For players, each element is assigned to a separate mode. Only one of these elemental modes can be active at a time. While in an elemental mode, all of the player's attacks are imbued with the corresponding element. The damage dealt is modified by the enemy's elemental resistances.
Elemental modes also have their own Combat Arts which are based on the element's Circuit Tree. The passive bonuses and Combat Arts in the Circuit Tree only take effect when in the corresponding elemental mode. Passive bonuses from the Neutral Tree do carry over to elemental modes, but are only half as potent.
Using Melee or Balls while in an elemental mode increases elemental load, represented by the element's icon filling up with yellow. This load transfers between elements and slowly decreases over time (it decays faster in Neutral Mode). If the load reaches 100%, elemental overload will activate. In this state, the player is automatically returned to Neutral Mode and is prevented from accessing any of their elements for a period of time. Interestingly, Combat Arts associated with Guarding or Dashing do not increase elemental load, despite their strengths.
The active elemental mode also provides a -50% resistance loss for the opposing element. The opposing elements are Heat/Cold and Shock/Wave. However, this penalty can be partially offset by passive effects in the element's Circuit Tree.
Neutral is the default, non-elemental mode, which is generally weaker but more balanced than the elemental modes. It is not associated with any particular Combat style.
Heat is the element of fire and the element of choice of Tribladers. It is associated with the Attack Stat and Melee combat. It can also inflict the status condition Burn, which deals damage over time depending on the MaxHP of the victim.
Heat is the preferred element for aggressive attacks at close range. It is very effective against Cold-based enemies, such as Karottos and Fleazers. It is also required for certain puzzles; Heat can be used to turn Water Blocks and Bubbles into steam and melt Ice Walls.
Cold is the preferred element for assaulting enemies from a defensive position. It is very effective against Heat-based enemies, such as Magmanizers and Pada Moths. It can also be used to freeze Water Blocks and Bubbles.
Shock is the element of electricity and the element of choice of Pentafists. It is associated with the Focus stat and Dashing. It can also inflict the status condition Jolt, which periodically stuns and damages based on the victim's own attack.
Shock is the preferred element for fast-acting, mobile combat. It is very effective against Wave-based enemies, such as Gellerics and Anglers. Shock can be used on Ball Chargers to create empowered Shock Balls which move alongside walls, as well as to power Magnets.
Wave is the element of oscillation and the element of choice of Hexacasts. It is associated with the MaxHP stat and Balls. It can also inflict the status condition Mark, which increases damage the victim takes from ranged attacks by 50%.
Wave is the preferred element for patient, strategic battle, leveraging inflection points to gain advantages over enemies. It is very effective against Shock-based enemies, such as Shokats or Rob0cks. Wave can be used on Ball Chargers to create empowered Wave Balls which pass through walls perpendicularly. Wave Balls can also be used on Wave Teleporters to teleport Lea to them.
Certain Monsters also have elemental properties. Most dungeon enemies can use elemental attacks and are weak to the opposing element they represent. Elemental Monsters are found all over the Playground, becoming more common in later parts of the game. In Gaia's Garden, for example, all enemies have varying elemental resistances and most use elements in their attacks, while in Autumn's Rise there are only a few elemental enemies, such as Flamin' Hillkats.