Nine Dots Studio.  Brand Game guide.
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Written by Kletian999.
Version 0.90 2/28/2013
Finished Arena tactics. Added some personal notes to the questlog.  Described
4 Monsters types.
Version 0.75 2/25/2013
Minor Corrections based on Dev feedback in Power descriptions.
Version 0.7 2/24/2013
Getting this published in an incomplete state before something 
distracts me from the work again.  Need to complete the Arena guide 
and the detailed advice for each power quest.

Contents:
(ID1) Introduction
(GU2) Guide to the Guide
(BI3) Basic Information
(BI3h) The Hero
(BI3c) Controls
(BI3b) Battle
(BI3p) Powers and Combo Powers
(AV4) Advice
(AV4m) Combat Manuevers
(AV4c) More on Combo Powers
(AV4p) Advanced notes on Powers
(AV4a) The Arena
(SC5) Secrets
(SC5g) Golden Switches
(SC5a) Arena Tactics
(SC5q) Quest Guide
(AK6) Acknowledgements

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(ID1) Introduction:
What is Brand?  Brand is a game about exploration and customization.  
Your character is presented a sword and told to improve it into a 
sword "fit for a king."  Three craftsmen, a Blacksmith, a Chemist, and 
a Mage will aid you, but only if you can complete their quests to get 
parts essential to the upgrades they offer.  Each quest will add to or 
improve one of 9 qualities in your sword, making it more visually 
exciting and effective in dispatching monsters.  After 16 quests (15 
after tutorial) you'll test your blade in the King's Arena.  Do well 
enough and you can save/name your blade for rematches.
The quests will take you to the three sprawling, 2D platforming, 
Metroidvania-style stages.  You always start in the center and the 
layout of the terrain and enemies is constant, re-spawning each visit 
but staying dead until you leave.  A map accessible via the menu or 
the Tab key helps guide you to a point; but your objective markers 
become less clear as you search higher levels of powers to demand more 
exploration. The enemies get significantly more dangerous as you get 
closer to the edges.  There are certain doors opened by lever switches 
that remain open on subsequent visits making deeper trips more 
efficient.

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(GU2) The Guide:

Brand is a game that wants you to explore, so on one hand a guide is 
potentially counterproductive to the game's theme.  On the other hand, 
there's a lot of basic information the player should know that the 
game has trouble telling you, and giving away its secrets in 
moderation can help ease the somewhat steep learning curve the game 
has.  Thus I've divided the information herein into tiers: Basic 
information everyone should know, followed by advice from my play 
experience to help develop player skill, ending with the "Secret" 
information that those who want it can read.

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(BI3) Basic information:

(BI3h) The Hero:

The young man tasked to create a legendary sword.  He has 20 HP 
expressed as a graphical lifebar which is filled each time he leaves a 
dungeon.  Should he run out life from a dungeon run that run is 
treated like it never happened- switches, money, and objectives from 
that particular trip are lost.  He can save his progress by escaping 
the dungeons via Town portals.  Hero can create a portal literally 
anywhere from a menu command but it requires being completely still 
and unhurt for 5 seconds.

(BI3c) Controls:

Outside of the dungeons, everything is a point and click interface to 
select your next quest and then enter the dungeons.  It's possible to 
enter dungeons without having a quest for them; though I wouldn't 
recommend it.  On the other hand there is a secret reward in each 
dungeon outside of the quests' objectives.  Anywhere the Escape key 
opens a menu to view the Tip sheet, the area map, and the currently 
collected powers.

In the Dungeon, the character moves in 2D space, using left and right 
to walk/turn around, space to Jump, and down arrow to Guard.    

Guarding immobilizes the player in a defensive stance.  Any attacks 
registering "being faced" by the player will be Blocked.  If hit on 
the top of your head by projectiles or from behind the Guard will do 
nothing to help you, meaning you never want to guard with enemies 
behind you.  Early on, blocking completely negates damage and 
knockback from attacks.  However, stronger enemies will be capable of 
performing "Block Breaking" attacks.  These attacks will still 
register a hit when blocked, albeit doing 2 less damage than if 
unblocked.  Block Breaking attacks are preceded with a white flash 
giving you an extra second or so to try and avoid or prepare a 
"Perfect Block".  Perfect Blocks are performed by initiating the guard 
a fraction of a second before the attack hits.  It takes significant 
practice to perform Perfect blocks and since enemies have 2-3 attacks 
with different timing it adds to the trickiness, so there's no shame 
in getting out of the way when possible.  Guarding cannot be started 
in the air.

