Here is a selection of hints and tips.
Treasure hunting (towns/dungeons)
As to be expected from an RPG, Ni no Kuni has a lot of treasures for you to find. Many of them are hidden in chests, others in pots with sparkling glitter. This walkthrough covers all treasure in the game and includes complete item lists. Note that some chests are sealed with magic. Later in the game you'll be able to open blue chests, and still later, purple and green chests as well. This sometimes requires you to backtrack to previous areas. Also note that twinkling treasure (such as the ones in pots) will recover their contents over time, allowing you to collect treasure from them over and over again. It does take about 15 minutes for them to restore the contents, so make yourself useful in the meantime.
Colored treasure chests
As mentioned above, some chests cannot be opened. These are different in color from the regular, red treasure chests. Blue chests require you to have and cast the 'Spring Lock' spell, which is acquired early in the game. Purple chests also require the Mornstar wand (gotten later in the game). Green chests require you to have progressed far enough to have Swaine in your party.
It doesn't have to become your hobby, but in Ni no Kuni it's smart to talk to NPC's, visit stores, and rest at each inn. The latter will even grant you missing pages from the Wizard's Companion, and NPC's sometimes have important information to tell.
Ni no Kuni features semi-random battles, and you'll beable to spot creatures from far away, especially on the world map, which gives you the opportunity to approach them from behind or avoid them altogether. If you manage to sneak up on your enemy, you'll have the upper hand in battle, essentially giving you a free round of attacks. But if an enemy ambushes you (approaches you from behind), then they will be the ones with a free round of attacks. If this happens, run around like a headless chicken until you're good to go. If you notice a fast creature that you can't outrun is chasing you, it's best to turn around and face it like a man; that way you won't have to deal with ambushes.
In Ni no Kuni there are six categories in which damage can be place: five elemental affinities, and Physical damage. The elements are Fire, Water, Storm, Light and Darkness. If you manage to exploit an enemy's elemental weakness, you'll do roughly +50% damage, indicated by orange numbes. If an enemy resists the element you're using, blue figures will mark this. Be sure to consult this walkthrough for tips on when to exploit creature's elemental weaknesses. You can use skills that are element-laden, but there are also weapons with this feature. You'll also want to defend yourself against enemies' elemental tricks whenever possible. Some familiars have elemental weaknesses and resistances, so keep track of those; especially right before boss battles.
Enemies, especially strong foes, sometimes have the ability to inflict status ailments upon you and your familiars. Below is a table with their effects, duration and cure. All status ailments are automatically lifted after battle.
Ailments, effects, durations and cures.
: No actions possible
5 seconds - All-Be-Gone, Light Relief, Chant Song
: No actions possible; Enemy hits +40% chance being critical hit
20 seconds - Physical attack, Sleep-Be-Gone, All-Be-Gone, Rise and Shine, Light Relief, Chant Song
: Turned to stone; no actions possible
End of Battle - Stone-Be-Gone, All Be Gone, Light Relief, Chant Song
: Loss of 4% of HP every 4 seconds (won't drop below 1 HP)
20 seconds - Poison-Be-Gone, All-Be-Gone, Light Relief, Draw Poison, Chant Song
: Accuracy of physical attacks is reduced by 70%
20 seconds - Blindness-Be-Gone, All-Be-Gone, Light Relief, Chant Song
: Attacks are landed on allies; Other's hits landed on you have a +10% chance of being critical hits
20 seconds - Confusion-Be-Gone, All-Be-Gone, See Sense, Light Relief, Chant Song
: Movement speed is reduced by 50%
20 seconds - Curse-Be-Gone, All-Be-Gone, Purifying Pulse, Light Relief, Chant Song
: Unable to use tricks, trickshots, spells, songs, miracle moves
20 seconds - Nix-Be-Gone, All-Be-Gone, Light Relief, Chant Song
: Your HP is fully depleted; no actions possible
End of Battle - Phoenix feather, Phoenix Tear, Phoenix Breath, Upsy-Daisy
Stamina in battles
While your main characters can be used as long as you'd like, familiars have a stamina bar (displayed round their icon in battle) that will sooner or later be depleted. When this happens, their stats will be impaired and it takes longer for the stamina bar to fill up than normal, so it's usually for the better to call your familiar back when it's about to run out of energy, swapping it for another.
Defend, Evade & Psyche-Up
While each main character always has the Defend command at their disposal (which lasts for several seconds and halves damage) some familiars have this replaced with either the Evade or Psyche-Up commands. Evade is similar in execution to Defend, except it lasts much shorter so you'll need to time it rather precisely. If successfully done, you'll evade the attack without taking any damage whatsoever. The Psycho-Up command works differently. Using this will cause the familiar to charge up their energy; after this, their regular attack command changes into the 'Go Wild' command, which allows them to attack more frequently and more forcefully. While these familiars lack the Defend skill, they can (sometimes) nonetheless cancel enemy attacks when they're ravaging them during their frenzy. This isn't guaranteed, however, so it's always a bit of a risk you're taking.
