A strong case can be made that every Nintendo mobile game has been slightly better than the one before, with the company learning a lot in a short period of time after shunning mobile for years. Now, Dragalia Lost is set to see if the company can stand up to another test: succeeding without help from one of its famous IPs. Developed with Cygames, Dragalia Lost is a brand new world of action RPG adventure, heavily anime influenced and fully infused with storytelling flourishes.

If you’ve even read this far, you’re at least a little curious about what the game is all about. We’ve already put in some serious time with Draglia Lost so we can be your guide to everything it has to offer, with all the tips, hints and strategies you can shake a dragon at. Don’t actually do that, though, because they tend not to like it.

Dragalia Lost Basics: Movement and Combat

Making Dragalia Lost as accessible as possible was obviously a priority for Nintendo and Cygames, though this isn’t a mindless auto-battler. Your party consists of four characters, three of whom fight on their own while one is under your control. You simply hold a thumb on the screen and drag it to move around and tap to attack. You can do this anywhere, and the game itself suggests staying as low as possible to avoid obstructing your own view.

Dragalia Lost

You can swap characters to control at any time by tapping on their portraits along the left side of the screen, and you’ll automatically switch if you fall in battle. Every character has one special attack or ability that can be activated with a button in the lower-left corner of the screen, and if you choose to take a friend’s character along, you can activate their ability with a similar button in the lower-right corner.

But that’s hardly even the coolest part …

How to Transform Into a Dragon

Without ruining the story, a big part of the game is the ability for your characters to bond with dragons and then shapeshift into them in battle. When you have a dragon equipped, you’ll see its portrait in the lower-left corner along with a meter that fills up when you collect blue crystals from defeated foes. You’ll also find crystals as treasure in some dungeons.

Dragalia Lost

When the meter is full, you can tap on the portrait to transform into that dragon and unleash the kind of fury you’d expect. While you are invincible in dragon form, you can only stay that way for a limited time, indicated by a meter where your health bar would normally be. Dragalia Lost allows you to power up the dragons you obtain but also improve your bond with them so you can stay a dragon longer.

Advanced Combat Tips

All bosses and some particularly strong monsters called menaces have special attacks with an area of effect indicated by red areas on the ground. Staying there to get hit by them is a bad idea, so you can quickly flick your thumb twice in the same direction to dash out of the way.

Dragalia Lost

After taking a certain amount of damage, bosses will enter Overdrive mode, attacking faster and with more ferocity. However, once their Overdrive is finished — you can tell by a meter underneath their health bar — they will enter a dormant Break mode at which point you can pile on them as quickly as possible in the hopes of defeating them.

Dragalia Lost

Bonus tip: It’s almost always a good idea to save your dragon transformation for a stage’s boss, either to bail yourself out of danger when they are in Overdrive or to quickly finish them off in Break state.

Some monsters can also put up a protective shield. To break through, you’ll need to use a special attack called a Force Strike, which you can charge up by tapping and holding down on the screen until you see a yellow-ish glow. Some Force Strikes affect an area and others need to be aimed, but all of them need to be unlocked before they can be used.

How to Improve Your Characters

Most action RPGs center themselves on a main cast but also introduce you to any number of other characters you might like to use, and Dragalia Lost is no different in that regard, especially since there are elemental affinities to keep in mind: Water, Fire and Wind (which have a rock-paper-scissors relationship with each other), along with Light and Dark (which are each other’s opposites). Once you find some heroes you use frequently, you’ll want to improve them as much as possible, and there are several ways to do that.

Dragalia Lost

First and most obvious is leveling up, which can be done simply by using the characters a lot or by giving them items called medals. Every character can also equip a weapon, which you’ll often find as loot while adventuring but will also be able to craft later at your very own Smithy. Weapon types need to match a character’s preference, which can be axe, sword, lance, dagger, katana, staff or bow. Additionally, collecting a resource called mana, you can unlock nodes on a character’s mana circle, boosting stats like HP or strength, unlocking new skills or even opening up new chapters of a character’s story.

Dragalia Lost

Last but not least, every character can be equipped with a Wyrmprint, which is a special picture or tapestry depicting something from the humans’ history with dragons. Wyrmprints have stat-boosting effects and/or special abilities and can be leveled up themselves with holy water.

Bonus tip: Have duplicates of a weapon, dragon or Wyrmprint? Consider using the extra copy to unbind your first one, which will raise its max level. Every weapon, dragon and Wyrmprint can be unbound up to four times.

There’s a ton more to dive into with Dragalia Lost, but this should be more than enough guidance to get you on your way. Good luck, and remember that the dragons you meet will become your friends … eventually.