Jumping in Brand is similar to most 2D platformers, you can influence 
your direction left/right in midair and control the height of the jump 
based on how long the button was pressed.  Strong and Dash attacks 
used midair change the jump as well.  Air Dashing is often essential 
for certain long jumps and threading into a low ceiling corrider.

The player can perform three kinds of attacks. 

Quick attacks deals 5 base damage and can be repeated fluidly, taking 
the shape of wide slashes in front of you.  The damaging reach is 
actually shorter than the length of the blade by almost half- enemies 
have attacks with longer reach than this so you'll need to advance 
instead of expecting them walk into the swings.  While swinging, you 
cannot move while on the ground, however you can quick attack mid jump 
and you retain the ability to maneuver your jump.

Heavy attacks deal 15 base damage.  They take about same time at 2 
quick attacks to execute but the animation has a lag preventing 
movement, another attack, or guarding for a second after.  Its reach 
matches the appearance of the blade, including the slight overheard 
part of the swing.  Performing heavies mid jump stops your movement 
suddenly and make you plummet straight down- while awesome looking 
there's no extra damage based on Jumping from tall  heights.

Dash attacks deals 10 base damage.  It has you turn invulnerable for 1 
second and pass through damaging (at the start) up to 1 enemy while 
moving 8 spaces forward (4 character body widths).  If the dash cannot 
reach the other side of the enemy from terrain or distance ending 
exactly where the target stands you can still damage the target in 
front of where you stop.  The Dash length is 10 "units" or about 5 
Hero body widths to start.  This move has a cooldown of 2 seconds from 
the start, or more accurately 1 second after it finishes.  If Dash 
animation/invincibility is cut short by hitting a wall, the cooldown 
seems to be shorter as well.  

(BI3b) Battle:
The hero will find 4 families of creatures that stand between him and
whatever goal he's pursuing.  

Flies: These creatures hover in the air until they see you; they'll strive
to hover just a little higher than Hero's height.  Generally, they have two 
attacks: If you are right in their face they'll make a quick thrust, other-
wise they'll wind up for a turn and lunge a great distance.  Fly strength
increases from yellow brown, to red, to Grey, to Green or Black. Green flies
are unique in they lunge 4 short times in a single attack; Black flies
will rapidly return to their lunge start, which counts as attacking from
the other side making them near impossible to block if you stand in their
path. Certain Quest objectives like the Phasing Fly or the UltraPoison Fly
have even more HP, damage, and move styles.  Block breaking attacks are 
rare, generally limited to the quest mobs.

Chewters: These fat froglike creatures generally sit around on small raised
platforms or near ledges.  Their only form of attack is to shoot arcing
balls of "Corruption" at you. If you are unlucky, their attack can hit the
top/back of your head making their attack ignore your guards.  Like flies,
they raise in power from Brown, Red, Grey, Green and Black.  Since they are
not as animated in telegraphing their attack, listen for their gurgling 
sound to start your guard/dash.  Greens will shoot 4 shots at once; Blacks
shoot incredibly fast compared to lesser Chewters.  Grey and higher Chewters
can block break, but the white flash gives you a lot of time to dash behind
them, prepare to jump out of the way, or time your perfect block.
  
Troglodytes: Humanoid spear wielders, wield generally slow moving their
spears give them an advantage over most swords.  Will follow you to edges
and yell at you if they see you, leaving them open for easy killing from
saftey.  Can poke upwards if you are on a ledge above them.  The Green Trog
is unusally slow walking but loves to block break, while the black makes
incredibly fast strikes in a "combo" which you need to hold your block after
the first hit.  Greys and higher can block break.

Manticores: Giant Lionlike beasts with Scorpion Tails.  If close, they'll
rake with their claws or impale you with their horn.  At a little farther,
they'll stab with their tail.  Farther than a manticore body length, they
spam darts from their tail.  They take a lot of practice and/or trickery
to take down unscathed, but they'll often drop some HP.  Normal Manticores
are fairly rare, but there are many even more terrible varieties created 
for quests.

There's a chance on kill for the enemy to dropa wisp of healing crosses 
that'll pursue you- when it catches up with you (You can outrun it a bit to 
delay the heal until after some damage), you'll recover 5 HP.  Generally 
stronger enemies will drop heals more often.

(BI3p) Powers:

Each of the three NPCs offers three powers with 5 potential levels to 
add to your sword.  Certain powers interact well with each other 
creating synergies for highly effective blades.  In addition, 4 
specific pairs of powers will generate a Combo Power.  More 
information on Combos will be revealed in the more spoilery chapters, 
but here's some essential information worth knowing at the start:
1. Combo emerge the first time you enter a dungeon after getting the 
second member of the pair.  A blurb of text will briefly attempt 
to explain what each does.
2. Combos have levels like Sword powers, the level of the combo is 
equal to the weakest member of the power pair- this provides a 
tradeoff against trying to get all powers on a single blade.
3. Combo powers are completely unaffected by the Refine Power, nor 
is Refine a member of any combo.
  
