NIS America Inc.’s Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3 is a unique RPG that combines recipe-making an turn-based battles for a light-hearted, niche adventure.

In Atelier Meruru, users take the role of Princess Meruru, a royal who tires of the kingdom life and holds an interest in alchemy. With the help of alchemy teacher Miss Totori, Meruru learns to synthesize new items to help aid in mission-based settler requests.

To gather items to synthesize, Meruru and a band of kingdom pals must venture to contained areas to battle enemies and gather items.

Combat is simple with traditional turn-based mechanics and quick battles. The title does not include random battles and users are free to engage enemies at will. In addition, users can utilize the world map to jump to any location.

Each recipe holds an alchemy level and users will receive Development Points that can be used to develop the kingdom with new or upgraded buildings.

Synthesizing is straight-forward and all the required ingredients are specified for each recipe.

The graphics engine is solid at 30 to 60 frames-per-second. The cel-shaded characters are a direct translation of the title’s artwork and basic flat-shaded environments complete the anime-like presentation. Voice work is good with plenty of banter between all main characters.

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland is a decent combination of turn-based battles and alchemy production. The title includes plenty of mission-based trials for RPG fans for an unconventional, moderately-paced adventure.

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