Arc of Alchemist Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Arc of Alchemist
Genre: RPG| Action|Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4)
Developers|Publishers: Idea Factory| Compile Heart
Age Rating: EU3+| USA 10+
Price:  $39.99|US $39.99| AU $60.00| CA $ 52.91|£35.99
Release Date: 6th February 2020

Review code used thanks to Reef Entertainment 

Arc of Alchemist is an RPG/ Adventure game, according to the info on Nintendo’s web page it has been newly polished for a western release. Released from a publisher and developer who have a lot of RPG games in their back catalogues. I thought I was in for an enjoyable RPG adventure when I took the game on to review. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case!

Desert of Beginnings

Quinn, a young daring commander, along with her squad of soldiers are sent to the Desert of Beginnings, an endless sprawling desert that was once know as the Planet of Water. Every resource available to humanity has been used to the point of extinction and humanity will suffer the same consequences if they don’t find the Great Power that lurks in the desert.

Quinn is armed with an ancient alchemic device, the Lunagear which according to legends of old once was equipped with four orbs that will unlock the Great Power and save humanity. But… Oh No!  There is only one orb in the Lunagear and Quinn and her squad must find the three orbs while avoiding the dangerous metal Machine Dolls wandering the desert.

Chats and Monologue Gems

You start the game with the majority of your squad of soldiers with Quinn and already busy with their quest to save humanity. There is little explanation off how they have got this far, nor much of a back filler on the story. Or even how they all ended up as soldiers with Quinn as their leader. You’re just dropped into the middle of a bewildering non story.

After each mission, or if you die, you are warped back to base, where you are treated to a cut scene between two of the squad. They’ll have a random chat about something you know nothing about such as holding a party for the 100th anniversary of the Expedition force and what room it should be held in. Most of these conversations don’t have anything to do with giving the player some history of the characters or a background story.

Quinn adds little thoughtful monologue gems to story as you go along. Thoughts that she feels the need to share with the player; I really wish she hadn’t. Here’s one of Quinn’s gems that she shares, “ I will do my best to survive. I am sure the answer of how I want to die will come later” !!  I can only describe it as depressing reading for the player and I didn’t particularly like reading many of Quinn’s thoughts throughout the 6 or so hours of the game.

Overall the story just feels empty and lacking. It certainly doesn’t gel the player to the characters or give the player a sense of knowing and liking the characters in a way that other RPG’s are extremely good at.


I’d like to tell you that the gameplay in Arc of Alchemist is where the game comes into its own and shines but unfortunately I can’t, but more on that shortly.

When you leave the base and go on a mission the environments to explore are open and it’s all deserts. There aren’t many places to explore. Enemies pop up in front of Quinn and her squad to fight as they run along. There are Event point’s, question marks stuck in the sand.  When you reach one of these a cutscene triggers and a fight. The desert maps are mostly bare and feels empty, with a lack of items to find and discover.

Other than the odd chest, a few resources and enemies to fight, you’re just moving around on an empty map from one Event point to the next.

Combat and Back to Base

You control Quinn directly and you can set the controls for the AI squad if you wish. Or you can just let them loose on the enemy, either way the end result is the same. Hack and slash is how combat goes down in Arc of Alchemist with lots of button mashing. Quinn’s squad will take out a basic enemy in a second (yes it’s over that quickly) but when it comes to a boss fight they are the ones that are dead in a flash. The difficulty spike goes way, way up when you meet a boss and you get wiped out in an instant and sent back to base.

Back at base you can improve your camp with the resources you’ve collected and upgrade your squads stats and learn new abilities. You can also improve your facilities at the base to purchase tiered gear and items. But why would you want to if every weapon is much the same as the last and the squad have the same stats? There is no variety or reward in doing so.

Arc of Alchemist plays out in a repetitive loop of running around empty deserts, void of anything interesting, collecting materials and eventually running into a difficult boss before being sent back to base.

Major Frame Rate Issues

I could go on and on about Arc of Alchemist’s many, many faults but I would bore you and myself silly if I did that. However I haven’t even mentioned it’s biggest problem in what I have already covered, this problem over shadows the whole game.

Arc of Alchemist has horrendously, atrocious frame rate issues. The frame rate drops dramatically when out in the desert to the point that it hurts your eyes. In the heat of combat your characters turn in to a blurry mess with the occasional flash of light from a weapon.

In handheld mode the game is virtually unplayable. I thought to myself: I’ll try it in the dock with the TV and see if that makes a difference. Nope, just don’t try docked mode either, as it’s scary how bad that looks.


In my opinion Arc of Alchemist should never have been released in the eShop or advertised as “Newly Polished” in  Nintendo’s blurb for the game, and priced at $40. It did get an update on the day of release but I can honestly say it has made no difference to how the game runs and preforms.

The controls for the game work fine, but I’m afraid that really is the only good thing I can say about Arc of Alchemist. I’m sorry to report that in all my years of gaming this is the worst game I’ve every played or reviewed.

Our lowest score is ” I don’t Like it” but I really want to add my advice to this: please don’t waste your money on it.

Final Verdict: I don’t like it I Don't like



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