Strengthen- increases the base damage of your strikes by 10%, 20%, 
30%, 40%, 50%.
Visually, this power "bulks" your sword, making the tip wider until 
it's more like a three pointed mace.  While ineffective on Fire, 
Demon, Poison, or Shadow blade attacks- it will increase the damage 
dealt by Timebend Dash and Sundust critical; even with the other 
attack powers as primary offense you'll still be making some melee 
hits.  Getting at least 1 point of this will allow you to open Heavy 
Switches, albeit there's only one switch in Necropolis this is useful 
for outside of the Strengthen Questlines- so don't feel compelled if 
you don't want it.

Sharpen- increases range and enemy pass-through of Dash Attack.  Also 
lowers Dash cooldown by 0.2 seconds per level (.1 seconds quicker 
dashing, .1 less seconds dead time post dash).  
Visually this causes the blade to leave a trail through the air when 
you attack.  This is arguably a "defensive" power, as dashing through 
is often a great tactic to deal with guard blocking monsters or 
attacking flies without being countered.  Naturally it helps improve 
Timebend's attack range and targets.  Be careful not to exceed your 
enemy count because dashing between two enemies is a recipe for pain- 
it's often safer to jump over an enemy and dash back to a safe area 
than risk dashing into another enemy's spear.  Dashing is often needed 
for some tricky jumps and longer dashes make those easier, but there's 
only one room in the Castle area that can't be reached without an 
upgrade, and it is part of the Final Sharpen Questline.

Poison- your quick attacks cause a poison effect for 1 damage/sec for 
3 damage, raising by 1 damage or 1 tick each level, ending at 3 damage 
per tick for 5 ticks.   
Visually this causes the blade to bubble green.  The poison effects 
can stack on a target, so it's effectively adding 3-15+ damage to each 
weak attack.  Though it has no effect on Dashes or Heavy strikes, it's 
significantly better then Strengthen for those that prefer quick 
attacks.  Greatly benefits the hit and run style of fighting since you 
won't kill faster than a counterattack.

Demon's Blood- Your sword lashes out tendrils while you block dealing 
8-16 damage, reaching out 3-6 range units damaging foes but causing 
you to "darken".  Visually your blade will be wrapped in black flowing 
spikes, while hero will visibly get shadowed as Darkness goes up and 
letting off smoke clouds as his Darkness disperses. Darkness will go 
up 1 shade each second of blocking and down by 1 shade every 3 seconds 
of not blocking.  When Darkness gets too high you receive 2 damage, 
and your Darkness instantly resets to 0.  Your darkness capacity 
starts at 5 shades and gradually increases with the level of the power 
to 7.  The Tendrils can pass through enemies and walls with more reach 
up, down, and outward than your average sword swing.

Sundust- Your sword's basic hits will randomly lense-flare for a 
critical hit.  Chance of occurrence is 10-18% and the damage bonus is 
+100%-140% of base damage, so it stacks additively not 
multiplicatively with Stengthen (Level 1 Sundust would add 10 damage 
to a Dash attack 1 in 10 Dashes, and level 5 Strengthen would add 5 
more damage all the time).  These sharp damage spikes are good for 
one-shotting weaker creatures.  Two negatives of this power: Dash 
attacks will lose the Sundust benefit if you have Timebend and 
Firewaves or Shadowblades don't trigger the effect, only your own 
sword.

Firewave- Your Heavy attacks now shoot a firewave that does 5-9 Damage 
passing through enemies for 8-24 range units.  The height of the 
firewave can be increased by performing jump attacks, however the 
firewave gets stopped by the first terrain it touches, even ceiling 
decorations that characters can walk through, making it one of two 
attacks that cannot go through walls.  It is the simplest way to get a 
ranged attack; I found this essential for finishing level 3+ quests 
for my first swords- after which I grew more proficient in fighting 
and didn't need it if my design avoided it.  The wave is on top of
you heavy swing, so it has value in close combat.  

Timebend- Your Dash attack is replaced by the Timebend Dash to make it 
more "offensive".  Instead of sliding forward while invincible, you 
teleport to the endpoint and if there are targets, you pause 
dramatically.  Enemies between the two points are stunned and struck 
for many small hits by images of you.  If more enemies than your slash 
allowance are in the bend, rather than stopping short, the enemies 
closest to the endpoint are hit and the front enemies are ignored.  
Timebend Dash's cooldown is twice as long as regular Dash, and you 
aren't invincible during the pause making being attacked certain if 
you aren't careful.  Try jumping over the target then Dash back 
towards safety, or end the Dash in midair to help avoid being counter 
attacked.   Like Dash, Timebend will stop your forward movement if 
there's an obstacle in the path.  

