item synthesis and all the comically dramatic character events. But with seven different endings to discover and ability to carry over Annie’s spending money plus most items, it is well worth the time to revisit Atelier Annie. And for the collectors, the almanacs will certainly take some time to complete, especially the 467 entries long item list.

 

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