I’ve done plenty of time-bending in video games before, but there was something about its implementation in Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior that felt especially satisfying. Maybe it’s the way it adds a puzzling twist to the hack-and-slash formula, maybe it’s because it demanded careful planning from the player to succeed, or maybe it’s because it is creatively implemented to challenge players in a host of different ways? However you look at it, it ensures that Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior makes for a fun experience that add its own twist to the formula.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior takes place in the world of Antala, which has been granted protection by Qhomera, the Goddess of Time, and her special warriors known as the Lysfanga. Protagonist Ime is a Lysfanga, who discovers that the once-vanquished threat known as the Raxes has returned to Antala and finds herself battling against the evil force. Of course, things don’t go well at first, but with special powers of time granted to her by Qhomera, she is given allies to help her in the fight – her past selves.

Sound baffling? Well, whilst a few peculiar names in the story might be hard to remember, the gameplay mechanics are actually a bit more straightforward. A hack-and-slasher at its core, Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior sees players mashing out combos with three different weapons, all whilst unlocking a variety of spells along the way that cause damage to enemies or grant some temporary buffs to Ime. Players can also find and equip different Runes along their adventure, with each offering upgrades to Ime’s capabilities that can be extra beneficial depending on the situation you find yourself in. So far, so familiar, right?

Well, what makes Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior more unique is the fact that upon death, players rewind back to the start of the battle to try again. However, a ghost-like version of Ime (known as a Remnant) remains, which will perform all of the previously performed actions again alongside her current self. And if she dies again? Another Remnant will form, performing another set of her actions all over again in union with Ime and any other Remnants. You have a limited amount of time and Remnants to utilise across each battle instance, with each requiring you to defeat all enemies in order to progress.

“The clever design of the battle scenarios ensure that there are plenty of ‘eureka!’ moments for players where everything clicks together perfectly, but there’s also flexibility in their design to allow for accidental successes where you’ll achieve your goal through experimentation (and even a bit of luck). “

It’s a really clever idea that adds a puzzle-like twist to the action-focused combat, with players having to be strategic in their approach in order to succeed. Sure, things are pretty simple to begin with and you can get away with just mashing out attacks at enemies, with your Remnants always putting the odds in your favour. However, you soon tackle more complicated scenarios, whether that’s when facing multiple enemies that need to be killed at the same time to be vanquished, fighting enemies with shields that need to be distracted by Remnants in order for Ime to hit their weak spot, dealing with the coloured Binary Doors that close all linked pathways when passed through by a Remnant, or when facing a boss that demands a more practical and clever use of your abilities. There’s a lot going on, and whilst there’s often more than one way to achieve your goal, it’ll take a bit of forward-thinking and planning to survive through the game’s creative challenges.

The experience is kept fresh thanks to the growing range of enemies, the changing environments you battle across, and the variety of hazards you face along the way, though it can be a little guilty of getting repetitive towards the back end of the game. Whilst Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior has plenty of cool ideas at play, having to methodically plan your approach in the tougher scenarios can slow things down – especially since it’s a meaty experience that’ll easily take around thirteen-hours to beat. It can be pretty tough, and whilst there are upgrades and new abilities to unlock along the way, facing failure after failure late on could get a little frustrating.

When you do succeed, though? It’s really satisfying, especially when you embrace all of the mechanics at play to complete your goal. There’s plenty on offer for completionists too, with target times to try and beat in battle as well as the opportunity to replay previous encounters with modifiers in place to up the ante. There are plenty of collectibles to find along your journey too, with some giving you the chance to unlock additional Remnants and others allowing you to apply cosmetic changes to Ime and her surroundings.

Check out some screenshots down below:

I think the thing I liked the most about Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior was how unique it felt to play. Whilst I’ve played plenty of time-bending games before where clones have come into play, the way it is implemented here felt particularly crafty and really complemented the hack-and-slash gameplay. The clever design of the battle scenarios ensure that there are plenty of ‘eureka!’ moments for players where everything clicks together perfectly, but there’s also flexibility in their design to allow for accidental successes where you’ll achieve your goal through experimentation (and even a bit of luck). The hack-and-slash mechanics are sound too, and whilst they feel like they play second fiddle to the time-bending aspects of the game, combat makes for a good time thanks to the variety of weaponry at your disposal as well as the effectiveness of your spellcasting.

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior Review

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior blends together time-bending puzzling and hack-and-slash combat in a creative and satisfying fashion, with players having to carefully plot out their actions if they hope to survive. It’s all well and good to slash away at enemies to defeat them, but with your past actions determining your immediate success, you’ll have to be methodical in your approach if you want to succeed. It might sound overwhelming (and yes, it can be difficult) but it actually makes for a really rewarding experience that’ll keep players hooked in until the very end.

It can be a little repetitive in places and the difficulty can be frustrating at times, but it never stops Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior from being a unique and creative experience that adds its own fun twist to time manipulation.

Developer: Sand Door Studio
Publisher: Quantic Dream
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)
Website: https://blog.quanticdream.com/lysfanga/