Tips for playing Trials of Mana

These handy hints will help you overcome any trials the game puts before you.
By Duncan Heaney

In many respects Trials of Mana is an appropriate name. The new action RPG throws many challenges in your way, and it’s up to you to overcome them however you can.

But you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve put together some useful tips to help you become the hero that the Goddess of Mana needs you to be.

Choose the characters you want

The first big decision you have to make in the game is a big one: which three heroes should you start with?

Don’t sweat this one because there’s no wrong choice - Trials of Mana is specifically designed to accommodate any combination of characters. That said, pairs of characters share a common enemy and you’ll see additional interactions that reflect that fact if one is the lead character and the others in the party. Specifically:

Bear in mind that there’s no obligation to choose these pairings - it’s entirely your call, so think of this tip as more of an FYI.

Take your time and explore the world!

Trials of Mana is very good at telling you where to go next - the star icon on the map and environment typically points you towards the next destination or story event.

But as enticing as that star may be, don’t bee-line straight there. Take your time, and explore every area thoroughly, because this game is absolutely stuffed with things to find.

Keep your eyes open for chests and glowing spots on the ground, because there’s likely some good stuff to collect. That’s true both in towns and out in the wilds, so take time to poke into the corners and see what goodies are lying around.

Check the map regularly

On a related note, if you want a wider view of your current area, you can bring up a full-screen map with a press of a button.

Not only is this very helpful for charting a route to your next objective, you can also use it to scout areas that might be worth poking around in.

For example, if you see a little path off to the side of a clearing, there’s a good chance you might find some valuable treasure there - perhaps money, a seed or even a chest full of health-giving chocolate!

Don’t hold back your special attacks

Every character in Trials of Mana has access to special attacks called Class Strikes. These flashy moves are available right from the start, and deal a tremendous amount of damage very quickly.

Using Class Strikes requires you to spend one or more of the gauges underneath your character (they glow blue when they’re ready to use). Considering this cost, you might be tempted to conserve these attacks. Don’t do that.

Whenever you defeat enemies, or even hit them with a strong attack, you’ll collect CS particles that fill the gauge back up. You’ll get it up to 100% pretty quickly, so you should feel free to work Class Strikes into your regular battle strategy.

Mix up your attacks and use combos

You have two types of basic attacks in Trials of Mana: light and heavy. You can combine them for different attacks.

For example, if you press light attack > light attack > heavy attack, you’ll finish the combo with a broad sweep that hits all around you. Or light attack > heavy attack pushes enemies back. You can use it to give yourself a little breathing room if you’re surrounded - very handy!

Other combos are in the game, and we’ll let you discover them for yourself. But they’re worth doing because strong attacks result in more CS particles, which in turn lets you use your Class Strikes more often.

Watch your positioning

The combat system in Trials of Mana is very fast and all takes place in real-time. That means that it’s not just what you do that matters, but also where you are.

Positioning in battle is vitally important. While enemies at the start of the game are relatively weak, they soon get a lot stronger.

When they do, they start telegraphing their attacks with glowing red indicators - for example, Batmos will fire a ranged attack in a circle below them, Mushbooms release a cloud of nasty spores in a small radius, and Goblins throw axes directly ahead.

Watch out for these attack indicators… and don’t ignore them! If you see a character in the red, dodge roll out of there fast - even if it means you have to break off your current assault.

You can lock onto enemies

If you want to focus your attack on a single target, you can press the lock on command to focus the camera onto them.

This will keep them in the center of the screen, so you can move and dodge around them, and easily direct any attacks their way. It’s a handy way to deliver a lot of damage on a single target very quickly.

That said, it’s not always a good idea to lock onto a foe. For example, if you’re facing a big mob of enemies, you may find your situational awareness impaired if the camera is laser-targeted at a single one.

Add abilities with a thought for future growth

The Ability System is brand new for this remake of Trials of Mana - and it adds an incredible amount of strategic depth to the game.

When you level up, you’ll be awarded a number of Training Points (TP). You can distribute these across different categories, granting you everything from strength upgrades to additional HP.

It’s a good idea to take a look through the skills and plan your upgrades ahead of time. For example, after you’ve encountered an Element in the story (you’ll know when you do), you can use TP to unlock new moves for some of the characters. These typically cost MP and can be extremely powerful.

Chain Abilities are also worth watching out for. When one of these is unlocked, every member of the party has access to it, though only one can equip it at a time. You can also learn new Chain Abilities by meeting important characters in the story or talking to characters in town, so be sure to talk to anyone you think might have some secrets to share.

Finally, note that you don’t unlock Abilities individually. Say, for example, that there are two abilities that cost 2TP in the same category. If you invest that 2TP, you’ll unlock both at the same time.

Reset Training Points if you need to

Have you funneled Training Points into a particular attribute, and started to have second thoughts about your decision? Don’t worry - if you really want a do-over, there is a way.

Early in the game, you’ll encounter a special NPC who gives you the option to reset your Training Points, so you can reallocate them. Be warned though - this convenience doesn’t come cheap.

Keep your eyes open for L’il Cactus

This adorable little scamp hides around the world of Trials of Mana, and finding him awards you stamps. The more stamps you get, the more rewards you get.

It’s well worth seeking him out because the those rewards can be extraordinarily useful - we’re talking discounts in shops, improvements to your map and more.

If you’re struggling to best a Benevodon, do something else

Later on in the story, you’ll face off against powerful beasts called Benevodons. You can take on these foes in any order - but be warned: they can be pretty tough.

If you find yourself struggling to overcome a particular fight, then we recommend you set your sights on a different target. Go and challenge one of the other Benevodons instead. Not only will a fresh challenge avoid frustration, the experience you gain along the way will make you stronger, and better equipped to win the rematch.

Plant those seeds!

ABP: Always Be Planting.

You’ll find different types of seeds all over the lands of Trials of Mana. If you plant them in a magic pot, they’ll grow into an item, such as health-restoring Candy.

These items are very useful - particularly the healing ones, as you may not have a lot of access to healing moves at the start of the game. But that’s not the only reason you should plant everything.

Whenever you grow something, your botany skills will increase - when they level up, you’ll be able to grow even better stuff.

Also, don’t forget that you can plant multiple seeds at a time, so don’t make the mistake of trying to grow them one by one!