Although many have tried, no one yet seems to have been able to reach the success of Gungho's hit, Puzzle And Dragons [Free]. One of the more successful attempts is Brave Frontier [Free], arguably the second-best Japanese RPG of the last couple years with 'brave' in the title. Like many games inspired by Puzzle And Dragons, Brave Frontier uses many of the same trappings outside of combat and replaces the puzzle mechanic with something totally different. If you're a veteran of that game, you're going to find Brave Frontier to be a cozy fit, with plenty of familiar strategies along with a bunch of new ones. If you're new to this type of game, you've got a lot of catching up to do, and you can start by reading this guide. There's quite a bit to this game, so this guide is mostly going to cover beginner tips and some general advice.

Building Your Team

Choose your starter carefully. Your starting unit has serious potential, and you'll definitely want to hang onto them through the whole game. You can choose between the four elements. Vargas, the fire element starter, has balanced stats, and will eventually be able to use a party attack buff. Selena, the water element starter, has a high recovery stat, and she'll learn a move that can heal the party for three turns. Lance, the earth element starter, has high defense and will, appropriately, learn a party defense buff. Eze, the thunder element starter, has high attack and HP, and will learn a party attack buff, similar to Vargas.

Photo 2014-03-18, 21 20 15Make use of elemental weaknesses. Most of the battles you go into are built around an elemental theme, so if you're able to, take advantage of that element's weakness. Fire beats earth, earth beats thunder, thunder beats water, and water beats fire, with light and dark being strong against each other. You'll especially want to keep an eye out for leader skills that take advantage of an upcoming stage's weakness, since it's fairly trivial to swap around your party leader.

In the early stages, elements should not be the focus of your party-building. Especially in the beginning, your inventory is going to be fairly limited. It would be very hard to keep a full team around to prey on each weakness, even if you had decent party members of each type. So, even though you'll want to keep an extra or two of each element on hand so that you can cover your own weaknesses, it's generally better (and easier on your resources) to focus on having a strong, diverse team. Later in the game when you've expanded your inventory limit and battles get a bit rougher, you can worry about specializing.

Pay attention to each unit's Brave Burst skill. Brave Bursts can turn the tide of any battle, and are extremely useful in boss battles. There are all kinds of useful skills, but some are better than others. As examples, it's probably a good idea to bring a party member who can heal the team with a Brave Burst, and Bursts that inflict status ailments such as poison are quite useful for lengthy battles against tough foes.

Choose a good leader. Leader skills can be very powerful, so you should choose your leader wisely. If your team is tilted towards one element, you might want to choose a leader who gives offensive boosts to members of that element. If you're running a diverse team, though, don't bother using leader skills that only work for one element. Instead, choose a leader whose skill weakens the enemies or strengthens your team in a general way. Don't forget, as you head into the stages, you get to choose another player's leader to bring with you. If you have friends who always use the same leader, you can plan around that and choose a complementary leader.

Photo 2014-03-18, 21 20 10 (HDR)After you've taken all that into account, load up your best. If you've sorted out which Brave Burst skills you want and who's going to be your leader, filling out your team is simply a matter of choosing the most powerful units from that lot. Generally speaking, even from the start you shouldn't be using any one-star units on your team unless unit cost is an issue. Two-star units will get you by for a while until you can replace them all with better units. It's not hard to overpower the enemy in the early parts of the game, so walk softly and carry a big stick.

Don't worry too much about types at this point. Your unit's type will affect its stats and growth, and while there are definitely more ideal combinations and some lousy ones, like a Breaker Healer (for all the good the extra attack will do you), it's not really something you have to worry about until much later in the game.
In Battle

Don't forget that you can target specific enemies. Take out healers first, and pick off weaker enemies with your weaker units. In cases where the enemies are mixed elements, you can take advantage of their weaknesses by directly targeting them with units of the opposing element.

