The second game to the Arland Series after the events of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland. Taking a few years after the previous game, it begins with Totooria Helmond in the fishing village of Alanya who is working to become an adventurer to find her missing mother. Although one day, unlike any other day, Totori and her sister Ceci found a starving Rorona at their doorstep. They then dragged her in and cooked up a meal for the clumsy alchemist.
With Rorona now traveling around the land and teaching alchemy, she then adopts Totori as a student. Since then Totori has been learning alchemy on her own while blowing up the house a couple of times a week. The optimistic and cheerful Totori would then venture off to Arland, her master’s hometown to become a full-pledged adventurer despite her older sister’s disapproval. But even then she insists of becoming one and finding her mother Gisela Helmond, a famous adventurer who stopped coming home two years ago, even if everyone in the village think she’s dead.
Along with his trusty companion and childhood friend, Gino Knab, they would go on adventures along the vast forest and sandy beaches along the outskirts of Alanya to train and earn the money for the fee required to visit Arland’s Adventurer Guild. But just like any other adventure, you meet new people to help you along the way such as Melvia Siebel an adventurer with amazoness-like strength and Ceci’s best friend. You would also see the changes that has happened over the last few years during Rorona’s story. With Astrid, her master that ran off and is now being pursued by Rorona or her childhood friend Cordelia now working in the Adventurer’s Guild while still being a tad bit smaller than Totori. It’s the kind of things that you’d really appreciate experiencing the entirety of the series as a whole.
While it is a sequel, there are noticeable changes which makes the game a whole new experience. Similar to the old system you’d gather materials, fight monsters and craft them to your advantage. You’d also take advantage of the requests to earn money and the added bonus materials for completing them. However unlike the system we all know, adventuring the world is changed into actual nodes for each area which makes it easier to visit each piece of land without getting lost unlike in Atelier Rorona. Another change happens on gathering and fighting monsters which now takes time depending on the amount of things you do be it fighting monsters or gathering materials. Unlike the previous which only advances the time when you leave the area whether you’ve done anything or not.
Just like Atelier Rorona which is a heartwarming, slice-of-life adventure of pre-teen girls with actual paying jobs, Atelier Totori follows the trend but improves upon it. Without the time-bomb every quarter of the year, it gives you free reign of things you could do while still having the time management intact. And it focused more on adventuring the world than following the pre-determined tasks you’re required to follow. However there are still certain requirements that evaluates your rank as an adventurer to improve your standing within the guild itself.
On a visual standpoint, the world and environment offers small and huge areas that is more open than Atelier Rorona’s environment with paths and boundaries while still keeping the fixed camera angles that changes as you move. And I know I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. The characters are just lovely and vibrant! There’s really nothing more lovable than Mel Kishida’s art and its fairytale storybook quality artistry. Offering both 3D and 2D visual-novel style storytelling.
Atelier Totori takes in the good sides of the previous and improves upon its mistakes. The core story itself is more relatable while still being heartwarming with quite a lot of mishaps and comical cutscenes to go over. The less restricted playthrough makes for a more memorable experience as you’d not be looking at the passing days as often as the previous one did. It’s a game that manages to keep my attention glued for its cheerful theme. Although the only drawback to this is it’s going to be a rather strange spot for newcomers who hasn’t played the previous as it takes place at the same timeline and offers the same or at times related characters from it.