This page gives some pointers to new players to help them get started in CrossCode.
Equipment is extremely important in CrossCode, and contributes more to your stats than levels and circuits do. Outdated equipment is the most common cause of players feeling underpowered. In general, try to replace at least some equipment whenever you reach a new town unless you're looking for a challenge.
Most equipment in CrossCode comes from trades. These allow you to pick equipment with buffs matching your playstyle, although you will need to find trade items in order to complete the trade. There are also some rare trades that give golden equipment, which is typically more powerful than other equipment in the same area and has more interesting buffs. Of course, the trade items for these trades are much harder to find, they often require weaker rare equipment, and the traders themselves can be hard to reach.
If you aren't interested in hunting down trade items, or you don't wish to customize your build, generic equipment can be purchased at most shops. This will give you area-appropriate stats, but no buffs.
It is also possible to exclusively use equipment from treasures and quest rewards, if you're particularly keen at exploring, although you will sometimes go a long time without finding any new equipment of a particular type.
Circuits are your skills and your main customization option. You start with a single neutral circuit tree, and gain a new tree every time you learn a new element. The elemental trees are only effective when you're in that element mode. The neutral tree is always effective, but is only half as powerful when you're in an element mode.
Skill branches let you switch between different Combat Arts at no cost. You can use this in the practice arena of the Rookie Harbor info hub (where you get infinite SP regeneration) to try the different Combat Arts and decide which ones you want to use.
A higher level Combat Art blocked with an icon is not available until you collect the corresponding Shade, which is typically found at the end of a dungeon.
Your circuits can be reset for a fee in the Rookie Harbor info hub.
Autosaves happen every time you change maps, or occasionally for plot-related reasons. When you die, you reload your last autosave, meaning you typically lose any progress you made in the current map, including opening chests and completing quest objectives.
Pressing F10 opens an Import/Export Save dialog. You can export your most recently loaded or manually saved savefile here (not your autosave). You can also import a save, which will be added to the end of your saveslot list.
You get your first party member at the end of the Rookie Harbor introduction. You can have up to two party members at a time, and they can be very helpful in combat, but be aware that the more party members you have, the less EXP you earn. You have some control over your party members' behavior through the quickmenu.
Monster in CrossCode tend to be quite tactical. While simply going in and smashing them with Melee or Balls will eventually take down most of them, it will be long and tedious. Observe them, wait for the attacks and Dodge them to learn the pattern and try different tactics, as most of them have some way to stun or weaken them. An enemy flashing red is usually charging a powerful attack, but this is also when they're most likely to be vulnerable.
If you're having difficulty with combat, consumables are there to help, giving you temporary buffs and healing you. Note that consumables have a use time, and taking damage during this time will interrupt it, so you will need to time it and use the consumable when you have some breathing space.
Also don't forget to use Combat Arts.
Grinding and Item Hunting
Grinding is not particularly necessary in CrossCode. Level does not have a huge effect on your stats, EXP scales with your current level, and the many mandatory fights in dungeons ensure that even people who skip all optional fights do not end up that far behind in terms of level. That said, if you enjoy grinding, go for it.
Money is not usually a huge concern unless you're using a lot of consumables or trying to collect all the equipment. Remember that you can sell old equipment and excess trade items.
Most common trade items are drops from either monsters or Botanics. Monster drops can be boosted by increasing your combat rank, which is done by killing enemies without letting the combat cooldown at the top of the screen run out. Some drops are only available at high combat ranks, although these are usually consumables rather than trade items. Many monster drops can also be traded from lesser monster drops.
A Botanics menu can be unlocked by accepting a quest in the last map of Autumn's Rise, which can be helpful in identifying them, although the items they drop aren't listed until you destroy a lot of them. The rare blue Botanics drops are rarely found in standard Botanics, but are much more common from the Omega Botanics (which typically look special and are occasionally seen in hard-to-reach places). If you can't be bothered to look for a lot of these, it is possible to camp at one of them and force it to respawn by reloading from the menu.
Quests in CrossCode are an easy method to gain EXP and useful items. Aside from some of the beginner quests, the game does a good job of making the quests varied and interesting.
Some quests recommend that you use your Seeker Sense. While this isn't explained very well in game yet, this is the Examine icon in your quickmenu, which in addition to quest hints also reveals enemy stats, player names, and the occasional bit of flavor text.
One common challenge that players encounter with quests is that they tend not to hold your hand about where you need to go. While many quests tell you the room in which an objective is located, you will need to manually look at the map and locate that room. Some quests are even more vague, saying the objective is along the main path or even just somewhere in the area. In that case, the map can be helpful, as it will show you the location of rooms you haven't entered yet that you may have overlooked.
Many questgivers offer multiple quests, and the additional ones are often locked until you reach a certain point in the plot. You may wish to return to older towns occasionally to see if any new quests are available.
Chests and Exploration Puzzles
A large part of the exploring in outdoor areas is finding how to reach treasure chests. With a few obvious exceptions (locked chests, as well as ice blocks in Bergen Trail and Village and Wave Teleporters in Gaia's Garden) no special upgrades are required to reach the chests, but the paths to access them grow increasingly long and complex as the game progresses. You frequently need to travel several rooms away to find a way to climb to an upper level, and then return hopping from ledge to ledge above the main path. Small, isolated puzzles to open a path are common, as are switches that need to be approached from a different direction and/or hit with a tricky bounce shot.
Note that while most dungeons have a well-hidden treasure, outside chests are generally fairly visible. If there are a couple missing from the chest counter, they may be tied to quests in the area.
Dungeons in CrossCode are very puzzle-heavy, with a battle every 3-4 rooms to change things up. The puzzles generally start with a simple introduction to a new Puzzle Element, and then follow that with several more challenging puzzles which may involve tight timing. If the puzzles become frustrating, remember that you can leave the dungeon at any time and go do some more exploring (this will also pause the timer for your races with Emilie).