A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is a fantasy role-playing game available for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC. Players take control of twin sisters helping their alchemist father, which takes them on a string of adventures through circumstance. The basic controls are menu driven and relatively easy to navigate, though crafting, another big part of the game, can be a lot more difficult to get the hang of. The violence is pretty tame, with players fighting a steady stream of monsters, but the combat isn't particularly graphic. Parents should also be aware that some characters in the game are presented in suggestive outfits and poses, while others are occasionally presented as drunk -- often with accompanying dialogue pointing this out.
What's it about?
ATELIER LYDIE & SUELLE: THE ALCHEMISTS AND THE MYSTERIOUS PAINTINGS tells the story of twin alchemists, Lydie and Suelle, and their personal mission to help make their father's shop the greatest in the land. Things are rough at first, with the shop's reputation lacking almost as much as its customer count. One day, the girls discover a mysterious painting and, while looking it over, find themselves pulled inside. The world within the painting is filled with mystery and danger. It's also filled with rare materials perfect to help their father's shop to grow. With this strange new ability at their disposal and a wealth of unique paintings, the girls dive straight into adventure, determined to explore these artistic worlds. Along the way, they'll not only help their father's success, but also learn more about themselves and their skills.
Is it any good?
This adventure game is as bubbly and light as its subject matter, which will appeal to many players, but its repetitive play eventually wears thin. Artist Philip Guston once said that "Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic," but in In Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings, that takes on a whole different, and literal, meaning. These works of art are actually portals to new and magical worlds. It's an interesting concept with some real potential, but the game as a whole just feels shallow and light. That's not to say it doesn't have its fair share of fun bits, but it's ultimately more kitsch than masterpiece.
Atelier Lydie & Suelle is a lighthearted role-playing game best played in smaller doses. The characters are bubbly and fun, and the banter between them is cheesy at best. The different paintings the twins explore are also colorful, with plenty of personality. The problem is that no matter how different the world around you looks, you're always doing the same things: Fight. Collect materials. Craft. Wash, rinse, and repeat. And since there's never any real depth in the game's plot, there's no sense of urgency to accomplish anything. That makes for a great occasional diversion, but after a while the cycle of repetition starts to wear on you. Before long, you can't help but feel like you're just going through the motions instead of appreciating the game's style.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the positive portrayal of women in games. What are some of the positive ways that women are portrayed in video games like Atelier Lydie and Suelle? What are some examples of strong heroines and role models? Do you think that happens in this game or not? Why?
Talk about violence in video games. Is the violence in Atelier Lydie and Suelle OK because you're mainly fighting monsters?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Koei Tecmo
- Release date: March 27, 2018
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: February 19, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.