Atelier fans have it good on Switch. The launch of Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key, the latest game in the sprawling RPG series, is nearly upon us, and looking back over the series entries that have come to Nintendo's console, there are well over a dozen available to play on Switch.
That's a bumper set of quality RPG-ing from Gust and Koei Tecmo, and with compilation bundles available for a couple of the sub-series (the Dusk Trilogy and Mysterious Trilogy), it's likely that any Atelier fan with a passing interest has multiple entries sitting on their Switch. With Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist Of Salburg lined up for a July launch and bringing everything full circle with a remake of the first game in the series, there's plenty more alchemy in Switch gamers' futures, too.
But which Atelier game is best? It's a tough question to answer given all the different flavours, so we asked Nintendo Life readers to weigh in and help us rank every Atelier title on Switch — and the ranking below is the result!
Remember, similar to our other reader-ranked lists, this is a dynamic ordering that can change in real-time depending on each game's User Rating on the site. Registered Nintendo Life users who haven't yet rated the Atelier games they've played can click on the stars below, rate any them out of 10, and potentially influence the ordering even now.
If you've previously rated these games in our database, well, you're the loveliest of people and we thank you! If not, you can add your score to the game at any time, present or future, and it will still count and potentially influence the order. We say again, the game currently sitting at #1 doesn't have to remain there — the ranking is entirely up to you lovely people!
Okay, enough waffle. Let's take a look at the rundown of the Best Atelier Games on Switch, starting at the bottom...
14. Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World (Switch)
An Atelier spin-off game which launched back in 2019, Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World was released to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary and features a bunch of characters from past games. It added a hefty dose of town management and life sim to the franchise's RPG formula while scaling back the combat. As such, it was sure to rub some of the series faithful the wrong way. It isn't perfect, but it was nice to get a change of pace from the main series, and to onboard potential newcomers with the more sedate town-management angle.
13. Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland DX (Switch eShop)
Originally released on the PS3 in 2011 (in Japan, elsewhere the following year) with a 'Plus' version following on PS Vita in 2013, this third entry in the Arland sub-series revolved around Merurulince Rede Arls — Meruru to her pals — a beansy princess who's after a life of adventure rather than opening libraries, waving limply at loyal subjects, and having to put up with the questionable behaviour of extended family members.
Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland DX is a solid entry, though its protagonist wasn't to everyone's taste, and a weak story leaves it in the mid-to-lower tier of Atelier adventures.
12. Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland (Switch)
Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland proved to be a great entry in Gust’s long-running series. Much like the many concoctions made by the eponymous Lulua, this was a refined product that reflects several of the best traits of its predecessors. If you can get past the ho-hum storytelling and learn to master the intimidating crafting system, you’ll find that the game has plenty to offer in its surprisingly involved combat system, gorgeous locales, and rewarding gameplay loops.
11. Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky DX (Switch eShop)
Atelier Escha and Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky DX gets off to a pretty turgid start with exposition-heavy scenes punctuated with lots of tutorials. However, once it gets its bearings, it's another satisfying tale with two strong lead characters to choose from, a great cast of supporting characters, and that deep alchemy sat right at the centre of it all, pulling the weaker strands of its gameplay together into a satisfyingly unified whole.
10. Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX (Switch eShop)
First released on PS3 in 2012/13, Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX is a welcoming start to the Dusk trilogy. It hits the ground running while gently easing new players in by dialling back the traditional time limit aspect of the alchemy. It's never really going to satisfy the most ardent RPG fan as its exploration is too contained and controlled, and its combat is not ferocious or engaging enough for battle-hardened players.
For everyone else, though, its alchemy is a thing of depth and beauty which creates a satisfying core around the lesser elements. With a strong – if rather small-scale – story backing the whole thing up and time-saving quality-of-life features added to the DX version, Atelier Ayesha is perfect for those looking to dip their toe into the light and breezy, warm-hearted series.
9. Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream (Switch)
2022's Atelier Sophie 2 stands as a wonderful achievement; an entry that feels like the perfect fusion of the old and the new. Sophie’s adventure may not have much to offer up in the story department, but it more than makes up for this with its streamlined design, thrilling combat, expansive world, and addictive alchemy system — all stalwart pillars of the series. It's a winner for both longtime fans and newcomers, and one of the best Atelier releases yet.
