Game Review: Atelier Sophie – The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book DX (Nintendo Switch)

Posted July 23, 2022 by Angie in Video Game Reviews / 0 Comments


ESRB Rating: Teen (Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Language)
Release Date: April 22, 2021
Single Player


You play as Sophie, a young aspiring alchemist, who just inherited her grandmother’s atelier. Sophie knows she’s not great at alchemy, but she wants to do her grandmother’s memory proud and help the town. Thankfully, she finds a mysterious talking book named Plachta who tells her about the Cauldron of Knowledge. Plachta is missing most of her memories, so she doesn’t know where the cauldron can be found. But Sophie promises to help her regain her memories in exchange for alchemy lessons.

As Sophie’s alchemy skill improves, Plachta remembers more and more, and not just the location of the Cauldron of Knowledge. She has to remember her purpose, which leads her and Sophie to the ultimate showdown. Of course, this has to turn into a tale about good overcoming evil. Not the most original story, but an enjoyable one. I became quickly invested in Sophie and Plachta’s journey, as well as the side stories of all of the other characters.


This version of the game includes a digital art book, which I flipped through twice before playing. The art is gorgeous and got me super excited to start playing. I really enjoyed the character designs. Everyone has their own unique style, but clearly belong to the same world. The only part that I felt looked a little off was the hair. It’s stiff, so the animations look a bit awkward. It’s also colored in very strangely. The hair just doesn’t fit with the rest of the visuals.

I do love the variety in monsters. There are a lot of different types with multiple variations. It was always a fun surprise to see a new color of a familiar monster, but that’s also a sign that it’s stronger. There are also some special monsters that show up during Rumors, and some of them are super cool looking!

Other than the hair issue, which isn’t really much of an issue, I found it awkward how the NPCs are just kind of there. The village looks amazing, but the people are just standing there staring off into space. You can talk to everyone, but once Sophie is done with them, they go back to just staring. It makes the village feel like a ghost town, even though there are plenty of people around.

Sound Effects + Music:

Atelier Sophie is almost fully voice acted. All of the important cutscenes are voiced in Japanese (default) and English, and some of the regular conversations are voiced as well. I did prefer the Japanese voice acting, as it’s more emotive and fit the tone of the scenes better. But I mostly played with English, even though some of the actors sound less than enthused about the script.

I really enjoyed the background music! There wasn’t a single track that annoyed me. Most of the songs are upbeat and have a fun, adventurous vibe to them. There are also some more relaxing tracks as well. It’s just a well-rounded, well-suited soundtrack. The music during the final boss battle had me on the edge of my seat, just ready to vanquish evil!

Gameplay + Controls:

Atelier Sophie has three main components: gathering, synthesis, and battle. Gathering takes place in special gathering zones, where you can find the ingredients needed for alchemy. Sophie uses her cauldron for synthesis, which is essentially alchemizing those ingredients into useful items. And battle also takes place at the gathering areas, where monsters wait to attack. You’ll also get requests from Mr. Horst, which you can complete (usually killing a certain monster or synthesizing a specific item) in exchange for Cole, the main currency.

Gathering and battles go hand-in-hand. Although you can sneak around or run past enemies if you just want to collect materials without engaging them. There are many locations to unlock that contain different materials. The enemies also vary between locations. And you will have to fight them at some point, not just to level up, but because they drop unique materials when defeated.

Combat took me several battles to understand. I’m very new to RPGs, so I didn’t have much frame of reference here. It’s turn based, and the order of the participants is shown on the side of the screen. You choose actions for each of Sophie’s party members (attack, run, defend, or skill). Once the actions are confirmed, everything plays out in the order shown. It’s actually very straight forward and easy to get into, once you get the gist of it.

Synthesis is actually a ton of fun! I really liked the puzzle element to it. Each ingredient has a size and shape (think Tetris bricks) which you’ll have to fit onto a 4×4 grid to increase the quality and earn extra bonuses. It makes you think more about which ingredient to choose, since one shape may fit better than others, yielding better results. Of course, in the beginning you have poor quality ingredients anyway, but as you level up, you have access to higher quality ingredients.

And make sure that you speak to everyone! Characters have their regular locations that you’ll almost always find them at, but if you see them somewhere else, go up to them. You never know when they’ll have a side quest for you, or important information to move the story forward. Of course, you should also engage with them when they’re in their usual spots, since that will often trigger a cutscene as well. These might be necessary for the plot or just for fun. No one is superfluous.

The game also does a great job of giving you direction to progress without telling you exactly what to do. You can open Sophie’s journal to see what your current “Events” are. These are the main story progression tasks you need to be working on. One is always to unlock one of Plachta’s memories, but there’s occasionally other side missions. You’ll also find the Requests you’ve accepted here. But the most important section is the Recipes, which is laid out like a skill tree. The next recipes you need to unlock will be greyed out and contain a memo hinting at how to unlock it. Some memos are more straightforward than others.

As someone very new to JRPGs, I feel like Atelier Sophie is a great one for beginners. Each element is introduced in a way where you can practice, or get use to it, before moving onto something else. The difficulty also increases steadily, so I never felt like the game was being unfair. Sure, there will be enemies that wipe out your entire party, but there’s no real penalty for it. Sophie will wake up in her atelier, and maybe she’ll have less items than she collected. But now you know what you’re up against with that monster and can better prepare for next time.


Atelier Sophie is a decently long game. It took me 34 hours to reach the end credits, but there still plenty left to do! With the big bad evil gone, Sophie can focus on improving her alchemy and fulfilling requests for her friends and neighbors. I’m looking forward to many more hours in this world. I don’t think I would start over from the beginning as the story would follow the same path.

There are four different difficulty settings, so it’d be interesting to see how the game differs upon changing the level. I had played on Normal, which suited me just fine. There are two more difficult levels (Hard and Despair) and one easier one (Easy).


I adored Atelier Sophie. I think it’s a great introductory JRPG and a super fun game in general. It definitely got me hooked on this series, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the other trilogies and additional games!

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