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Rating: 4.1/5 (116 votes)
Comments (29) | Views (13,073)


SatoriContrary to popular belief alchemy isn't about turning lead into gold. Its focus is more on refining people into a pure state of perfection and self-actualization. But in this new title from Mosiakov Viacheslav, Linchenko Sergey and musician Kevin MacLeod we also learn that alchemists can only eat light, and that when it starts disappearing they have what's known in the biz as "A Major Problem". Clearly, this calls for delegations of adepts to research and study the phenomenon. High-level summit meetings to formulate a collective plan of action. Or, you know, they could all just assign the task of restoring the light to you while they stand around blocking your progress and imperiously issuing fetch quests. Take a wild guess which — and then set all of civilization to rights yourself in this gorgeous platformer, Alchemist!

For the alchemical novices among us, restoring the light is a highly technical process that involves scouring the landscape for rare ingredients with the [arrow] keys, bringing them back home and dumping them all into your gigantic metal cauldron. Seriously, that thing could fit like three people. I don't even want to think about how much it weighs but clearly alchemists have a much better nightlife than we've been led to believe — provided nobody minds the odd mermaid scale bubbling up in their hot tub, that is. The game is pretty sparing with its checkpoints, and this increases its difficulty due to the fact that alchemists apparently have the structural integrity of candy corn and a single hit will send you back to the last one. Your metaphysical scavenger hunt list is actually pretty brief which means that although this isn't something you'll get through on your coffee break, it's more something you should be able to finish over lunch. And you should definitely take in the imaginative design of the scenery (reminiscent of Brian Moriarty's Loom) and the fluid play mechanics of this cozy, atmospheric platformer.

Initially, the review mentioned the game as a 'metroidvania platformer' game. As here, on JiG, we listen our readers and as many of them do not share this personal view from Satori, we decided to remove this mention.

Play Alchemist


That is the most beautiful game I have played in a month of Sundays. Kevin MacLeod's sound track alone would earn it a 5/5 by itself let alone anything else.

If you are like me and hate hitting the help then rest assured that this one just takes you to an overview map. Very helpful!

I personally thought the check points were fairly spaced given that you did not lose any items if you died before reaching one.

The only thing that gave me any trouble was

catching a mouse, but I knew it had to be somewhere having tried to leap off of every available precipice!


I just need the last igredient 9the rune) but I can´t get it from top of the edge. Anyone?

Username April 23, 2014 5:59 PM

Okay, how to catch the mouse?!? I feel like I've explored the entire map.



Have faith, remember what the runes said about walking from the top edge at the east


Look lower than you have looked before

you can drop down where you went up to the chest on the lift

Username April 23, 2014 6:22 PM

Wonderful, thank you!


I liked the review better than the game. The game seemed too simple; too much like a copy of all the other games just like it.


Mmnghh..I really wish people would stop calling games like this "metroidvania". This is an exploratory platformer at best. Metroidvania, to me at least, is about going around and exploring, killing enemies, and collecting upgrades, most of which either give more ways or make it easier to kill enemies, and some of which make the enemies more survivable. In short, I don't think any game where you can't even attack qualifies as a metroidvania.

uncopy2002 April 23, 2014 9:24 PM

Well, yep, decided to play the game because I saw "metroidvania", except that I'm dissapointed that it isn't at all.


8771. Not that bad a game. 4.5 stars. What the heck does "metroidvania" mean anyways??

Cyberjar88 April 24, 2014 1:08 AM

@satori: Clearly, you've never seen FMA.


This is not a metroidvania game. At all. Even if it were, 'metroidvania platformer' would be redundant since both metroid, castlevania, and metroidvania games are platformers.


Yet Another, Not-Metroidvania Comment. Please remove the tag.

Also, as ProfPuppet said, Metroidvania games are by definition platformers.

On an unrelated note, I miss the days where logins were not required to comment.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawn5vhn23TJyZKZ7u0BaaG_RGipaE6MwIW0 April 24, 2014 3:54 PM

Tried three browsers. I almost rage-quit from lag. But a very pretty, albeit short, game. Thank god the map was small enough to not require hours of searching back and forth.


Phew. I was actually worried I was quibbling about terms and nobody would agree with me. Heh.


Such heat over such a beautiful game. I am however going to add some fuel to the fire.

Satori is corect in one very important respect to quote - I thought Alchemist had enough of the qualities of a metroidvania title to interest fans of the genre

When I see that tag my face goes all upsy daisy yes! By the time I realised it was not quite, I did not give the proverbial fig - I was hooked into a game that has all the beauty and atmosphere (and a few quests) I would expect from such a tag. I very soon realised upgrades were not going to come .. but it was too late by then I was hooked. It seemed so mean in my original comment to say it was not metroidvania.

Short, simple, sweet, beautiful I can only hope for a sequel.

((on a side not I still cannot see how or why the guys here at JIG refuse to review Boundaries of truth, in my mind one of the best undiscovered metroidvania flash games, imho))


I thought metrovania was a platformer genre with the twist of upgrades that allow the player explore more. Games like Pieces, Knytt Stories and Robot Wants are platformers with collectible upgrades.


Hi yaddab,

I'm not sure where you get the idea that we "refuse" to review a game. I don't see anything in our submission box related to that game whatsoever. If you think a game is worth a feature, by all means submit it like everyone else! :) With the literal hundreds of thousands of games out there, there will ALWAYS be games we simply miss... that's what makes our helpful community so welcome when they let us know.