Use your Brave Bursts at the right time. It's okay to let fly with a Brave Burst before the boss if you think you can refill your Burst meter by the last round, but generally, you'll want to save them for the boss. This is especially vital when it comes to your healer's Brave Burst. Bosses can hit pretty hard, and you'll want to have a somewhat reliable way to refill your health in a pinch.

Learn the timing of your team's attacks so you can Spark more often. If two or more of your units attack simultaneously (which is to say, in the exact same frame), you'll see the word 'Spark' pop up and the attacks will do 1.5 times the damage they normally do. This is a good thing, of course, but it takes careful timing and it's entirely dependent on which units you're using. If you send out your units in the back row or units with a multi-hit attack first, you'll increase your chances of Sparking, but it really comes down to getting familiar with your team more than anything.

Photo 2014-03-18, 21 20 38Don't forget to equip and use items if you need to. Remember, you can bring items to battle. A heal at the right time can make a big difference, and being able to cancel status ailments can save your bacon. You're collecting tons of materials in each stage, why not put them to use?

Resource Management And The Town

Zel is used for fusion and evolution. You'll earn it in many ways, most often through battles. Even with all the different ways you can earn it, you're still probably going to run dry at times. You can earn some extra Zel by selling off synthesis items you don't need. If you get any Jewel Ghosts or Jewel Kings from battles or summoning, you should sell them right away for extra Zel, as that's their intended purpose. Also, the Weekend Vortex dungeons are a great time to earn some extra cash, so make sure you play them on Saturdays and Sundays.

Karma Points are used to upgrade your town's facilities. This gives you access to new items and spheres. Like Zel, Karma Points are earned in many ways, but mostly through battles. The Monday Vortex dungeon will earn you a bunch of extra Karma, if you're able to play that day. Don't bother hoarding Karma Points for a rainy day. Use them as soon as you have enough to upgrade something in your town.

Honor Points are used to summon a random unit from the Honor door. There are a few worthwhile units you can get this way, especially early on, but a lot of what you'll pull from here will be fusion fodder or stuff you'll sell for Zel, and that's fine, too. You'll earn some Honor Points every time you bring another player's leader into battle with you, and you can also receive them as daily gifts from people on your friend list. Don't be a jerk, make sure you gift back!

Gems are used for many things. You can refill your energy meter, increase your unit or item capacity, continue if you fall in battle, or summon a unit from the Rare door. Gems are the premium currency of the game and are quite rare. You should only ever use them to increase your inventory limit or summon a rare unit. In the beginning, when your unit choices are slim and your inventory is more than enough, you should only be using your gems to pull new units. Gems are earned when you completely clear all the stages in an area for the first time and as an Arena reward. You will also sometimes receive gems from the developer. Naturally, you can also buy them, but sir or ma'am, that spits in the face of the purpose of this guide!

Photo 2014-03-18, 21 20 26Upgrade your Synthesis Shop a couple of times before anything else. This will give you access to a basic group of items, which is not only useful for battle, but gives you something to do with all the materials you've accumulated. Healing potions can help you brute force your way through, while Tonics and other items are critical for removing debilitating status effects. If that all sounds good, you need to upgrade your Synthesis Shop as soon as possible.

The Sphere Shop can provide useful boosts. Once you've upgraded the shop, you'll be able to make spheres that can be attached to units to give them a boost of some type. Naturally, you'll only want to do this for units you really intend to keep in the long term, and at the beginning of the game, you might not be sure which units those will be, so it's best to stick with the lower level spheres until you get a better idea of where your team is going.

Don't forget to collect your free resources. When you bring up your town, you'll see various areas of the screen sparkling. That means you can tap on that spot to get some free goodies, including materials, Zel, Karma Points, and more. After harvesting, some time has to pass before you can collect the goods again. It's not a lot, but free stuff is free stuff, so always remember to collect it whenever you're visiting the town.

