Lost Kingdoms II boasts a unique combination of card-based and real-time battle. The player moves Tara around the map using the control stick and changes the camera with the C-stick. Four cards are available at a time and are displayed in the bottom-right corner of the screen. The cards have the letters A, B, X, or Y to indicate which button corresponds to which card and the Magic Stone cost . Each card has both an element and a type which are indicated by the border color and a small symbol, respectively.
The top four elements form a circle of dominance, and are listed in that order with Earth cycling back around to the top. In other words each element has one strength and one weakness; cards will do more damage to inferior elements, and Independents/Helpers take less damage from weaker elements. The opposite is also true, less damage is done to enemies of superior elements and Independents/Helpers take extra damage from their superior element.
Neutral types have no strengths or weaknesses, and so are generally good in all situations. Mechs have no elemental weakness, but they do take extra damage from "lightning" attacks. For example, a Pixie's attack will do extra damage to a Mech unit.
- Weapon- The most basic of card types, Weapons provide a quick and instant attack when activated. Weapon cards can be used at least two times and generally have low magic stone cost. (Ex: Green Lizard, Banshee, and Sekmet)
- Independent- Cards that, when activated, roam around without instruction and attack opponents, each with its own health bar and attack set. Their health bar decreases both as a function of damage taken and of time, so the player cannot have an Independent following Tara around for the whole level without healing. (Ex: Man Trap, Elf Lord, Great Turtle)
- Summon- Single-use cards that boast extreme power. When activated, Summons let the player choose one of two attacks during the start-up animation, and then executes them. Summons generally have a high magic stone cost. (Ex: Storm Hagan, Manticore, Fafnir)
- Helper- Helper cards are special Independents. They also have their own health bars, but their uses are not as straight forward. Helpers do not always do damage and sometimes have different effects, such as the Anarchy Owl that switches around elemental superiority. (Ex: Fairy, Whip Worm, Phoenix)
- Transform- As the name implies, Transformers temporarily turn the player into a monster. During this status, the player takes damage as usual and only has 2 available attacks. Transforms often have abilities that are needed to access certain areas of a level. (Ex: Stone Golem, Hell Hound, Birdman)
Changes from Lost Kingdoms to Lost Kingdoms II
The card system remained basically unchanged from Lost Kingdoms
to Lost Kingdoms II, but a few new types were added and a few mechanics were changed.
- Independents have been split into Independents and Helpers.
- The Transform type has been added to the game.
- Summons now have two options for attack.
- The Mech element has been added to the game.
- Battle are not a sub-section of the map and thus are not restricted to a small area.
- The player can revisit any stage at any time for any reason.
One of the new additions to the game is the ability to increase a card's potency by holding the Z-button while activating the card (called a Z-Effect). This technique doubles the Magic Stone cost of the card, but is always rewarding. If the player Z-Effects two or more specific cards at a time, a Card Combo can be performed. Card Combos unleash special attacks only available by combo; the Combos are usually stronger and have their own seperate Magic Stone Cost. The Combo uses all of the cards at the same time, but sometimes the effects are lasting.