Ni no Kuni II is out today, and it’s easy enough that you probably won’t need much strategy to get through the story. But it’s also got some unique systems, including an elaborate kingdom-building feature that can be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of the whole game.
Don’t just blaze from story point to story point
Ni no Kuni II rewards exploration, and its world map is full of optional caves, forests, and dungeons. You’ll never regret taking the time between main missions to go explore and see what weird things you can find out in the world.
Don’t worry about levels too much
Ni no Kuni II’s combat system is a lot of fun, but it can also be a little easy. The good news is that because it’s easy, you won’t have a hard time dealing with enemies that are five, eight, or even ten levels higher than you. Between each chapter, you’ll see massive level hikes, and suddenly all of the enemies you’re about to fight will have light or dark red names, signifying that they’re way higher than you. Don’t stress about having to go grind somewhere—you don’t. You should be able to take on enemies way above your pay grade, and even if you can’t yet, just a single level or two can make all the difference.
Don’t worry about all the items, either
Ni no Kuni II is full of items, and as you progress, you’ll collect hundreds of objects ranging from pebbles to leather to eggs. Managing and sorting them all can be a real pain, but you don’t have to stress over that. Just collect everything you can, and only pay attention to what you’ve got when you need it. Don’t sell anything—you’ll need all those random items for quests, upgrades, and recruiting—but don’t worry about managing your inventory too much, either. Be a hoarder.
Pick three characters and stick with them
You’ll get six party members throughout Ni no Kuni II, and it’s impractical to try to master them all. Each character uses three weapons at once, and weapons overlap—Roland and Evan both wield swords, for example—so keeping all six characters optimally equipped can be a chore. Your best bet is to pick a party of your favorite three and just stick with them.
Conserve healing items in battle
Ni no Kuni II has an interesting system for healing. When you’re on the map, you can collect and use as many healing items as you want. But in battle, each of those healing items has a limited use. For example, you can only use the basic healing item Soreaway ten times in any given battle, no matter how many are in your inventory. During longer battles, you’ll want to be conservative and try to get healing from your Higgledies before relying on items.
Visit every town after a new chapter
Brand new side quests will pop up in each major city after every chapter, so if you want to keep doing chores for people in order to get them to join your kingdom, you’ll want to be meticulous about revisiting cities. Look for blue exclamation points on the map every time you travel.
Do as many side quests as you want
Just because they exist doesn’t mean you have to do them. If you don’t feel like delivering meals around a city or helping someone figure out how they lost their wallet, there’s no harm in skipping those particular exclamation points. But you should...
Prioritize quests that lead to recruits
The most useful side quests are the ones that get you new citizens in Evermore. On the side quest menu, these will have a face to the right of the quest name. They’ll also have portraits and character sheets attached, so you can see who you’ll get at the end of the quest.
Don’t neglect your kingdom
It might be tempting to ignore Evermore’s people in favor of adventure, but if you’re not paying attention to your kingdom, you’re going to hit a wall. At the end of the game, you’ll need a level 4 weapon shop. If you don’t have it, you can’t complete the game. And if you’ve been rushing through Ni no Kuni II without maintaining your city, you’re going to have a miserable time waiting for that weapon shop to finish.
Visit Evermore as often as you can
As real time passes, your citizens will generate kingsguilder and items, but both of those are capped. If your people have gathered 50 items and your cap is 50, you won’t get any more, so you’ll want to go back home and collect all those items ASAP. Otherwise, you’re just wasting precious resources. You can (and should) raise these caps through research. Even then, however, it’s a good idea to stop at Evermore between every quest you do.
Don’t neglect your army, either
I didn’t enjoy Ni no Kuni II’s clunky real-time-strategy-esque army battles, but at the end of the game your army needs to be around level 20, so even if you’re like me and think the whole system is tedious, play at least a few battles to get your strength up. You can also use Evermore’s Barracks to boost your skills during army battles.
Focus on the Institute of Innovation and Explorer’s Guild first
These are the buildings that let you speed up research, upgrade your coffers, and otherwise enhance your kingdom. They should, of course, be your priority.
There are too many options in Evermore for you to max out your kingdom over the course of a normal playthrough, so it’s best to pick a few directions and stick with them. Keep upgrading your weapons shop, obviously—you need it for the end!—but if you want to focus on Higgledies rather than spells, or items rather than armor, that’s totally up to you.
Side quests for Evermore residents can get you a LOT of kingsguilder
So keep an eye out for those, and do them as often as possible.
Get the Spring Lock spell as soon as you can
You might assume, based on JRPG trends and the first Ni no Kuni, that all those blue chests you see out in the world will eventually be unlockable with some sort of key you find later in the game. You would be wrong. The way to access those chests is actually an optional spell called Spring Lock that you can research in Evermore’s spell facility. Get it.
Spin attacks are your best friend
The first thing I do at the start of every battle is use Evan or Roland’s spin attack to take out multiple enemies at once. Then I use it again, and again, pretty much as often as possible. It’s the perfect way to clear out a battlefield.
You can safely ignore the Tactics menu
Ni no Kuni II is easy enough without giving your characters even more advantages, so don’t worry about all those sliders.
Remember that range attacks use up mana
Mana in Ni no Kuni II, unlike the first game, will recharge naturally as you attack enemies. As you play, you’ll find a rhythm, alternating between melee attacks and spells. Just don’t forget that using ranged attacks also costs mana—something I didn’t realize until halfway through the game, when I wondered why my mana wasn’t recharging.
Dimensional mazes are awesome
As you’re playing through the game, you will stumble upon procedurally generated dimensional mazes with different rulesets than the rest of Ni no Kuni II’s world. These mazes are tense, with no save points or mini-maps, and a timer that ramps up the difficulty level the longer you take. They’re a blast to play through and I recommend doing as many as you can. It’s tempting to wait until later in the game, when you have the airship and can just fly from maze to maze, but that’s a boring way to do it. My advice: Hunt down these mazes and do them all as you progress through the main story.