Shadowblade- Your Quick, (Beginning of) Dash and Strong attacks cause
Shadow swords to strike behind you.  The Shadow Swords have a range longer
than weak attacks and by raising the power's level grow stronger faster than
using Strengthen, making exposing your back to the enemy and carefully 
running away from attacks less dangerous than you'd think.  While a 
heavy attack is 3 times as damaging as a Quick one, you only get two 
backswords from Shadowblade with Heavy, meaning it's usually better to 
quick attack with this power.  

Refine- Multiplies potency of other powers by: 100, 115, 130, 145, 
160%-  The act of using bounty from the monsters to buy better metal 
to construct the blade with (completely hand-waving how the 
improvements you put on the old metal switched to the new).  Visually 
this takes the blade's color (when not glowing) from Rusty Grey, to 
Bronze, to Silver Grey Metal, to Black Metal with Gold stripes, to Blue 
with purple hilt, then finally blue Metal with Gold Red hilt.  You are 
forced to get the first level of this in the tutorial which 
technically doesn't do anything but allows the sword to receive other 
powers, leaving you 15 points of customization.

As Refine says, it benefits you nothing without other powers to 
modify, so levels you take in this should be held off to the end of 
the sword's life.  If you find yourself stuck raising other powers 
however, raising refine is ultimately the easiest of all quests- as 
long as you town portal, your money earned each trip is saved between 
dungeon visits so you can always farm the safest monsters until 
completion.  Should you need to unlock the yellow switches on each 
map, a refine quest is the perfect opportunity to do this.
For Each power, Refine affects the following:

Strengthen- multiplies the damage bonus, so 1 level in both is 115% * 
110%= 126.5% damage, making a Dash do 12.65 (rounded to 13) damage 
instead of 11.

Sharpen- multiplies the length boost, so level 5 sharpen (10 units/5 
hero widths)*Level 5 Refine(1.6)=add 16 units to Dash's base length.

Poison- multiplies the damage per tick (not duration), so 5 Refine 
with level 5 poison would do 3*1.6= 4.8 (5) damage a tick.  Since the 
numbers are small, there's potential for waste in rounding.  4 Refine 
with Level 2 Poison wouldn't do more damage than level 2 poison alone.   

Demonblood- multiplies the damage done by Tendrils, no effect on Range 
or Dark Capacity. Level 2 Demons (10) with Level 5 Refine would do 16 
damage each lash.  

Sundust- multiplies the probability of crits (not damage bonus). So 5 

Refine with level 1 Sundust would occur 10%*160%= 16% of the time.

Fire- multiplies the flame damage (not range). Level 1 Fire (5) * 
Level 5 Refine would do 8 damage.

Timebend- multiplies the hit count only, so 5 Refine/5 Time bend 
works out to 7 hits *160%= 11.2 (11) hits.

Shadowblade- Multiplies the Shadow damage.  Level 1 Shadow (5)* Level 
5 Refine would do 8 damage.

Thus when "Refining" your sword, take note when the difference between 
Rank 4 and Rank 5 will meet a threshold for the powers you have.  
Values with decimals 5 or higher round up. 

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(AV4) Advice:
If you explored the game and the Basic info portion of the guide, and 
you find yourself hungry for more, this section focuses on Techniques 
to help dispatch monsters more effectively, as well as the hidden 
facts of the combos you've probably stumbled upon.

(AV4m) Combat Maneuvers: Tips for wielding your blade effectively.

Ground combos- if you are fighting a target toe to toe, I advise 
alternating 2-3 weak attacks and a block, saving your heavy attack to 
finish them off.  Dashing through is a good response to a block 
breaking attack.

Dash Pressure: as mentioned earlier, the Dash attack can hurt a target 
in front of you if you haven't hit your enemy target count yet.  Also, 
while you can't walk for a few moments after a dash, you can still 
fall.  Since enemies love to camp on the edge of a ledge and taunt 
you, you'll be able to attack with impunity by jumping to their height 
outside of their attack range, dashing so your lower body hits the 
ledge (thus keeping you from landing on it) and falling away before 
they counterattack. Getting Timebend on your sword removes the ability 
to Dash Pressure.  To take it a step further see the next move:

Right Angle Slash- after ending your midair dash attack, immediately 
perform a heavy slash.  You plummet to safety faster, cause +150% more 
damage than the Dash pressure alone, and make a cool 7 shape with your 
blade trail.  This is also effective for taking out Fluffy Flies 
without ever staying in their quick attack radius- if you plan to dash 
through them make sure to hit backwards immediately before the heavy 
slash.

