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Controlling two characters on two different screens in real-time is definitely a challenge, and while I don't find myself dying all too often, I am having quite a difficult time helping my partner on the top screen avoid damage.

While avoiding attacks with Neku on the bottom screen is fairly straightforward (you run away from danger and/or dodge with a skillful drag of the stylus), I have absolutely no idea how something similar can be done on the top screen. As far as I can tell so far (I haven't gotten too far in the game) my only means of controlling the top-screen character is by attacking with one of three different combos using the d-pad.

Is there any way to avoid damage on the top screen other than guessing which noise is about to attack next and dealing out a preemptive strike (a technique I don't consider overly reliable)? If that's my only option, how do I pick which noise to attack when there is more than one of them on either of my sides?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your partner that fights on the upper screen can be controlled using the D-Pad or the A/B/X/Y buttons, depending on whether you're left or right handed.

Once you get your partner's respective Air Time, Jump, or Levitate Sticker, pressing Up/X while you are already on a combo map branch allows you to perform an air combo.

Once you get your partner's respective Block or Sidestep Sticker, pressing Down/B while the combo map is not available allows them to dodge or block attacks.

The combo map disappears whenever it reaches a finisher card, your partner is hit, or your partner makes a counter (see below). It reappears whenever you press Left/Y or Right/A again.

Shiki, Beat, and Joshua each have a Sticker where pressing the button opposite the direction they are attacking (during a combo) will interrupt their combo to counter enemies behind them. You can use this to break your combo and block/dodge an attack.

If there is no input for a set amount of time, the game goes into Auto-Mode, where the game's AI takes over controlling your partner (it's quite inferior compared to controller your partner youself). By default the delay is set to 3 seconds, but you can be change in the Cellphone menu.

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