8. Atelier Rorona: The Alchemists of Arland DX (Switch eShop)
The first in the Arland lineage, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemists of Arland launched on PS3 in 2009 in Japan, with a 'Plus' version arriving four years later on both PS3 and Vita (and on 3DS in 2015, although only in Japan). Kicking off a much-loved branch of the series in style and introducing us to the city of Arland, Rorona delivers the goods when it comes to lovable characters, simple yet engaging combat, the requisite resource gathering and time management, and a narrative to match. Later entries may have streamlined elements of the series, but Rorona has a lot of heart. Solid stuff.
7. Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea DX (Switch eShop)
The final entry in the Dusk trilogy, and arguably the strongest, Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea DX adds a nice new camera, spices up the alchemy, strengthens the turn-based combat system, and gives you two heroines to play through as, each with a journey unique enough that it's more than worth your while playing through the whole thing twice. World exploration is just as tightly controlled as in previous Atelier games and won't perhaps suit those hoping for a larger sense of adventure or the desire to get completely lost in the wilds of the world but, this is another solid entry that performs excellently on Switch and suits portable play perfectly.
6. Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX (Switch eShop)
This 2015 release arrived on Switch in 2021 in DX form. Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book has you finding the mysterious talking book of the title and working to unlock memories within and improve as an alchemist. With excellent art and the new Dollmake feature, which let you customise the book (named Plachta), Sophie gave the Mysterious series a solid start and the DX version added some welcome QoL options — who wants to stroll when you can sprint? Sophie was also popular enough to get a sequel in 2022, but the first game stands on its own as a series highlight.
5. Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey DX (Switch eShop)
The first game since the start of the Arland series not to release on PlayStation 3, Mysterious Journey stars Firis, who learns alchemy from the previous game's star, Sophie. Firis' adventure sees her embark on a quest to explore the world beyond the cave she was raised in, and to hopefully pass an exam that will certify her as an alchemist. It's certainly nothing revolutionary when it comes to story or mechanics — and Firis also reintroduced the time mechanics — but the brand-new open world felt like a breath of fresh air. And once you'd passed Firis' exam, you were free to explore Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey at your leisure.
4. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout (Switch)
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout lifted the series to new heights in 2019 with a reinvigorated, newcomer-friendly alchemy system and an excellent combat overhaul. The new graphics engine looks glorious and runs beautifully on Switch, the story is thoughtfully paced and heartfelt, and the traditionally slow early hours do a fantastic job of detailing Ryza’s journey from complete beginner to master alchemist. Gust did a brilliant job of taking this long-running franchise and making it appeal to the mainstream more than ever here, and Ryza quickly became a firm fan favourite.
3. Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings DX (Switch eShop)
Atelier Lydie & Suelle followed the familiar-yet-cosy format of the Atelier series, but the DX version on Switch brought about a whole slate of updates and upgrades that make this a bit of a standout. The DX version added a Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists tie-in, a fast-forward for battles, and a photo mode — all welcome additions that improve the experience. As Atelier games go, though, this is simply solid, workaday fare. As the third entry in the Mysterious series, however, this might not be the best place for newcomers to jump in, but it's one of the most rewarding for fans as it ties many of the series' plot threads together. Otherwise, while it's content with relying on what the Mysterious games have done so far, Lydie & Suelle makes for a rather lovely adventure all the same.
2. Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy (Switch)
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends and the Secret Fairy took everything good about its predecessor and further refined it, resulting in what we would say is the best entry in the franchise to date. This may still be a relatively small-scale, old-fashioned JRPG experience, but it's one that's full of heart, great characters, slick combat, and some excellent ruin-based dungeons. Anyone looking for a relaxed and enchanting JRPG to sink their time into need look no further than this second entry in the Secret trilogy.
1. Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland DX (Switch eShop)
Debuting on PS3 in 2010 or 2011 depending on your territory, Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland is the second in the Arland
quadrilogy (oof, what a word! Our apologies for that one) series. Set five years after the first in the series, it sees new wannabe alchemist Totori learning alchemy under the tutelage of Rorona, the previous game's protagonist. Totori, however, is also on a journey to find her lost mother — everyone in Arland thinks she's passed on, but Totori thinks otherwise. While the Arland series is beloved among Atelier fans, Totori is often singled out as one of the best protagonists in the series, and as the second game, this entry settles into a strong, comfortable rhythm, and it's hard to argue with the adorable Totori and her adventure being one of the series' standouts.