If you keep these tips in mind while you're getting started in Brave Frontier, you should be able to get yourself set up nicely. Saving the world is a big responsibility, and whether you're brave or not, it's one you don't want to default on. I find Brave Frontier to be a lot more forgiving in the main story mode than Puzzle And Dragons, and while the battle system isn't quite as interesting or demanding as that game, it's still fun and flashy. Plus, the sprite art in this game is really cool. It's like it slipped through a time warp from the SEGA Saturn era. Also, don't forget to swing by the Referral Code thread on our forums to pick up some friends to help you with the fight. Above all, have fun!

  • Woodlandstar

    Surprised this game hasn't been reviewed by TA, It's an absolute gem. I've been playing for 3 months, and would recommend anyone to give it a try.

    • Leeabe51

      Still waiting for their Clash of Clans and Candy Crush reviews. Those games make a ton if money, they must be good.

      • C. Stubb

        "They must be good" because they make a lot of money? I believe the words you're looking for are "They must be loaded with predatory IAP schemes".

      • Gamera Love

        me and my gf play clash of clan for more than a year and we never pay real money. This makes these games so popular. you can have everything without paying real money.

  • lll Anubis lll

    Yay for free to play!

    Just kidding, but thanks for all of these " how to play without spending money" articles. Maybe you guys will single handily cause the downfall of free to play!

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Doubt it, as they're being fueled by people who don't mind spending money on games they enjoy... Not people who seek out guides like this.

      • lll Anubis lll

        Yeah I was just being wishful... Why wait 5 minutes when you can pay a dollar?

      • Leeabe51

        Spending a quite a lot of money on games they enjoy. There is a reason the F2P games top the highest grossing charts while most pay to play games don't. Some people will pay a ton to play these games. I am more than willing to pay money for games I enjoy, I am not willing to spend money to make a game easier or to reset timers.

  • Amenbrother

    Its not that bad a game really.

  • C. Stubb

    "Second-best Japanese RPG with 'brave' in the title"? Surely you are referring to the star of its series: "Final Fantasy: All the Bravest".

    (Yes, I'm kidding.)

  • pouffie

    In which store is this available? I don't see it in Europe...

  • beesting420

    This game is just stunning, I love everything about it. This & undead slayer are by far my favorite games in the App Store.

  • Inaba-kun

    In App Purchases and portrait mode only?

    I think I'll stick to Bravely Default.

  • James M Wallace

    I just discovered the game last weekend (March 20th). While the dialogue is scant in some places and too long on battle expositions, it's a fun fusion of Pokemon and Ogre Battle. It's one of the few genuinely good F2P games on the store that allows you to enjoy the game almost to the fullest without running straight into the paywalls.

    Too bad this game hasn't been reviewed yet, but these tips were definitely needed, especially for a BF noob like me. Thank you.

  • apfelsahne

    Thx for the advertising of that game ;) I have stopped playing puzzle and dragons, because it was too adictive and i was nearly going to Betty Ford Clinic...Now that game...But it looks great. May be i can handle it better this time.

  • RenTin850

    Add me and get a rare unit 2357052559

  • RenTin850

    Another tip you should add is when you go back to older quest and grind, to get more gold and loot, select each enemy and even if you know you would be able to kill em, instead overkill them. When you overkill a enemy you get more loot. More gold equals more character fuse to make a character stronger.

  • RenTin850

    Beesting420 I've never heard of undead slayer. I gotta check that one out.

  • Mirikado

    - ADMIN BRAVE FRONTIER SPECIAL CODE -

    Just 5 steps to get FREE METAL GOD and gives you 50,000 Experience Points in Fusion!!!

    1. Go to Social
    2. Tap on Special
    3. Tap on Get a Metal God
    4. Enter the code: 9388866197

    Enjoy your super awesome Metal God! Have fun leveling :)

  • Kevin McCarty

    I use a hack for Brave Frontiers that gave me unlimited gold, gems, energy and arena orbs. Here it is: g4mehacks .com/brave-frontiers-hack/

  • Hakuryu64 .

    Add me and get a rare unit 78422474