My house is a mess, the kids are wild, I’m pretty sure I need to do laundry, so why not dive into a sim game where I have even more mouths to feed and “smelly beans” to clean up? Thankfully, Alchemic Cutie is there for days when I just don’t think I have enough to do. This adorable Stardew Valley-esque sim-RPG had me hooked from the first minute, even if it was partially in pure frustration.
Everyone has their favourite time-killer game. The one you sit down to after a long day. The one that is mindless, and peaceful and puts your mind at ease. For some this might be Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Stardew Valley, Graveyard Keeper, or—depending on the day—something a little punchier, like Fortnite or Call of Duty. I’ve been addicted to most of those games, and the second I saw Alchemic Cutie I knew it had to be mine, and I was right.
For anyone who has played Stardew, you will recognize this game’s style right away. Even the trees look almost identical. Alchemic Cutie isn’t winning points with originality here, but they are definitely banking on an idea that works. Instead of farming crops and livestock, this game lets you farm Jellies (think Junimos, but bigger). You still have an adorable little town on the Island of Wimba, plenty of characters to befriend and lots of work to do.
You aren’t able to create your own character. You play as Yvette, an alchemist (which doesn’t mean what you think it does, she plays a flute and weird things happen or change), who comes back from alchemy school to help on her family farm raising Jellies. These adorable little squish balls eat, dance, sing and even poop. You heard me. They leave smelly beans all over the island, you pick ’em up, sell them, and sometimes even feed them back to the Jellies. It’s an odd life in Wimba.
The majority of the game is spent gathering items, using alchemy to make new items, delivering packages, and training the jellies. This is where the game gets complicated. Alchemic Cutie appears to be a simple, stress-free game, but there is so much to consider and remember that I have literally started making lists.
“Alchemic Cutie doesn’t do an amazing job of actually explaining much of anything.”
Each Jelly has up to three traits, a shape, colour, and personality, plus you need to keep them fed and happy, and lord knows keeping them happy is near impossible. Once you start farming and delivering Jellies to your Grandma, you will be bombarded with a list that has so many different combinations of traits, colours and so on, that it is hard to keep it all straight.
Not to mention, Alchemic Cutie doesn’t do an amazing job of actually explaining much of anything. There are hundreds of items in the game, and a good chunk of them are “Wearable Items”. It took me a week to realize that the JELLIES wear the items, not you. I was pressing every button imaginable to try things on and it turned out that the item wearing menu is buried three submenus deep on a Jelly’s page.
There are plenty of things that go unexplained in Alchemic Cutie, and it makes me long for the days of big, hardcover game guides. I’m all for having to test things out and turn them into something else. That isn’t my issue here. You’re taught bits and pieces and left to put more together, like breeding Jellies. I know how, but I don’t really understand how the stats work with the new Jelly, and it is only touched on very slightly.
“There are plenty of things that go unexplained in Alchemic Cutie, and it makes me long for the days of big, hardcover game guides.”
The big problem is that it takes a lot of time before you figure out that you’re missing something that seems so simple, or you spend hours trying to find something only to realize it may be out of season. Or maybe that there is a menu hiding under all the other menus that you never saw, it was a week before I found out the Jellies had traits AND personalities, for instance. It still looks like I can edit a Jelly’s name, but I have no idea how. It’s really my only major gripe, a lack of guidance.
The game has a few bugs that I hope the developers work out soon. There is a back button in the dialogue options that doesn’t do anything. A few times (on two different systems) the game became so choppy that I had to close the game and reload for it to work properly. These problems are minimal, but bothersome, nonetheless.
The strangest issue though, is the menu. There are ores, two of which are called SoKite and Tumite. Tumite affects a Jelly’s Tummy stat and SoKite affects its Social stat. In your inventory, they are marked correctly, but once placed in your storage, it swaps the effect saying SoKite is for Tummy and Tumite is for Social. Once I caught on, it didn’t affect anything, but I definitely wasted ore early on.
Alchemic Cutie features a variety of quests. Though some may be repetitive, I haven’t had a moment with less than eight of them, and that is really just busy work when you can’t gather anything else for your shipment—a weekly quest of things you need to gather. I started stockpiling early to be ready for other seasons once I noticed that several of my shipments asked for items I’ve never seen.
Alchemic Cutie has plenty to do, and two weeks in I haven’t even entered a new season yet. The game brings a lot to the table and ensures there is enough material to keep you playing. There are still plenty of places I haven’t figured out how to get to, so if anyone has any tips, please comment below. Alchemic Cutie is the sim-RPG for you if you plan to be in it for the long haul. This game takes some work to figure out, but once it clicks, there is no stopping you.