Cancelling enemy attacks
When an enemy is performing a trick, repeatedly bashing it with attacks of your own may stagger your foe, cancelling their attack. The chance that this happens isn't very high, although you can increase this by using the Go Wild command (if available to you). Cancelling enemy attacks basically falls under the category, 'offense is the best defense'. While sometimes true, it's certainly not always the case, since some enemy tricks can't be cancelled at all.
It's possible to perform a counterattack on foes by waiting with entering the attack command until you notice your enemy is going to attack you. At that time, your attack command should flash blue for an instant; quickly press it to counter your enemy's attack, leaving them stunned, cancelling their own attack. It's especially hard to counterattack swift enemies' attacks, but it's certainly not essential to attempt this anyway.
Glims on the battlefield
As you're fighting off enemies, green and blue glims will occassionally appear. The green ones heal a small portion of your HP while the blue ones heal some of your MP. It's a good idea to grab these whenever possible so you can save your precious healing items.
Golden Glims & Miracle Moves
When you've performed reasonably well in a battle - usually longer boss battles - you might find a golden glim on the battlefield. Be sure to immediately collect these, since they don't hang around forever. It'll complete restore your health and grants access to your character's or familiar's Miracle Move, a limit break-like attack that usually does massive damage, although some inflict status effects or provide a splendid healing of your party. The best way to generate a gold glim is to stun an enemy/boss by exploiting their weak spot, although defending against tricks also tends to work well. See the table below for more information on generating glims.
ACTION: CHANCE FOR GENERATING HP/MP GLIMS:GOLDEN GLIMS:
Stun enemy (exploit weakness) High High
Defend against a Boss trick High Average
Critical Hits Moderate/High Low
Defend against an enemy trick Average Very Low
Defeat an enemy Average Very Low
Counterattack Average Very Low
Exploit elemental weaknesses Low Very Low
Land a regular attack Low ----
Post-battle fun: Health & Magic Glims
It's a good idea in general to snatch the green health and blue magic glims from the battlefield, but it doesn't have to end when all foes have been defeated. If there are any glims nearby, you'll still have a second or so left to grab these, granting you free HP and MP.
Losing isn't fun
But it's not the end of the (another) world either. Instead, it'll cost you 10% of your Guilders to revive your party. Obviously the best remedy is not to lose, and if you've recently saved your game, reloading is an option. But if you'd otherwise lose too much progress, definitely consider paying the price to cheat death, unless you're attempting some kind of challenge run or perfect game.
Battle Spoils & Thievery
Most enemies in the game have a common and a rare drop, which roughly vary between 10-25% and 2-5% respectively in chance. Once you get Swaine in your party, stealing items from creatures becomes an option. Again, enemies have a common and a rare item that you can steal, which vary roughly between 20-35% and 5-25% respectively. Many items can only or mainly be gotten from creatures.
It's a good idea to keep your health high at all times. An additional reason for this is that your MP bar tends to be full(er) if you refrain from using powerful magic against regular foes; these still drop MP glims, however, which would go to waste if you're already powered up magic-wise.
Once you reach the first town in Another World, you'll be able to run errands for several citizens. You can start an errand either by heading to Swift Solutions (in which errands and bounties are sorted all together), or by speaking to individual citizens themselves. The rewards vary, but as a rule of thumb it's always best to do errands as soon as they become available, because your compensation won't be so rewarding when you complete them later in the game.
Similar to errands, bounty hunting requires you to deal with a certain fiend that's usually bothering or endangering NPC's. You're given an indication as where to look for the critters, and this walkthrough has detailed information available on each and every bounty as they become available to you.
Merit Cards, Stamps & Rewards
Errands and bounties grant you 'merit stamps' besides just decent rewards. Once you fill up a merit card you can exchange it for rewards at Swift Solutions, or save it up for more pricey rewards. Note that after approximately 10 tasks you'll be given a bonus stamp. Once you pass the 100 tasks, these bonuses become larger. There are exactly enough stamps to purchase all rewards.
Full Fledged Alchemist
Once you unlock alchemy it becomes possible to mix items into better ones via recipes. You'll be able to get recipes from NPC's, but you don't necessarily need to have an in-game recipe ready to be a good alchemist. In fact, you can also try to mix and match items; if it doesn't work out, you'll get to keep the items. This guide lists all possible recipes for you.
Twinkling Forage Locations
These twinkling stars are markers for spots on the world map that contain items. They're not quite the same as hidden treasures, because these twinkling locations will recover their treasure over time. Come back after a while to harvest more.
(Hidden) Treasures on the World Map
There are many treasures to be found on the world map. If you find 100 of them, you'll be awarded a Silver Trophy, but the treasures themselves are usually worth your trouble by themselves. You'll eventually get a spell that makes the hidden treasures visible, but it's advisable to follow this walkthrough with tips on where to find them, since if you wait too long, their usefulness will be greatly diminished due to better available equipment you've gathered.
(Hidden) World Map Locations
We've gone over hidden treasures, but like a proper J-RPG, Ni no Kuni also features hidden locations on the world map. Hints are usually given in the game by NPC's or in some other fashion, and this walkthrough will leave none of them unexplored. Regardless, there are roughly two types of hidden areas: forest zones and caves. Carefully search forests and explore mountains to see if you can spot them by yourselves.