- : Use the direction pad to control each member of the family as they explore the dungeon. Press left and right to make each player run (or fall through the air) in either direction. Press up and down to make each player climb up and down ladders. Pressing up also enables players to resist taking damage from spiked floors, or to climb on the backs of monsters, although this may hurt them in the process.
- : Press the A button to make the players jump into the air. Each family member has a different maximum height at which they can jump. The A button is also used to utilize special items which operate on blocks, like the glove, the mattock, and the hit rod.
- : Press the B button to instruct players to fire their weapons or magic at enemies. Each family member will fire in the direction that they are currently facing, but the direction pad can be held down to throw weapons up, down, or diagonally.
- : Press the Start button to start a new game, or to pause the game mid-action and bring up the Inventory screen. Note: In the MSX versions of the game, press .
- : Press the Select button during the game to pause the action and activate the item selection mode. In this mode, you can press and to move a box that will highlight one or none of the three items that you have chosen to take with you as you left the family home or an inn. Moving the cursor beyond any of the three items will remove the cursor, indicating that no item is activated. Pressing left or right when there is no cursor will bring the cursor back. Press again or to exit out of item selection mode and return to the game. Note: In the MSX versions of the game, press .
Throughout the game, it is important to pay attention to several aspects of a players status. Some of a players stats are constant, while others change throughout the game. The stats which change are always shown in graphs at the top of the screen, whether the screen is showing the game action, or the inventory. Stats which are more permanent are only shown on the inventory screen (shown left) when the game is paused, or when leaving the house or an inn.
Changing stats are represented by a graph composed of a two rows of meters. The top row contains ten red bars, and the bottom row contains ten blue bars. A blue bar represents a single unit, while a red bar represents ten blue bars. For example, if your life currently has six lit red bars and four lit blue bars, you currently have 64 units of health. If your magic contains only five lit red bars, and you use one unit of magic, one red bar will disappear, and nine blue bars will light up. In this way, the maximum you can have of any stat at any given moment is 110 units.
- Life: These meters indicate your current health. Collecting breads or using a Life Potion will add to your life meter. Touching monsters or spikes, or falling from great heights will reduce your health. Any family member will die if their health is reduced to 0. If this happens, you will have the option to continue or "retry" (which means to return to the title screen.) If you choose to continue, your progress will be reset to the very last time that you exited the family home. Any items, keys, and gold you collected or used up will be forgotten.
- Magic: These meters indicate how much magic you possess. Collecting potions or using Magic Potion will fill your magic meter. You lose one unit of magic for every shot that you fire. Additionally, you lose magic by using certain items which are powered by magic. Some items require a unit of magic each time that you use them, while others drain your magic for as long as you have them equipped. If you run out of magic, you will be unable to fire your weapon or use any items which require magic.
- Key: Keys are required to open doors and treasure chests. Without any keys, you will be unable to perform either of these actions (with the exception of the mother, Meyna, who can use the Key Stick to open doors at the cost of some magic, but not chests). Each key that an enemy drops will add one to your collection. Keys found in treasure chests provide you with 20. Each door or chest opened costs one key.
- Gold: Gold is, quite naturally, the currency of the land. You can only use Gold in shops or at an Inn. Shops are found throughout the dungeon, and sell two items each. To purchase an item, you must walk up to that item at the counter and press . If you have sufficient funds, they will be deducted from your gold, and the item will appear in your inventory. All Inns cost 10 gold to stay. Staying at an Inn will restore your life and magic to 99 points each, and you will be given an opportunity to restock your current equipment before you leave.
There are three stats that apply to each character which are fixed, and can only be altered temporarily by equipping a particular item.
- Strength: This statistic determines the offensive power of your player's weapon. Roas and Lyll are the weakest with a strength of 1, Meyna is in the middle with a strength of 2, and Xemn and Pochi both have the highest strength of 3. All family members except Pochi can boost their strength by equipping the Power Knuckles item (the knuckles will not fit on Pochi's paws).
- Jump: The jump statistic indicates how high each player can jump. Lyll is the absolute best jumper in the game, followed by Roas and Meyna in the middle, and Xemn and Pochi both sharing the lowest jump ability. While Lyll, Roas, and Meyna can improve their jumping ability with the help of the Jump Shoes, poor Xemn and Pochi are doomed to their low jumping ability throughout the game.
- Distance: This final statistic refers to how far each family member can throw their weapons and hit enemies before they disappear. Roas and Lyll can throw their weapons the farthest, followed by Meyna, and then followed by Xemn. Pochi has the worst range of all, although he compensates by attacking quite rapidly. Every member of the family, including Pochi, can extend the range of their weapons by equipping the Fire Rod.
Each family member has enough capacity to bring three select items from the inventory into battle with him or her. Not every member can utilize every item. When selecting items from the inventory screen, you may only select from those items whose number is white, and greater than 0. You may not select any item whose number is printed in purple even if there are some available. The items that you select fill in from the right and scroll to the left. After three items are selected, selecting a fourth will return the first selected item back to the inventory. Selected items appear in both the three Equipment boxes to the left of your fixed stats, as well as up in the items box to the right of your changing stats.