Final Blade may look cute and inviting in the screenshots, but there’s a huge, complicated engine frantically oscillating under the bonnet. An engine made of numerous currencies and baffling upgrade mechanics.

We don’t expect you to be able to dismantle and reassemble this engine after reading our beginner’s guide, but hopefully you’ll just about be able to safely drive the car.

Now let us put this metaphor aside and dive right into the game.

Before the fight

You gradually unlock new parts of Final Blade as you play, but to start with you can only do the Adventure. This is your main route to earning XP and loot in the early stages.

The Adventure is carved up into chapters, and those chapters are carved up into 10 stages apiece, two of them containing boss fights.

And before you can take part in one of these stages you need to visit the setup page to get your party in order.

Manage

The first place you need to visit once you tap on Adventure and then the stage you wish to attack is ‘Manage’. This whisks you into the hero management screen, where you can individually ensure that your heroes are enhanced, advented, combined, and equipped to the max. More on that later.

Your formation

Next, ‘Formation’. This is where you can choose the formation your heroes will fight in. To pick a formation, go to the ‘Formations’ tab. You may need to unlock a formation before using it, and some formations can only be unlocked once you reach a certain level.

Each formation has its own particular stat increases, such as added stun resistance or bonus regeneration, so you should select the right formation for the battle ahead.

It’s possible to populate the five slots in a formation manually by selecting a hero and then the square in question, but you can also just tap ‘AutoDeploy’, which is considerably easier.

Your Ultimate

Elsewhere on this screen you’ll find an Ultimate icon – it’s the thing that looks like a glowing medallion. An Ultimate is a single-use skill that exists separately from the skills your heroes have.

There are six different Ultimates to buy, and they can each be enhanced, just like everything else in the game.

The battles

It’s possible to play battles either manually or automatically. We recommend automatic, since you can speed the action up this way and they only input you lose is when to deploy your heroes’ skills. If you go with automatic, they unleash them indiscriminately whenever they’re ready, which is fine for the early stages.

Downed enemies leave their spirits behind, and you can tap on these to acquire sapphires and pearls. In fact, you have to tap on them – if you choose ‘Auto’ your heroes just run past them. The only way to avoid having to nab spirits yourself is to engage the services of a fairy, which costs Fairy Tickets. Once these run out, you need to spend real money.

Once you’ve completed a stage you can use Sweep Tickets to return and automatically scour it of loot. You can tap ‘Repeat’, too, and it’s also possible to automatically complete future stages by tapping, ‘Continue Battle’. You’ll only stop when you a) reach the end of the chapter, b) die, c) run out of rice, the currency you spend to play stages.

Managing your heroes and gear

Winning battles is only half the, er, battle. Between bouts of bloody magic combat you need to invest your loot in levelling up your heroes for the more difficult fights ahead. You do this in the Manage screen.

The main levelling up mechanism is called Enhancement. This entails sacrificing heroes to increase the power of others, and spending gold. The higher grade the hero, the more enhancement potential it has.

After that there’s Advent, which you can do with heroes at grade 6 as long as you have some Eternal Fox Essence on you.

And then there’s Combine. As long as you have two heroes at max enhancement, you can combine them to create a random new hero at a higher grade. As this process is random, you can end up with a class you don’t particularly want, in which case you can spend some Sapphires to re-roll.

Of course, your gear can be enhanced too.

Some general tips

– There’s treasure everywhere. Which is another way of saying that there are multiple places you need to visit regularly to claim rewards and so on. These include the mailbox, the event screen, the index, and the mission page. Fortunately a little red label appears whenever an action is possible, so just keep an eye out for those.

In particular, don’t forget to claim your free summon once a day.

– As soon as you level-up enough to unlock clans, join one. These opens up several new gameplay avenues in the form of Clan Wars, Clan Raids, and more, while also creating another stream of XP and loot.

– There are more than 300 heroes in Final Blade. Here’s a bit of advice lest you become overwhelmed by the abundant possibilities: focus your upgrading attention on your original gang of Inrang, Woohee, Yongju, Muchun, and Diane. These are your core heroes, and it pays to have them operating at top speed.

Don’t forget that, if you haven’t played the game yet, you co download it for free from the App Store or Google Play.

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