The player, as Ryle the treasure hunter, is tasked with searching for clues that lead to the treasure of King Nole. This is accomplished primarily by travelling through both outdoor areas and dungeons. All gameplay takes place in an isometric view, including plot-advancing scenes.
From the outset of the game, Ryle may walk, jump, swing his sword, climb ropes and ladders, talk to various non-player characters, and pick up and throw various objects. With very few exceptions, these basic actions do not change throughout the game, although Ryle's weapons and armor may be replaced with better versions thereof. There are a variety of items throughout the game, most of which either increase or restore health and attacking power or are important to advancing the plot or solving puzzles.
The game's dungeons are filled with monsters, traps, and puzzles that require the player to jump from platform to platform press switches and move blocks to climb on. Locked doors inhibit the player's progress, the player must find keys or beat enemies or puzzles to unlock them and progress further. Many dungeons and areas have a boss to defeat at the end. The monsters, puzzles and dungeons increase in difficulty as the game progresses. The player has health which is kept track of by hearts; health and the maximum health limit may be increased with items purchased in towns or found in dungeons. The player is not prevented from revisiting old towns and dungeons, and is frequently required to do so to advance the plot.
There are several optional side quests found in the game involving helping out the non-player characters. Ryle can complete these tasks for benefits, like increased attacking power and use of shortcut warps to travel across the overworld quicker. These can help the player but are not necessary to complete the game.