Arc of Alchemist (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 30.03.2020

Review for Arc of Alchemist on Nintendo Switch

Arc of the Alchemist has no link to Gust's wonderful Atelier series. It's completely unrelated, and the game actually has no real link to alchemists - instead, it's the latest dungeon-crawling JRPG from Compile Heart and Idea Factory. In a world that may not be too far away from the real one, the planet has been annihilated by wars, excessive use of fossil fuels, and general human stupidity. The planet is now a desert-like wasteland, destitute of resources, with the few remaining people struggling to survive.

In this world, a group of adventurers led by Quinn Bravesford are on a quest to find a MacGuffin called 'The Great Power' that can undo the dehydration of the world. Delving into caves and through colossal deserts in hopes of tracking down a clue towards this holy grail, she and her chibi companions are not the only ones tracking down this great power, as there are more dangers than the inhabitants of the wasteland, since a rival country has dispatched an entire army to capture this Great Power.

There's little more to say about the story, as it hits its rather unsurprising conclusion very quickly. Despite being an Idea Factory, dungeon-crawling style JRPG, this clocks in at around 12 hours or so to complete. The actual gameplay is all based around some basic, mindless, hack-and-slash dungeon-crawling. A single leader is controlled, with two selectable party members to accompany them. This little party delves into the sandy remnants of civilisation, clashing with huge mutated creatures and shambling mechanicals.

The combat is limited to one of two different attacks, depending on the type of weapon equipped, it's a dull and shallow combat system that offers nothing really of note. It's a common issue with these type of games, but it's something most games in this genre are self-aware around, and add something to help the combat stand out. The only thing Arc of Alchemist tries to innovate with, is a system entitled LunaGears. These are limited use abilities that can be used outside of combat to overcome simple obstacles in the environment. Shooting fire to light lamps, building blocks to jump over walls, using wind to stop sandstorms.

Screenshot for Arc of Alchemist on Nintendo Switch

Between the simple combat and the exploration, fitting with the dungeon-crawling element of the game, there are a huge of items collect upon each expedition. This is quite necessary, as no currency is found, and these items are necessary to sell to make money and purchase upgrades. The team level up naturally through gameplay, but the real improvements come from purchasing upgrades back at base. Here the characters base stats can all be improved for a fee, as can some passive abilities like regaining health on attacks or ability to survive fatal blows. It's not just characters that can be improved back at base. The base itself can be enhanced, creating new buildings or enhancing existing ones, unlocking new equipment and unlockables.

Sadly, these elements feel stale right out of the box. The standard gameplay loop of heading into the world to collect items, to return, to level up, to repeat, just feels dull. With nothing to set it apart from the oceans of other games in the exact same ilk out there. Hell, even Idea Factory's other older titles do most of the things this does, but better. In fact, this could easily be confused for a rerelease of a PS2 title, considering the dated mechanics, and also the questionable presentation.

The graphical design is aiming for the cute chibi style, but it misses the mark. Looking low-quality and just plain ugly. The characters look like background NPCs, and the strange emphasis on some body parts with this style just looks… weird. There's a bigger issue with the game than the presentation though, and that's the performance. The frame rate regularly drops through the floor, and the game constantly suffers from stutters and freezing.

Screenshot for Arc of Alchemist on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 3 out of 10


Arc of Alchemist feels so very dated, it could easily be confused for an early Idea Factory title getting its remaster on Switch… without anything actually remastered. Unremarkable and uninspired, it's a quintessential mindless dungeon-crawling RPG, with no real hook to set it apart. There are a million games out there that do exactly what Arc of Alchemist does, but better in every way.


Compile Heart


Compile Heart


Real Time RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


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