Melee weapons generally hit harder than their ranged counterparts. However, their vertical range is limited to where you may even have issues hitting enemies that are a above you on a stairwell. Each melee weapon has unique advantages.
This game is all about the Mana Sword, so it would be predictable that you start the game with the Sword class weapon.
The Sword have limited reach and generally do not advance the user towards their intended target outside of charge attacks. It is, however, quick and very well may intercept an attacking enemy before they can hit you. The Sword can easily hit multiple targets that are close together, but seeing as this generally means enemies are attacking simultaneously, an ill timed strike in this situation could result in lots of damage to you!
The sword can also cut bushes and small plants that block your path.
The Spear hits harder than the Sword and has superior reach, but is slower. One of the Spear’s normal attacks advances the user toward their target, but the attack comes out slow.
The Spear can easily swipe at several enemies in front of the user and deal respectable damage. However, the slower speed makes the Spear require timing to intercept attacking enemies.
The Spear is acquired from Luka at the Wter Palace, shortly after the Mantis Ant boss fight early in the game.
The Gloves have the shortest reach of melee weapons but are also particularly quick. Several attacks advance the user towards their target, and one of the normal attacks is a throw that position’s the enemy on the other side of the user. However, this attack tends to not stagger an enemy.
The gloves generally do not hit multiple enemies. The gloves will require good timing to use effectively, as its entire possible you can be intercepted by attacking enemies courtesy of the low reach of the Gloves.
The gloves come with Primm when she joins the party.
The Whip has the best reach of all melee weapons, but the reach is longer as opposed to wider, like the Spear has. That said, the Whip can attack through obstacles to hit enemies that can’t reach you yet. The tradeoff to this is that the whip attack comes out slightly slower.
The Whip can be used to bridge certain gaps. Look for posts or stalagmites to use for this function, use the whip on the post on the opposite side of the gap and the party will leap across the chasm.
You get the Whip after defaeting Elinee in the castle at the end of the Hauntest Forest.
The Axe is a slower, more powerful version than the Sword. Better timing is required to effective use this weapon. Against faster enemies, you may want to try the Sword or a ranged weapon.
The axe can crush certain stalagmites and remove them from your path. If there is an odd stalagmite in your way, try using the axe on it! The axe can also cut the same plants that the sword can.
The axe is acquired from Watts in the Dwarven Village after defeating Tropicalo.
Ranged weapons have superior vertical range to their melee counterparts. A ranged weapon may hit enemies at some ranges both above and below the user. Not to mention, ranged weapons have superior range to melee weapons other than the whip.
The Boomerang tends to come out slow, but the actual projectile is quick. Thus, good timing will keep an enemy from getting close to you, unless your attack is evaded, anyway. The boomerang can hit multiple enemies in one throw.
The Boomerang comes with Popoi when he joins the party after you beat Tropicalo.
Bow and Arrow
The Bow and Arrow attack comes out fairly faster than the Boomerang and has great range, but it only hits a single target each attack.
The Bow and Arrow can be acquired from the Drawf Village Elder immediately after Popoi joins the party.
The Javelin is respectably quick and hits multiple enemies in one throw. the projectile is somewhat slower, but this is made up for by how decently large it is.
The Javelin is acquired from Undine after defeating the Biting Lizard, coinciding it with your acquisition of your first Mana Elemental and thus unlocking magic for Primm and Popoi.