And there we have it! We'll be updating this list with future releases, and it'll be fascinating to see how they slot into the ranking. Let us know below if this ordering matches your own, and highlight your personal favourites in the series.
All the main series games are great in their own ways and are really hard to split so I don't think there's too much to be taken out of a list like this but if I had to rank them, my list would probably look very different. I'd probably actually have Totori last of the Arland Trilogy games and Sophie 2 first overall.
I fell in love with this series when I first got to play Atelier Lulua but it's definitely not in my top five. I'd have to go with Ryza 1 (yes, I prefer its story over 2 though the sequel is definitely excellent), Totori, Firis, and... I don't know, I can't settle on a fifth. I love them all.
Wasn't some of these only Asia physical as well.
As an Atelier fan, I can't even argue which is the best. I wanted Sophie to win, but Totori deserves it more, I think. Great protagonist, fantastic music and a somewhat lenient time limits make it a superb entry. That seaside feeling makes it a masterpiece.
Tried getting into one of these games and I just couldn't stay into it...and I'm usually into collecting stuff and using it to create new stuff, too...
Strange ranking, especially when it comes to Switch ports, but generally you can't go wrong with any of them. The first Sophie is great as an introduction.
Actually surprised to see Totori as #1 and not Ryza. But glad to see it. It's such a good game.
But as other have said, you really can't go wrong with any of the Atelier games. (Except Nelke. Avoid that if possible. Not horrible but not a proper Atelier game)
ryza games should be 1&2
I Need to try these Games soon. I've heard so much positive about them. (And also Because I like RPG Games in General.)
Been wondering about these. Thanks.
However, to go from that sterling sub-header to “which games is best”? Gavin, Gavin, Gavin. (Kidding, of course.)
I loved the two Ryza games so I definitely wanna get around to the others someday. Sophie 2 is in my backlog but with Ryza 3 releasing soon it'll have to wait awhile longer.
Wait, Sophie 1 is better than Sophie 2? I enjoyed the few hours of what I played of the first game, but the second game's mechanics and improvements "replaced" it for me.
Ok, so what I see, I didn't make the worst choice with the entries I bought.
Personally, Atelier Ayesha is my favorite, but it was the first I played so I am forever biased. I liked that it was somewhat short and contained and the combat was simple and non-distracting, although I think those two positives are negatives for some. I've quite enjoyed all the Atelier games I've played though. Ryza 2 is still on my backlog, but looking forward to playing it when I have time.
I want to give these a try buying Ryza, but they are so so so expensive. The physical is even more expensive than digital, which is odd for game this old. Must have been a limited release. I guess I wait for a sale.
I have ryes only for eyeza.
@HefHughner The standard Ryza release goes on digital sale for $30 a few times a year. Not super cheap, but a decent price for a good game.
@FishyS Yeah, I will wait for a sale. There are so many and most of the games are years old, so I kinda expected to be able get them a lot cheaper.
I saw that these are highly rated games, so I wanted to give them a shot. Then I realized there are SO MANY, and a lot of pricy collections. I did some research and it seems it's best to play the games in a series in order as the story continues, and that the first Ryza is a good place to start so I bought that. I really should play it soon to see if I should continue the series or not. But I hear words like "wholesome" and "cozy" that give me pause, as I hated Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
I'm actually overwhelmed by my ignorance of how many Atelier games exist on switch
I'm really surprised that Totori is #1 and Firis to be as high as it is, I thought that a lot of fans hated it and I wasn't part of the norm. So I'm thrilled, to say the least. I'm a tad salty that Lulua is as low as it is as that's my favorite entry and my second pick is Shallie. But with all that in mind not a bad list; it'll be interesting too see how this changes in the coming months.
The only Atelier game I've played is Ayesha, which was and is one of the most singularly charming experiences I've ever had with a video game. And the soundtrack was gorgeous. The fact it's so low down the list makes me suspect I've been missing out.
I randomly bought Atelier Rorona, the original not DX version, for my PS3 in the bargain bin a lot of years ago and fell in love with the series. I had the Iris trilogy in the PS2 but those games were somewhat different. Since then I have played all the atelier games and I have the platinum trophy in all except Ayesha DX and Sophie 2. I am waiting to play Ryza 3 later this week!
@Nancyboy Don't know what you mean. Move along, nothin' to see here. 👀
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