Continuing with my theory of “increasing complexity,” STED is still adding new elements. Now, there’s enemies that are strong to weapons and weak to magic. In the path to Mong Town, there’s a splitting enemy that is weak to magic. An enemy destroys your ESP skills (the first one in your list) and there’s another one near Mong that destroys the first item in your inventory. These skills are rare, but can be very annoying if ill-timed. Poison appeared near the second town, and sleep pops up near Mong. A final new element is that you start to get limb damage in the path to Mong, due to the enemies using targeted hits.
The path to Mong is an introduction of the second gameplay type in the game. It is a short “3D” maze. There’s some nice details (doorknobs appear as you’re near a door) and it’s not annoying to map on your own. At this point in the game, the monsters are very dangerous. With savestates, I cleared the maze in about two tries, but it was very close. It doesn’t help that monsters seem to be in set locations, and they range from two monsters to six monsters.
In Mong, the town’s crystal is missing. A guy has some buggy dialogue where he tells you to take the crystal to the elder, even though you don’t have it yet. Again, there’s some more grinding. There’s a fight to get the crystal back, and a lot of better equipment and spells to pick up. Still, you feel a lot more “powerful” by this point in the game.
The towns still feel pretty different. I think that’s mostly due to a clever use of tiles and layouts. They’re not really inconvenient to explore, but they do feel different enough that you can tell where you are. Coming up next is opening up the next area (after some grinding,) and perhaps the first tower. It will likely take a while.