Minion Chivalry- no living creature can occupy the same space as 
another, this means when you have a line of Trogs/Chewters on the same 
floor with you, the ones in back must usually wait until you kill 
their friend.  Some Trogs have a "reaching spear poke" that goes 
around 1 Trog ahead of them that you'll want to watch out for.   Best 
results is with Chewters or weak Trogs (that can't block break) in the 
"front of the line" while using attacks like flamewave to kill the 
ones in back at the same time.  Immediately try to Dash/Jump your way 
to freedom if you are surrounded.

Minion Buffoonery- Since no living creature can occupy another space; 
there can be some bizarre interactions between other monsters and 
Fluffy flies.  A Fly hovering near the ground can block a manitcore's 
walking (though the mant will start spamming tail darts).  Flys can 
also "push" monsters as they lunge- knocking enemies off ledges.  
Sadly there is no fall damage to enemies.

Astral Projection- When you get Timebend, the nature of the Dash 
attack changes.  Rather than sliding along a straight line and 
stopping when you hit something, it calculates whether the endpoint of 
the Dash is clear space and draws the attack between the two points.  
After the attack is created, it checks for obstructions in your path 
and decides whether or not to teleport you to the end.  What this 
means is that TimeDashing in a spot where a platform would fill your 
end space will cancel the dash doing nothing; but Timedashing against 
a wall or locked door with free flat land on the other side will 
actually let your Timedash attack thru the wall while leaving you 
stationary.  With high Sharpen this becomes the longest range attack 
that goes through walls.  This is your apology for losing Dash 
Pressure.

Shadow walking- The shadow blade is a weird power, normally showing 
your back to a target is suicidal.  However, the blade does have some 
advantages that make it useful.  First being range, the Shadowblade 
has longer range than even Trog spears.  Thus if you walk just out of 
their reach you can make quick attacks while they try to catch up with 
you.

Manticore Wrangling-  Manticores are the toughest monsters in the 
game.  Even the weakest is capable of breaking blocks with its horn attack,
their tail out reaches your blade, and they'll spam darts if you are more than
a body with or two out of tail range (high level darts are block breakers
too).  If possible, try to attack through a wall.  If that's not possible,
striking at them from below while they linger on an edge using the Right Angle
Slash is probably the second safest.  If you are on a platform above it and
you can get Ghostblades to hit it without being darted, good for you.  

If you are stuck on a flat plain with it; do the following: 
1. Get close enough  that it stops throwing darts at you, taking care
to block the darts as you advance.  DO NOT try to dash into melee 
range.  The Manticore will try to close the distance, then immediately
attempt a horn, claw, or tail attack.  
2. Perform a dash through the manticore to dodge the attack- 
If you dash too soon it'll just turn around instead of comboing the 
air you used to stand in.  
3. Depending on what attack it made, and if you didn't dash too early,
you can make 1-2 Quick attacks on its back, then run back just outside
of tail attack range (Having the shadow blade power allows you to do 
this without wasting time turning around).  4.  It'll once again try to
close, you repeat the dash and backslashing.  If you Sharpen level is 
low, you may want to make it chase you for two bounds instead of one to
let the Dash recharge.

(AV4c) More details on the Combo powers: 

Explosion- Fire+Stengthen: A large explosion occurs on heavy swings, there's
a hidden cooldown timer on when it happens.  It hits enemies for massive 
damage in a large area near you and passing through walls. Gains strength 
with each level= 30,37,45,55,70 damage.

Light cut- Sundust+Sharpen: slash waves fly out of your weak attacks, 
increasing their range.  This increases the reach of applying poison, 
but is otherwise a disappointing power.  Even at full range you've 
just caught up to the Shadow blade's reach, about 1 hero width farther 
than heavy attacks (1, 1.5, 2, 2.5,3 unit range boost).

Life Drain- Demon's Blood + Poison: Your Demon tendril attacks will 
start accumulating yellow orbs around you, when you reach 4 orbs you 
regain 1 HP and the orbs reset.  This is the only controlled healing 
in the game.  At level 1 it takes 15 enemy hits to reach the heal 
(thus more effective when hitting a group), but it improves to 8, 5, 
4, 3 hits needed per hp as it levels.

GhostBlades- Time Bend + Shadow Blade: Holding the weak attack button 
causes an invisible circle to reach out from you.  Any enemies in this 
circle are rapidly attacks by ghost blades.  While doing this you can't
perform other attacks or blocks but can move and jump freely. The Radius of
the circle is 6-10 units, omni-directional (including straight up and down)
and will hit any number of targets in the circle, though the effect is 
blocked if walls floor break your line of sight.  The damage starts at 
1 damage per blade (second), but scales up to 5 per blade at the end.  
That this power doesn't hamper your movement is a great benefit- 
repeatedly jumping on/over Manticores with this going is thus a very 
effective tactic. 

