Looking at Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior for the first time, one could easily categorize it as yet another title that tries to follow closely the DNA of beloved isometric hack ‘n’ slash rogue-lite such as Hades and Curse of the Dead Gods.
However, there are many unique elements going for Lysfanga, setting itself apart from other similar titles and offering a twist in the all-too-familiar isometric action gameplay.
Having spent some hands-on time with Lysfanga: The Time-Shift Warrior during our visit to the Tokyo Game Show 2023, here are some key takeaways from the action-filled isometric adventure.
Imë’s Temporal Powers
The main keywords to describe Lysfanga are tactical strategy and time shift. As a hack ‘n’ slash, real-time action combat where players unleash combo chains is still part of its core, however, Lysfanga also aims for players to prioritize on strategic approach to fights.
The game puts strategy at its forefront where before engaging any enemies, you are given a chance to assess the arena for any tactical options. Before any battle, Lysfanga also allows access to the skill menu for players to make any changes based on the upcoming fight.
Once enter a fight, however, players are forced into a tough situation where they have to defeat as many enemies as they can under a time limit. This is where the time-shifting ability comes into play as players can’t possibly eliminate all the enemies alone.
Uniquely, Lysfanga implements its time-warping shenanigans in a way that no other games do, and that is the ability to record the protagonist Imë executing a series of attacks before rewinding time, leaving clones of herself.
Called a remnant, the time-shifted duplicate of Imë will then follow the same sequence of movements that players have previously done, copying them move-to-move and essentially serving as a replay of the battle before. This allows players to coordinate attacks between their current self and the time-shifted remnants.
Of course, there is a limit on how many duplicated past-selves can be spawned and failure will still send players back to the beginning.
The Tomorrow War
The temporal ability is essentially the core of Lysfanga rather than a gimmick, developer Sand Door Studio has designed the isometric hack ‘n’ slash with the mechanic in mind.
While in earlier runs, battles can be a breeze as Imë dashes through the arena with heightened mobility, however, new and tougher adversaries will begin to be introduced. These new enemies will at times only be able to be defeated with clever usage of the rewind system.
One such example is a pair of twins that connect to each other and will rapidly regenerate their health if they are not defeated simultaneously, thus encouraging the need for Imë to fight alongside her remnants to take care of both of them at once.
Another example is a massive shielder who can quickly guard against any attacks, thus requiring the summoning of time-shifted remnants to put pressure upfront of the enemy while Imë goes for the flank.
Lysfanga is no stranger to challenge as each miscalculated move can result in defeat. The demo actually armed Imë with a special rune that bolstered her defense and the developers have noted that without it, any single enemy attack can be lethal.
The challenge even extends to boss battles, as we encounter one with 3 phases and the ability to unleash barrages of attacks from the ground, forcing the need for evasive reflexes.
Back to the Past, Back to the Future
The way Sand Door Studio has structured Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior spells nothing but creativity as they manage to make the rewind system the main focus of gameplay rather than a one-off gimmick.
Anyone who seeks challenges will be assured that the game can deliver as the further you go, the intensity escalates and incentivizes creative problem-solving through patience, keen observation, and foresight.
Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is expected to launch sometime in early 2024 on Windows PC via Steam.