Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland is the 13th instalment of Gust’s storied Atelier series and the third part of the “Arland” trilogy. While at first glance the sheer amount of ground this series has covered makes for a high barrier of entry, skip this title based on intimidation and you’ll miss a very enjoyable experience.
The game stars the titular Meruru, princess of the small kingdom of Arls. An apprentice alchemist studying under the previous game’s heroine, Totori, Meruru is given an ultimatum by her father: use her talents to expand the kingdom’s population and influence in three years or give up alchemy forever. While the premise initially seems to paint Meruru as a repressed victim, she’s anything but. Energetic, motivated and unflappable, she’s surrounded by people who care for her and will assist her in any way they can.