(AV4p) Advanced notes on powers: Tips for swords using levels of each 
power.

Strengthen: 
Used to make the explosion combo with, can significantly improve the 
Timedash's damage or Sundust's Criticals.   Quests in the Necropolis 
greatly benefit from being able to open heavy switches.  Any close fighting
gets some benefit.  

Sharpen: 
Take care when leveling not to get your dash TOO long (high Refine and 
Sharpen together will have you dashing past your screen radius).  1-2 
levels is usually enough to consistently get through a manticore and 
keep him swinging in the wrong direction.  The Light cut combo power 
is fairly weak unless you are making a poison primary sword, and even then
isn't fantastic.

Poison: 
Your focus with this blade will be hit and run quick attacks.  The 
Lifedrain combo is excellent making "hit and block" another strategy.  
Strengthen normally doesn't synergize well with Poison.  Any leftover 
points can go to Light cut combo if you find the extra range useful, or you
might do better getting a firewave or ghost blade for when melee is dangerous.

Demonblood:
Demonblood far out DPSes melee attacks and the added reach over ledges 
or thru walls is gravy on top of that- thus use it whenever you have 
brightness to spare.  Remember you can always run back to a safe area 
to let the darkness out (or jump into the air repeatedly if you fell 
down a hole).  Getting Lifedrain with at least 1 poison is an easy 
bargain to help offset loosing life to incautious dark use.  Be very careful
of blockbreaking enemies.

Sundust:
As discussed before, Light cut combo generally only helps a poison 
build.  Sundust works best with Strengthen and Refine to create 
incredibly lethal yet mundane Dash/Heavy attacks.  A point in Fire for 
a bit of extra range utility isn't a bad idea. 

Fire:
Fire is simple as powers go, you Heavy attack, you shoot a wave, you 
jump heavy you shoot a bigger wave.  Refine will get you the maximum 
possible damage, Strengthen grants you the explosion combo, otherwise 
there's not a lot of Synergy.  I should mention two downsides to 
making a Firewave centric sword: constantly performing Heavy attacks 
from range can get dry after a while, and manticores with their own 
speedy range attack can keep you from using this effectively against 
them.  Putting some points in the ghostblade combo can help when you 
can't get a clear horizontal shot at the target. Long dashes from Sharpen
can help you get range.

Timebend:
With its drawbacks, Timebend demands building a sword catered to it.  
Regardless of path, high Sharpen will keep enemies from being left out 
of the vortex, Refine and Strengthen combine to make the dash lethal. 
The other tack is to take Shadowblade to help kill what survives 
without turning around; or ignore dashing and use high level 
Ghostblade- one of the best attacks in the game.

Shadowblade:
Ghostblade is weak at levels 1 and 2, but gets exponentially better 
from there; so don't dabble in Timebend carelessly.  Too long a Dash 
from Sharpen takes away the prime opportunity to use the back blades, 
so be careful there as well.  Poison is a decent friend if you open 
your attack with front attack then poke with shadows as you retreat.  

(AV4a) The Arena:
After getting your final upgrade from an NPC, you are immediately sent 
into the Arena.  After passing the hall of contributor's statues, you 
plummet down a long shaft to enter each room.  Early death will demand 
you try again until you clear 3 rooms or just give up that save file.  
Clearing 3 rooms earns your sword a rank of "Good enough", allowing 
you to save the sword in the Armory (letting you repeat the Arena 
later if you wish) while clearing the "Save slot" you were playing in 
so that you'll start a new sword.  Completing all 10 rooms is similar 
except that you get a different win graphic and your main menu 
background is permanently changed to commemorate your success. 

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(SC5) Secrets:
The best information saved for last; spoilers ahead as this section. 
It includes details learned over multiple playthroughs and dialogues 
with Brand's Development Studio.

(SC5g) The Golden Switches:
I mentioned during Refine that there are Golden switches in each 
dungeon that'd be worth hitting?  What's in it for you, you ask?  MORE 
LIFE.  Yes, in each of the dungeons scattered over the map are the 
golden switches.  Finding all 4-5 of them will unlock a special door 
with Golden lights to mark your progress.  Behind this door is a Small 
room with an orange crystal.  Picking up this Crystal increases your 
Max life by 2.  This bonus will remain as long as you wield the sword 
you found the gem with (presumably it was stuck into the hilt)- so it 
helps in the Arena.  In future Playthroughs, you'll need to recollect 
the gems but the Lifebar will have permanently grown "dark space" to 
show where the gems will go.

