JRPG Review

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg – Review

Spanning dozens of games, multiple manga and anime adaptions, and even guest appearances in other titles, the Atelier series is extensive. But it all started back in 1997, with a small Japanese-only title known as Atelier Marie. Now, 26 years later, it’s officially coming to English audiences as Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg.

 The Grand Academy’s Worst Student

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg follows the titular Marie (also known as Marlone), a failure of an alchemy student. She’s more the type to doodle in her textbook than read it, so it’s no surprise that it looks like she isn’t going to graduate as an alchemist.

As the student with the worst scores since the founding of the Grand Academy, drastic measures are needed. Marie is set a special exam; to run an Atelier for five years, and learn enough to create a high-rank item by then to graduate.

It’s a fairly simple setting, and aside from a few scenes of the professors worrying over her progress, it never goes far beyond it. Instead, the story is more about the residents of the city of Salburg and their relationships with Marie.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg - Event

Hireable Friends

From a gentle friend to a bandit to knights and adventurers, Marie can spend time with several people around the city. Whenever Marie goes gathering, she can hire two people to bring along with her. This and triggerable events are how Marie can become closer to them.

There are some interesting personalities here, with one of my favorites being Kreis, a stuck-up rival student who often argues with Marie. None are particularly deep though, without much backstory or depth of personality. I enjoyed the time spent with them, but it does become very apparent that this is a smaller title than more recent entries in the series here.

While the remake adds some events compared to the original, it’s still worth mentioning that there aren’t a huge amount of character events. Some are easy to miss too, only triggering if you happen to have a character at a certain friendship level and take them along to a certain place or meeting other specific criteria, so it can feel like even less. It’s even possible to miss certain characters completely. On the plus side, this can make replays slightly different.

The Gatherer

Outside of the story scenes, most of your time in Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg will be spent gathering, fighting, or using alchemy. Aside from that, you can pick up quests to craft an item or listen to rumors from the townspeople, which occasionally hints at finding optional content.

There isn’t much direction in Atelier Marie Remake. There are assignments from your professor, which are an addition to the remake, but I found that I had completed or near completed all of them by the time they were assigned. It was always just a general objective, such as ‘visit 10 areas’. 

Quests do give some direction, but they’re more about making money than progress, except for the rarer character quests to advance a story. These usually involved making an item.

There are some other objectives, such as ways to unlock new recipes or certain scenes, but they’re often things that can be searched out, rather than directed to.

I spent most of my time visiting areas on the map to collect ingredients. These are fairly small maps, where I picked up resources, and fought monsters. Areas didn’t have many ingredients to find, but there weren’t many repeats from other places, which helped them to feel more unique.

Picking fights with the local monsters was useful too to collect resources. A handful of boss creatures exist, though these are only really needed to unlock certain endings.

Between these, the general flow was to get the ingredients, use alchemy to make a new item, and fulfill the quest or conditions with it. If not, then use the money to buy new recipes or tools, keep unlocking things and going places, and hope it triggers an event eventually. It’s a mixed blessing, with a lot of freedom, but potentially long periods of feeling like no progress. Despite this, it still managed to instill a feeling of wanting to continue and find the next step, and unlocking something new was always satisfying.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg - Combat

The Hunter

The combat in Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is simple but fun. As mentioned, you can recruit up to two of several characters to join you and fight monsters.

Most maps give you enough maneuverability to avoid monsters, but defeating them gives you experience and items, sometimes including a few that are rare to find from gathering. Plus, it’s always fun to hit first to get the drop on them.

It’s a turn-based combat system with all the standards; attack, special attack, guarding, and items. Of course, being an Atelier title, the items do stand out. I defeated all of the bosses by using overpowered items that I created in the atelier. Characters only have a couple of special attacks each, the second unlocking at a very late level, so variety here really comes from the selection of items.

If you don’t enjoy it, there is an auto-battle system. That said, it can be very wasteful with MP and items, and you don’t automatically recover these when you head back to the base, needing to spend time and resources to recover.

I found the combat fairly easy on normal and even cleared the toughest boss in a few rounds. There is a hard mode and an unlockable very hard mode for more challenge, but they give more experience too. There is a ‘battle tower’ too, but it’s much shorter than you may expect.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg - Alchemy

The Alchemist

When the ingredients are gathered, alchemy is fairly simple in Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg, especially compared to later Atelier titles. Sometimes items need to be made as components for other items, but the actual creation is mostly just a matter of keeping an eye on efficiency in terms of how many ingredients are used when a single tool may use half an ingredient and throw away any leftover, so it’s better to create two of them. There’s nothing like item quality being affected by multiple factors or item attributes to transfer. It’s a simple system for an older game.

The success rate is the main thing to watch. It depends on Marie’s level, the fatigue that builds up when using alchemy, and whether relevant tools are available. That said, fully fatigued and without utensils and I still typically succeeded. Failures were rare, so it never felt like a system to consider too strongly.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg - Minigame


While they rarely occur, it’s worth mentioning that minigames do appear in Atelier Marie Remake. These tend to be fairly basic games like chasing down a mouse and blocking its path, or hitting falling monsters before they stack too high.

They’re a nice way to break up the standard gameplay loop, but not much else.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg - Bald Weapon Shop Owner

Counting Down

Almost every activity will use up days. Whether you pick a flower, beat down a monster, travel somewhere, or create a potion, at least a day will have passed. Creating certain items can take over a week.

Throughout the time playing, there are a handful of special days to try and keep track of. A calendar is available, though it doesn’t list all events. Luckily it will warn you if your alchemy work or some other tasks will make you skip one of these. That said, it doesn’t let you know for all tasks or all special days, so it’s certainly possible to be off fighting monsters and miss the market day or academy sale.

The main aim is to succeed within five years. When that time is up, one of several endings will happen, depending on the conditions met (or not met). Unless you’re playing on unlimited mode anyway, without the time limit.

Whether it’s hiring fairies to create items or gather ingredients for you, or making sure you don’t collect ingredients you don’t need, there are ways to be more efficient. Even on my first attempt where I spent quite a while figuring things out, I’d met the conditions for almost all endings with a year left over. It seems fairly relaxed as long as you keep an eye on it. There’s a skip days method which is useful for replays to get other endings too and new game plus benefits that can help future playthroughs too.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg - CG

Chibi and Sprites

The art in Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is a mix of 2D sprites on backgrounds, CGs, and 3D ‘chibi’ style models. The story is told through a mix of these with cutscenes, but most of the time will be spent looking at the 3D models.

The 2D artwork is beautiful, much like any modern Atelier title. The 3D models are as simple as you’d expect from the art style but still manage to be expressive through movement and changing expressions.

Characters are voiced in Japanese only, and were fine, if not standout. The background music was about the same, though notably did include options for the remake music or original.


Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is a fun if simple title. Despite major differences, I can see how it led to titles such as Atelier RyzaAyesha, or Sophie

The remake has done a great job of bringing it to modern audiences, but it still shows its age. Taking it for what it is though, a look back at the origins and initially a PlayStation 1 title, there’s still a lot of enjoyment to be had. Just don’t expect an epic JRPG tale where you save the world here. You are but a simple alchemist, helping her friends and the townspeople.


Platforms: PC (Steam), Switch, PlayStation 4

If you enjoy JRPGs, perhaps you’d like to take a look at Fairy Tail? Or perhaps you’d like to take a look at Atelier Ryza, Atelier Ryza 2 or the remaster of the earlier Atelier Ayesha?

Many thanks goes to Koei Tecmo for a PlayStation 5 review code for this title.

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