Do I need to play the first game or watch the anime?
Everything you need to know is explained to you. The anime, Ray, is more of a side story that gives further context to one character in particular. It's pretty hard to recommend watching in general, however. The first game does directly lead to the events of this game, but Hinako herself tells you what she did within a couple sentences.
How do I get sand?
- Each heartscape has its own type of sand that most enemies will drop
- Sometimes you can find sand at school
- There are four crafting abilities (Northern/Southern/Eastern/Western Waves) that have a chance to give you sand while crafting
- The final dungeon gives a ton of it to you, though this is really too late for most purposes
- You can get the Container facility that lets you get Warm Sand for coins.
Are there missables?
Yes. Locations, as part of the Heartscape Exploration Squad Achievement/Trophy, are highly missable; see this guide.
What does NG+ give you?
Fragments you earned, half your your talent level with all the girls, and the ability to see a NG+ ending (the changes are small , you can look it up on youtube). For PC players, see here for a clear save that spares you the effort of playing twice. Bear in mind you will be fairly overpowered because of all the fragments and talent points that the save gives you.
For exact true end requirements, see here.
How many dates are there?
135. You won't get them all in one run without NG+.
How do I unlock Ether Tide?
Fight the Training Dummy facility and win. Then enter battle, reach gear 3, and get a combo of 15+.
How do I unlock hard mode?
Finish the game once. If you are on PC, you can get a save for that here.
Why are some areas blocked off? How do I get to them?
There are two reasons:
- You need an exploration item to destroy the barrier (the game will tell you which one when this is the case)
- You need to get to a higher talent level with the girl whose Heartscape you are in. I believe these unlock at 5 and 10, but don't take my word for it.
[PC] Why does my game run like garbage?
Plug in a controller. Yes, really.
Alternatively, if you are on laptop, you need to make sure the game is not running on integrated graphics.
Windows 10 Settings -> Search "Graphics settings" -> Browse -> Select the game exe -> Options -> High Performance -> Save