Atelier Meruru: The Apparentice of Arland for the PlayStation 3 is the latest game in Gust's Atelier series. It features a world-development mechanic and marks the end of the Arland storyline. The game was released in Japan on June 23, 2011. NIS America published the game in Europe and North America on May 29, 2012.
The Als Kingdom is a small nation located on the far northwest part of the Arland land. Gio, the leader of the Arland Republic, proposes with Lord Dessier, King of Arls and a long-time friend, to have the Als Kingdom merge with the Arland Republic. To quell any criticisms from opposing parties regarding the merger, the Arls Kingdom undergoes a development project to increase its own presence and influence. To assist in developing and growing the Arls Kingdom to meet its goal, Arland sends out a group of skilled adventurers to assist and oversee the development project. Among those in the group is alchemist Totooria Helmond.
Merurulince Rede Arls, Princess of Arls, admires Arland's advanced technology and use of alchemy and plans to use alchemy to develop her kingdom to match Arland's status. Eager to learn alchemy, she convinces Totori to take her in as an apprentice in hopes to master alchemy and increase prosperity to her own kingdom.
Meruru can perform synthesis by going up to the cauldron inside an alchemist workshop. A list of items will pop up when Meruru is ready to perform an item synthesis.
Each item listed is detailed with the following information.
- Synth Days: The amount of days it takes for the item to be synthesized.
- MP Used: The amount of MP needed to perform the synthesis.
- Difficulty: The difficulty of synthesizing an item depends on Meruru's alchemist level. If Meruru is at or above the item's alchemist level, the item will be considered easy to synthesize. If she is close to the item's alchemist level, the difficulty will be normal (okay). Items that are tough to synthesize is where Meruru's alchemist level is well below the item's alchemist level.
- Effects: Notes particular effects when the item is used in the field.
- Item Information: Provides basic information on the item.
The synthesis process begins once the player selects the desired item to synthesize. Once the item is selected, the player can select how many units of the item to produce. The amount of days will change depending on how many units will be produced. The beginning of the synthesis process also shows Meruru's alchemist level, the item's target alchemist level, how much MP will be used during the process, and the date of when the process will end.
Once the number of units are confirmed, the player selects the ingredients required to synthesize the desired item. After the player confirms the required ingredients, the synthesis is performed. If the synthesis is successful, the player can select the traits up to the total cost level. A maximum of five traits can be attached to the item. The synthesis process ends after the traits are added and the item is now available to use.
During the synthesis process, the ingredient's quality and traits are factored into the final result of the synthesized item. Higher quality ingredients selected into the synthesis process will produce higher quality items and increased cost levels where higher quality traits can be attached to the synthesized item. The ingredient's traits that are selected into the process will be carried over to be available to select from at the end of the process.
New items can be added to the synthesis list during the course of the game, rewards from completing certain quests, and acquiring recipe books from shops. Once Meruru returns to the workshop, she'll learn the new recipes, which will then be available to synthesize afterward.
Meruru can scour the area to collect synthesis ingredients at gathering points, battle monsters, and accomplish assigned tasks to gain popularity and points to further develop the Arls Kingdom. Gathering ingredients and battling monsters consumes time.
Gathering Ingredients: Meruru can gather ingredients at a gathering point in the field, which are indicated in Meruru icon. Normal synthesis ingredients are indicated in a blue-colored icon, while rare ingredients are shown with a yellow-colored icon. The player can select which ingredients to store to Meruru's basket from what is available at the gathering patch.
Battle: Meruru can enter into a battle by making contact with a monster. She can attain first strike in battle if she strikes the monster with her staff.
Atelier Meruru runs a turn-based battle system where Meruru's party and monster takes turns battling each other until one side emerges victorious, usually when one side's party is defeated. A turn-order graphic is shown on the top-right corner of the screen to show which member's turn is coming up.
The player can select the following four commands in battle.
- Attack: The member performs a normal attack on a monster. Some character's normal attacks can hit multiple monsters, while other's have an ailment included with their normal attack.
- Skill: Skills consist of a member's special powerful attack or abilities that assist a member's particular stat. Using a skill consumes a member's MP.
- Item: Only Meruru, Totori, and Rorona (the game's alchemists) have the item command available. They can use various items available from the basket to use in battle.
- Guard: The member gets into a defensive stance and will incur half of the original damage of a monster's attack. Using the guard command allows the player to slot that member's next turn in the turn-order.
- Flee: The party flees from battle. The chances of fleeing from a battle is increased if a member has a high speed stat. However, chances of fleeing is low if the party is battling a strong monster.
Meruru's friends can assist her in the middle of battle. A friend must have their assist meter filled for them to perform the assist, which is filled as they fight in battle. There are three instances in battle where the assist can be used. Each friend can store up to three assists.
- Meruru Uses an Attacking Item - Her friend follows up with a normal attack on the same monster. If both friends have the meter, both friends can perform the follow-up attac.
- Meruru is Being Attacked by a Monster - Her friend jumps in front of Meruru and takes the brunt of the damage intended to hit Meruru.
- Meruru Performs a Special Command - Her friend follows up with a special command of their own.
The following ailments can occur during a battle.
- Poison: Damages a member at the start of their turn.
- Sleep: A member cannot act until they are hit.
- Curse: Removes a member's buffs that they have incurred and will not recover HP. (e.g. removes a member's attack increase)
- Blind: Decreases a member's attack hit and evasion.
- Slow: The member's next turn will come up more slowly during battle.
- Fatigue: If a member's LP is less than 50%, their stats will decrease a bit.
- Exhaustion: If a member's LP is less than 25%, their stats will decrease significantly.
All ailments except for fatigue and exhaustion can disappear during battle.
Other Battle Information
First Strike - If the player successfully strikes the monster out in the field with Meruru's staff, Meruru's party will attack first.
Cost - Each action perform comes at a cost. If you select a member's action that comes at a high cost, then the member's member next turn will appear much later in battle.
End Battle Results
Meruru's party will earn adventure points, money, and particular ingredients depending on the monsters defeated after winning a battle. When a member is promoted to a new level after accumulating enough adventurer's points, they will earn an increase in HP, MP, LP, and learn new skills at specific levels.
Meruru's Party Falls in Battle
If Meruru's party is defeated in battle, the game does not end. Instead, the party retreats back to the nearest workshop with the cost of days needed to travel back to the workshop.
NIS America released a premium edition of Atelier Meruru through pre-order from their website, which includes the game, the game's soundtrack on CD, a small character archive art book, and a "Barrel!" t-shirt.
Character Archive Art Booklet
The character archive art booklet provides a brief summary of the major characters of the game along with a few rough sketches of each character.
In recognition of the long running tradition of the Atelier franchise where main protagonist says "Barrel!" when the player prompts the character next to a barrel, NIS America produced a t-shirt that had an image of the barrel along with the word "Barrel!" in cursive text.
Soundtrack (Arls of Music)
The CD soundtrack contains 25 tracks of songs that are featured in Atelier Meruru.
- Little Crown
- Alchemy Girl Meruru's Song
- Atelier Meruru
- Small Kingdom's Town
- Courtly Dance
- Forest Dance
- Fort Fanfare I
- Dance with Me?
- Wind-Blooming Mountain
- Fountainhead Greens
- The Lonely Inn
- Living Forest
- To the Burnt Red Land
- Through the Darkness of Books
- Princess March
- Everyday Me
- Trefoil Bookmark
- 2 Teaspoons of Honey
- Everyday Workshop
- Gigantic Crimson