Castle: The Golden door is located at the top of the Central tower, 
right near the Rainbow used in a Sundust quest.  There are 4 Switches 
to find: The top of the Westmost tower; The east-most wall 
at the bottom of the pit with a weak manticore and the Anvil used for 
Heavy level 2.; The bottom center of the castle next to the army of 6 
different Trogs; and the Southwest corner just SE of the room with 
Maxwell's Demon Machines.  

Mine: The Golden door is located at the bottom of the west most shaft, 
guarded by a Green Manticore.  The 4 Switches are located: on the wall 
far east of the start point; on the wall at the big staircase leading 
down just Southwest of the start point; at the bottom of the Center 
shaft; and at the bottom of the SW shaft near the Golden door.

Necropolis: The Golden door (more like Ceiling) is located directly 
above the starting point, but you must climb up the east or west walls 
to reach it.  Getting there is tricky with 2 Grey Chewters hogging the 
platform.  There are 5 switches: At the top of a short vertical 
deadend just east of the entrance; in the Southwest corner of the map (the
red zone) Reached by going West then Down from the start; in a vertical
shaft 2 "floors" below the starting area (East from start, then down past 
the heavy switch floor); in the cross shaped locked area west of the 
heavy switch floor; and in the South East map corner at the end of the 
"Crematorium".  You'll need to hit two blue switches below the heavy switch
floor to open the entrance and final Crematorium doors.

(SC5a) Arena Tactics: 
1. Silver/Gold Trogs and flies.  You'll fall into a pincer attack of 
trogs so quickly dash to one side once you've cleared the 
ceiling.  Their HP is low and they can't blockbreak.
2. Black, Radioactive (Greenish), and HyperPoison (Yellow) fly.  The
Black flies are the most likely to hurt you so kill them first.  They'll be
high in the air so you'll want to jump behind them to attack.  The other
flies should be slow enough to keep behind and kill.
3. Wide open room with Black/Ninja Trogs and Black Chewters.  As you fall
hug a side and dash to get a chewter between you and the Trogs.
4. Mummy room.  Battle the Mummy Chewter and Trog, and some grey 
Chewters.  Like the first room, you'll need to react to avoid getting hurt
on landing. There's two floors in this room, many holes in the upper floor
but only one way to climb up.  Kill the lower chewters first or they'll make
yourclimb painful.  
5. Lightning Room. Lightning Flies, Trogs, Chewters, and Manticore. Once 
again hug left side as manticore is on right) as you fall so you can dispatch
the Chewter. Dash pressure the upper Trog, melee the right Chewter and Right
Angle Slash the flies.  Once the lower Left Trog is dead, use the run
dashthrough tactic on the manticore, be very careful of his crazy dart attack.
6. Various Quest mobs.  This room lets you fall in safety but it leaves
the combo area very contrained.  The Pure Trogs will generally avoid you
so put the first between you and Hero Trog.  Lure Juliet Fly away from Romeo
Chewter then focus Romeo down- switching sides when he flashes white.
7. Triple Phasing Fly.  There's a lot of room to move among the tiny
platforms, Right angle slashes will be time consuming but Safe.
8. Twin Manticores.  Fall down the center and perform edge heavy attacks on the
left blue manticore. Don't jump higher than you need to or you will be hit. 
Kill the left albino by jumping in front of him, dashing through him and
falling down the hole behind him.
9. Grey normal mob room.  Dash right on entry then take your time.  
10. The Golden Manticore.  This is the strongest, fastest 
creature the developers have coded.  The room is wide open so 
you'll have plenty of room to use dash through and run or Ghost 
blade bouncing techniques.  Your victory over this creature will be 
immortalized in new Title menu artwork.

(SC5q) Quest Objectives: What follows is a description of the 
objectives for each power quest.  On this version of the document, 
I've ripped the description from the Design Document and added some 
personal notes.
Refine- Remember you can always escape with the money you've earned/switches
pulled if you don't die.
Level 1: Gather a bounty of 100 Gold.
Level 2: Gather a bounty of 1000 Gold.
Level 3: Gather a bounty of 2500 Gold.
Level 4: Gather a bounty of 5000 Gold.
Level 5: Gather a bounty of 9001 Gold.

Strengthen
Level 1: Gather 3 iron ores from large clusters of iron located in the 
Alexandrite Mine.
Level 2: Find the anvil in the old forge in the Steampunk Castle, east wall.
Level 3: Eliminate the "metal trio" in the Necropolis Red Zone.
Level 4: Eliminate the Metal Manticore in the Alexandrite Mine. Behind 
Heavy Switch door below the entrance.
Level 5: Gather the schematics in every dungeons; behind Heavy switch doors.

