Etrian Odyssey uses a turn-based battle system, with a gameplay balance similar to the Shin Megami Tensei series; careless errors will bring about a swift demise. The player can acquire and collect skills, but strategy is emphasized over the player’s skills or levels.
Most games for the Nintendo DS use the Touch Screen for gameplay, and the Top Screen for secondary elements, such as map or statistical displays. Etrian Odyssey uses both.
The Top Screen uses a robust 3D engine to display the environment from a first-person perspective, while the Touch Screen is used by the player to draw and create maps of each environment in a “Conquest Journal.”
Among the areas to be explored are the Emerald Forest, teeming with flower gardens and treasure chests; the Primitive Jungle, where trails are surrounded by poisonous thorns; and the Ancient Grove, where adventurers float across waterways on magical lilies.