The fights in the game are turn-based and use a grid field similar to what might be found in games like Shining Force, but on a smaller scale. Allies generally attack first and enemies afterwards, except in the case where the party's speed is significantly lower than the enemy's, in which case the enemy attacks first. All characters and enemies in the game have an elemental affinity—Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Light, and Dark. Characters hit by their opposite element suffer double damage while characters hit by the same element only suffer half damage. The elemental relationships are as follows:
- Fire <--> Water
- Wind <--> Earth
- Light <--> Dark
The player must position up to four characters in strategic positions on the grid to take advantage of their skills. It should be noted though that when a battle begins, the player's characters are placed randomly on the grid. The characters can either be the ones used in the main storyline of the game, or the robotic golems which are acquired throughout the player's travels. The characters' life is measured in Hit Points (HP), and the power to perform their techniques is measured in Ether Points (EP). A reduction to 0 HP results in the character being knocked out (KO'ed). If an ally or enemy is KO'ed, the player or the enemy has three rounds to revive the character or they are lost for the remainder of the fight. In the case of a character being KO'ed due to massive damage (referred to as "Upper"), the character is lost immediately. Damage may be mitigated by standing behind another character. Standing behind two characters nullifies the damage. This mitigation does not work for Distance Damage attacks, however.
Active techniques used in battle are separated into 3 categories: Direct Damage (attacks that hit the enemy in spaces adjacent and beyond to the attacker), Distance Damage (attacks that hit the enemy in spaces non-adjacent to the attacker), and Support (healing, stat boosting, and status curing). The main characters of the game acquire techniques through leveling-up, triggering certain events, and buying them at stores. Passive techniques that boost stats, protect against status changes, or provide other beneficial effects may also be acquired. Even though there are many techniques the player can acquire throughout the game, only six active techniques and six passive techniques (per character) can be readied at any given time. All active techniques use EP when initiated. In the event the player doesn't have sufficient EP, the character can either rest a turn or use a restorative item to recover EP.
The majority of techniques use a three-tier system in terms of power and/or effect: Regular (no prefix), High, and Mega. The techniques in themselves do not improve with usage or experience, but a more powerful version of the technique must be acquired as the player progresses.
As enemies are defeated, a special gauge shared by all the main characters called the EX Gauge fills up. The amount of power in the gauge determines what special attacks or status affecting techniques the characters can use. A full gauge can allow multiple EX techniques to be used in succession or one powerful technique. The main characters acquire new EX techniques by triggering certain events in the game.
Additionally, if the same enemy is attacked by multiple party members, a Chain Gauge fills up for each character. If two or more characters with a full gauge attack the same character, a chain attack with increased damage is initiated.
Statistics and pointsEdit
Each battle fought expends Vitality Points (VP) for the characters involved in the battle. The longer the battle lasts, measured in turns, results in more vitality points lost. In essence, these points are used to automatically restore them to full health after every battle. If a battle is ended in a turn with no damage incurred, there is no expenditure in VP. As long as characters have at least one VP, this restoration will happen. If not, the character will begin battles with 1 HP and 1 EP. VP may be replenished at way-stations on the map, or by restorative items. VP also comes back slowly if a character is switched out of the party and put in the reserve ranks. Running from battle expends a great amount of VP, but is generally successful (except in the case of boss battles). This system encourages players to use a variety of characters, instead of relying on the same four individuals for every battle.
Emerging victorious in battles earns the characters Skill Points (SP). SP can be used to purchase new skills (for non-golem characters), or to boost the characters' HP, EP, Direct Damage, Distance Damage, Support, and Speed parameters. Direct Damage, Support, and Speed parameters have a cap of 999. Only characters which took part in the battle receive SP.
Leveling-up also increases these stats, which happens when a character obtains enough experience points. Characters and golems that travel in the player's reserve ranks gain experience, regardless of whether or not they actually took part in a battle. The maximum level which can be obtained is 999.
Enemies or friendly characters in the game can cause changes in the status of their foes through use of the appropriate techniques. These status changes include:
- Turn-ELM --- This changes the target character's elemental affinity to a different element. It is usually the opposite of the individual utilizing the effect, allowing them to attack the character for more damage on subsequent turns.
- Poison -- This saps the character's HP at the end of every turn until cured.
- Gravity -- This roots the character in place, rendering them unable to move until cured. Because positioning is important in the use of techniques, this can lead to difficulties aiming offensive or defensive techniques.
- Anger -- This makes a character stronger, but the player is not in complete control. While the player can choose who to attack, the character might change the target and technique. Similar to the "Berserk" attacks seen in other RPGs such as Final Fantasy. This status lasts until cured.
There are also beneficial status changes a player can bestow on the characters by way of techniques.
- PRM+(X) -- This boosts all the characters parameters by the amount designated in the X. This is usually 25%, or 50%, or in some cases even 100%.
- No Effect -- Prevents the character from gaining adverse status effects.
- Blurred --Makes the character "harder to hit", although it seems that it is impossible to miss in the game.
Each character may only have one effect active at a time. As such, status effects replace any previous effect, with "No Effect" canceling out any previous adverse effects.