Here's a basic guide to the mechanics of Voyage to Farland. If you're new to Mystery Dungeon style roguelikes, read on for some tips about the game! Check back often as I add to the guide.
New!: Not so short introduction/guide video.
Roguelike play fields are based on an array of cells. Only one monster or creature (NPC or player's character) can occupy a cell at one time. When you move in a given direction you will always move from one cell to another. Even just tapping the DPAD quickly moves your character to the next cell - although the game will smoothly animate the movement.
The combat system is based on the eight directions a character can face: up, down, right, left, plus diagonals, up-right, down-right, up-left and down-left.
When shooting an equipped projectile (steel shot with a slingshot), you can only shoot along these eight directions. This also applies to "waving a bead" (a magic bead with special powers, e.g. the Spacebead or Gustbead). You can get an explanation of a bead's powers in the inventory system. Tap the INV button, select a bead, then select "Explain" from the sub-menu.
So in the above picture, the hero can shoot or wave a magic bead at the ViperBeetle, but not at the Maskboy (creepy looking monster at lower right*), since the Maskboy isn't along a diagonal.
Another important aspect of roguelikes is that movement is turn-based. You take a turn and then all of the monsters and NPCs in the dungeon take their turns moving or attacking. In the picture above, you could move directly to the right, the Maskboy will move up to you, the ViperBeetle will approach. Then in your next turn, you could try to take out the Maskboy (they're fairly weak).
Other monsters have "ranged attacks", for example the Nosferatus in the picture below are often content to stay back and zap you with the "evil eye" (has various effects, sometimes good, but usually not...).
Although they are turn-based, roguelikes actually allow for a fast pace when desired and a slower pace when necessary. You can hold down the DPAD to move quickly across a room, or stop and think things through strategically when you're surrounded by monsters. And trust me, you'll need to use some strategy to survive more than a few floors into the dungeon!
There are also magic scrolls in the game. Some scrolls affect everything (monsters and NPCs) in the same "room" as the hero. One example is the Somnascroll which sends all creatures except the hero into a "somnambulistic state" (sleepwalking). Be careful with the Somnascroll, since it also affects NPCs in the room. Happily, the Pummelscroll only deals damage to all the bad monsters in a room and not NPCs that may be helping the hero.
In the above picture, note that a scroll will affect all the monsters except the Nosferatu (at bottom right) since he is well outside the room. This is because a scroll will affect every monster in the room including ones standing in a "room entrance" cell, but not beyond that. You can see this in action in this video, with a Meanferatu (level 2 Nosferatu) getting hit with a Somnascroll while standing at the entrance to a room.
In a hallway between "rooms" a scroll will affect monsters in an adjacent cell to the hero in all 8 directions, but won't affect any monsters beyond that.
* you can only see the Maskboy from the back, but trust me - he's wearing the mask for a reason...
Thanks to Danc from the Lost Garden for creating Planet Cute. "PlanetCute" and "2D Circle Graphic Archive" art by Daniel Cook, Lostgarden.com.
All other content copyright 2013 Peculiar-Games and P.A. Casey.