Sharpen
Level 1: Find the tools in the Steampunk Castle.
Level 2: Reach the cart of whetstones in the Alexandrite Mine, just dash
thru the manticore to get credit, then dash to safety.
Level 3: Get the sharpest sword in the world from the statue in the 
Necropolis.  Take the west path to the top level.
Level 4: Kill the Albino Manticore in the Necropolis past the Heavy Switch
door below the entrance.
Level 5: Get the perfect diamond protected by ghosts in the Alexandrite Mine 
and the perfect lense protected by a manticore in the Steampunk Castle.  The
perfect diamond takes multiple heavy slashes to pickup.

Poison Coating
Level 1: Defeat the radioactive Fluffy Fly in the Alexandrite Mine top.
Level 2: Get the Assassin's diary in the Steampunk Castle west side, go low
to get past the locked doors.
Level 3: Activate the incineration switches in the Necropolis. The 
Creamation area door is locked by a switch found under the Heavy switch 
floor up one of the narrow columns.
Level 4: Gather 3 Uranium Ores in the Alexandrite Mine.  1 is in the left
shaft, and 2 more in the center shaft.
Level 5: Kill two of the three Poison Dart monsters. Poison Fly is near
the Mine Golden Door.  Poison Chewter is behind the last Crematorium door
and gold switch.  Poison Trog is somewhere in the Castle.

Demon Blood Coating
Level 1: Kill the Bloody Chewter in the Necropolis.
Level 2: Collect the soullessness of a troglodyte ninja in the Alexandrite 
Mine.  Be careful if he moves long enough to get speed he can go off ledges.
Level 3: Expose the blade to the many Ominous machines in a specific room in 
the Steampunk Castle.  Just fall into the pit at the west center wall past
a Grey Manticore.
Level 4: Gather 6 leaked ferrofluids in the Steampunk Castle.  Two are found
in castle towers on each side.
Level 5: Kill 4 pure-hearted troglodytes.

Sun Dust Coating
Level 1: Find the stash of Sun Dust somewhere in the Steampunk Castle.
Level 2: Defeat the magnesium army in the Alexandrite Mine.
Level 3: Find the double rainbow in the Steampunk Castle.  This is in the 
top central tower by the golden door.
Level 4: Gather the two refracting prism in the Necropolis.
Level 5: Kill Romeo (Chewter) and Juliet (Fluffy Fly) in the Necropolis.

Time Bend Spell
Level 1: Find the runes of past, present and future in the Steampunk Castle.
Level 2: Kill the ageless Chewter in the Necropolis.
Level 3: Find 5 broken clocks in the Steampunk Castle.
Level 4: Kill the Lightning Manticore in the Alexandrite Mine, bottom of 
center mineshaft.
Level 5: Hunt down the phasing fluffy fly in the Necropolis. Just below
the Heavy Switch Floor.

Fire Spell
Level 1: Collect fire crystals found from a cluster in the Alexandrite mine.
Level 2: Kill 4 latent monsters in the Steampunk Castle.
Level 3: Kill the mummy troglodyte in the Necropolis.
Level 4: Get the solar ruby from the planetarium in the Steampunk Castle. 
It's protected by a timedoor in the upper right, so clear the enemies near
it first. 
Level 5: Collect two fire runes in every dungeon.

Shadow Spell
Level 1: Find the spell runes written on a wall somewhere in the Necropolis.
Level 2: Gather the materials from 4 of the Ghost Lanterns in the Necropolis.
Level 3: Find the Tome of the Exiled in the Alexandrite Mine.
Level 4: Kill the Troglodyte that resembles the hero in the Steampunk Castle
who's midway up the center tower.
Level 5: Strike two of the shadow patterns hidden in the dungeons. Necropolis
is found in  small locked room above the cross shaped area where a golden 
switch is.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(AK6) Acknowledgements:
Thanks to Guillaume Boucher-Vidal, not only for being the CEO of the 
company that made Brand, but taking the time to answer email questions 
in the wake of Brand's Greenlight submission.  Thanks to the rest of 
Nine Dots Studios for their development efforts as well.

Thanks to Steam for Greenlight, reminding me I owned the game and 
giving me the impulse to explore it deeper and thus appreciate it 
better.

Comments, Corrections, etc. send private messages to my 
www.Gamefaqs.com user, Kletian999.  I intend this guide for use by 
www.Gamefaqs.com and Nine Dots Studio should they wish to help promote 
their game with it.  Postings on sites not affiliated with these 
organizations is against my will as the author, please notify me 
should you encounter this guide on other sites.