Square Enix never ceases to surprise fans. It’s not even halfway through the year and they’ve given us two remakes of classic RPGs from the ’90s. Considering that this one was a Japanese exclusive until last year, many Western fans will be experiencing Trials of Mana for the first itme. It has a surprising amount of depth, and sometimes the choices can be overwhelming. Thankfully, with the streamlined systems, improved combat, and user-friendly interface, this classic is better than ever. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your adventure.
1. There are no wrong choices in Trials of Mana.
This is the golden rule of Trials of Mana. No matter what decision you make, the game is fun and full of things to discover. Light or dark class? Which area to tackle first? Who should make up your party? Whatever feels right, go for it. You’re gonna have a good time.
2. Your character selection decides how much of the story you’ll see.
While, there are no bad choices in Trials of Mana, there are a few things you might want to know before jumping in. Firstly, each hero shares a nemesis with one other hero, and the main villain will determine the storyline.
Duran and Angela have to contend with the Crimson Wizard. He guides the Nation of Altena to invade the Kingdom of Valsena.
Riesz and Hawkeye face off against Belladonna. She commands the thieves of Nevarl who infiltrate Laurant.
Kevin and Charlotte fight Goremand, the Soul Devourer. He helps the beastmen of Ferolia attack the Holy City Wendel (and several other places, to boot).
Each character belongs to either a nation that invades or a nation that gets invaded. The main character you choose determines the direction the story will take, but you won’t get the whole picture unless the other hero is on your team as well. So if your team consists of Angela, Duran, and Charlotte, then you’ll get the full story behind the Altenish invasion and the Crimson Wizard, but miss out on most of Goremand’s plot and all of Belladonna’s. It will also determine the final dungeon and boss of the game.
If you’re having trouble choosing, the official Trials of Mana website has a helpful personality quiz. You can also roll a die, provided it has the right number of sides.
3. Experiment with different ability builds.
As you journey to right wrongs and save the world in Trials of Mana, you’ll start to acquire a collection of individual character Abilities and Chain Abilities that any hero can use. You’ll get them by leveling up stats or from random NPCs throughout the game. These little boosts can change the entire flow of battle, so make sure to play around with them until you find a loadout you like. If you have Angela or Charlotte on your team, skills that affect magic can completely overwhelm opponents. On the other hand, melee fighters like Duran and Kevin want strength and defense skills. Every character should have at least one skill that boosts the CS meter, though, so try to spread the wealth once you have enough.
The variety of specialized classes is what Trials of Mana was famous for. Switching classes brings on huge changes, and they can be a blast to play around with. Each character has two level 2 classes, four level 3 classes, and in the post-game two level 4 classes. You’ll be able to choose a light path or a dark path when going from 1 to 2 or from 2 to 3. Light classes usually have helpful magic, like healing and buffs. Dark classes bestow offensive and debuff spells. It’s good to find classes based on your play style, but it can also be interesting to try something new.
Finally, remember to upgrade your stats in the Training menu after leveling up! These will give extra boosts to the attribute you’re raising, grant new abilities, and bestow spells. Generally speaking, you want to favor your characters’ main stats as well as Spirit, which gives you access to more spells. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to save some points if you’re about to change your class and want to see what abilities and spells await.
You’ll be able to reset classes and stats later on, so if you think you’d prefer something else, you’ll have a chance to change your mind.
4. Master your menus.
Like Secret of Mana before it, Trials of Mana makes extensive use of a ring menu. Hit up or down on the D-pad to pause the action and select either items or spells. Items need to be equipped to the ring menu outside of combat, so if you need Chocolates or Faerie Walnuts, remember to equip them before fighting the boss. Additionally, once combat starts you’ll only have access to up to nine of any given item. This is to prevent players from buying dozens of Cups of Wishes and never losing a fight. Once you leave battle the counter is reset, so long as you have nine or more in your inventory.
Here’s a trick for making combat smoother. When you use an item or cast a spell from the ring menu, the character who performs the action lags for a second or two. If you want to use something out of the ring menu, do it with your non-active heroes. For example, if you’re fighting a boss with Riesz, Kevin, and Angela, make sure Kevin is your main character, pull up the ring menu, and then hit ZL or ZR to move to your ally’s ring. From there, you can buff the party with Riesz and cast devastating attack spells with Angela. Kevin, on the other hand, won’t lag and is free to punch, pummel, and pulverize. Just make sure your ally isn’t about to be attacked, as that can interrupt the action.
5. Grow your seeds.
Item Seeds are a strange feature in Trials of Mana. You’ll find them all over the world, in vases and chests. Enemies drop them after a while, and you’ll often get them for checking the shining orbs. When you go to an inn, you’ll be able to plant your seeds and instantly get random items. As you plant more seeds, the pot will get more experience and level up, giving you access to better seeds in the world and better items from those seeds. Also, if you find Li’l Cactus enough times, he’ll provide his own li’l boost, giving you even better odds of getting a good prize.
This game gives away items like candy, so why should you go out of your way to get more random ones? First, Item Seeds can grow into serums, special items that can permanently raise one of your heroes’ stats. Second, once you have access to a level 4 pot, you have a greater likelihood to randomly get the ultimate secret equipment for each character. Technically any Item Seed has a chance of dropping one of these items, but the better the quality of the seed, the better the odds. Very late into the game, there’s a certain type of Item Seed that guarantees this gear, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get some right away.
Hopefully this helps, whether you’re new to Trials of Mana or an old pro. Let us know if you found any of this guide useful, and if you need help locating L’il Cactus, we have a guide for that too! If there’s anything you think other players should know, leave a comment below!