To everyone else,

I'm thrilled to see such a spirited, passionate, intelligent conversation! All I want to do is remind all of you to keep it clean, and keep it civil. :)


Log-ins have been required for commenting for a very long time. Years in fact. :) They were briefly disabled a month or so ago, and turned back on for the reasons Satori describes.


Not to beat a deadhorse, but to me Metroidvania is pretty clear cut. Examine the core elements shared between Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, arguably the games from which the term was originally derived. AKA: a single large explorable 2d platforming map, broken into subsections with various obstacles scattered about requiring the player to find/unlock skills, equipment, items or defeating bosses before going back to reexplore. Puzzles, Non linearity, backtracking, secret areas, maybe some hidden skills or mechanics the player can figure out on their own (Soul Steal, Crystal Flash). That is Metroidvania.

Well, you say, aside from the platforming bit, that sounds an awful lot like Zelda. And that is the key isn't it? The community went out of their way to create a term to describe a Zelda like platforming game. Zelda is excluded from the list. So, if I may repeat myself, by definition, metroidvania games are platformers.

As for '3d Metroidvania'... as far as I know, there isn't really such a term. Mainly due to the fact that 3d metroidvania has far more in common with Zelda than Metroid. I'm pretty sure those are still being classified as Action-Adventure... or something. "The Secret of" series was labeled Action-RPG, so maybe Action-Adventure-RPG? These days games are getting so free form that they overshoot the mark and go straight to sandbox. If anyone knows the proper term for Zelda-like games, please let me know!

As for Minecraft, that is obviously sandbox. It is almost the definition of sandbox. Any other classification would be silly.

(FYI: While an excellent game, I don't consider Cave Story worthy of the Metroidvania tag either, due to linearity. Having multiple smaller maps instead of one large map is a big part of the problem. There just isn't enough focus on exploration. If memory serves me right, Alphaland and Recluse also fall short.)

@Dora: Yes, I know. I was a reader years before the login requirement went up. Though I think I've only commented about four times since. Hate required logins.


Sorry Dora, refuse was a bit strong, and not what I intended to mean - judgement of any game will always to subjective! The perils of internet communication.

Anyway posted in support not to muddy the waters here any further

Danwareld April 26, 2014 6:41 AM

This is going to be less about the game and more about the tag, so let me get it out of the way: I liked Alchemy, it's a good game.

Not a metroidvania at all, however.

So, allow me to summarize what I see here in the comments so far.

  • Satori thinks that metroidvanias aren't necessarily platformers.

  • (inferred from Alchemy having the metroidvania tag:) Satori thinks that metroidvanias don't necessarily have upgrades

  • Satori thinks there are enough metroidvania elements in Alchemy to interest fans of the genre (can we get a list of those elements, at least?).

  • Satori thinks that Minecraft is a enough of a metroidvania to bring it up in this discussion.

  • Satori thinks it is a good idea to use tags on a major site according to his own personal estimations of what tags mean and not what the readers expect them to mean (and go out of their way to vocally state).

  • Satori thinks that changing tags due to reader comments would set a dangerous precedent in terms of trolling.

I was originally going to comment, but when brought together like this, those points pretty much speak for themselves. Then again, maybe they only do only for those who already know and care what a metroidvania is. For those who don't know, let me present this quote:


"Metroidvania" is a term used to describe side-scrolling games with large, open worlds, new areas of which are accessible only with certain items or powerups. Take away the side-scrolling element, and you've got Zelda; take away the powerups, and you've got Pitfall.

While Joystiq is hardly the ultimate authority, this is pretty much the most to-the-point definition I could find in 5 minutes. Most importantly, it tells you what you get when you remove elements Satori considers non-essential (unlike just about anyone else commenting on the issue).

So, why is this tag thing so important? Because now I know that tags on JIG don't mean a whole lot. They can be used like in SEO optimization at best ("hey, this is sorta relevant, so we gotta add it!") and arbitrarily at worst. Ending? A roguelike. Kairo? An FPS. Pacman? A metroidvania. Hey, it has enough of the qualities of a metroidvania title to interest fans of the genre! (the only element of metroidvania that Alchemy has is that it's a platformer, and, apparently, even that is not essential, so why not Pacman?)

So yeah, congratulations, JIG's tag system can no longer be trusted to represent much of anything.

But still, I want to offer some words of encouragement to Satori. Stay strong, and don't fix your mistakes. This would set a dangerous precedent in terms of trolling.

Danwareld April 26, 2014 7:30 AM

I have to apologize. Misspelled the game's name every time I used it (that's a whopping 4 of them). I'd love to correct my mistake, but it seems there is no way to.

NeEdLeSs NoOdLeS April 26, 2014 5:33 PM

I think people have been rather rude...

Nice game. Though the lagging sort of bugs me.


Once again, I would like to remind people to please keep things civil. Flames and snark don't build bridges and open minds. We welcome all constructive, healthy, polite feedback, and politely request that players deliver it in the manner they themselves desire we respond to it. We respect you guys, and I humbly request that you do the same to us, even when we don't agree.


This is beautiful, but almost unplayably slow.

And it's absolutely not a metroidvania. :)


Thanks to all for your participation in the debate.
It's good to discuss about different opinions, feelings.
I fully agree, this game can't be tagged 'Metroidvania' so the mentions have been removed.
One more time, Satori wanted to express 'people who like Metroidvania should like Alchemist'.

For me a true Metroidvania like is Darktopia


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