Dark or Light

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior Review

Ralph Whitmore Posted:
Reviews 0

Lysfanga is Sand Door Studio’s first game in which you play Imë, the Lysfanga. In this top-down action, hack and slasher, Imë must fight back an old evil that has escaped and endangers the New Kingdom. Lysfanga caught my eye when I first saw the trailer during Summer Game Fest 2023. The assortment of magic spells, runes and weapons makes for many different ways to tackle and complete each arena. I love the use of remnants and how it adds a different layer of strategy to the game play.

Usually when it comes to the action games I play, the strategy comes from having your gear socketed and gear enchanted to work with your skills. Along comes Sand Door Studio with their first title, Lysfanga, bringing a different kind of strategy to the action gameplay. The use of remnants like a time trial mechanic that fights alongside you has made planning and tackling these arenas fun. Not just remnants are at your disposal but during arenas you also can choose a spell, rune and goddess power to use during the arena. 

Plan Your Past

Before an arena battle begins, Lysfanga allows you to survey the battlefield, pick your spells and runes, and plan your strategy. With 14 spells, 10 runes, and 4 goddess powers to choose from, there was some room for me to plan my way to tackle arenas. Not every spell, rune and power is unlocked at the start. As I played through the story, I found and unlocked more. As progression happens, before I would enter some arenas, I would either find a new ability or a golem would mention making one. The devs, while having the story present you with new abilities which to me are meant to be used in the upcoming fight, still allow you to choose how you want to fight each arena.

With the way remnants work, I had to plan ahead a lot. Remnants fight with you as they are you from the previous run. Each death rewinds time, until you run out of remnants to use. With difficult enemies to deal with like shielded or linked enemies, I found myself sometimes needing to start my plan with taking care of them first. You may not find yourself planning ahead in the beginning, but once you have a nice number of remnants, and battles under your belt, you may. The way enemies are grouped up had me picturing some AOE spells which may be great against the groups, but then again there is this other spell that binds the shield enemies, making them easier. As the game progresses, the arenas become more and more complex. Being able to switch weapons on the fly really adds a deeper process to planning. Each weapon has its different combos and uses. The weapons Imë uses are a shamshir and shield, chakrams, and trident. Weapons, like the powers, are unlocked as you progress through the story. I found that the chakrams were not ideal in fighting and aiming the bomber birds where I wanted them to go, but they were really effective when fighting groups of enemies. I really found myself doing more of the weapon switch in the later arenas during Act 3. 

The arenas in Act-1 for the most part are clearly meant as tutorials, up until two arenas before the end of Act-1 or at least that is what I thought at first. With the way a tutorial video pops up whenever there was a new ability or new mechanic in the later game feels like tutorials did not end. I understand the reasoning for doing it, showing an example of what the power or mechanic does, but often I would have preferred no video example. I like the experience of figuring out what a new thing does. Each arena has a time objective to challenge how fast a player can complete the arena. 

The time trial objective did often inspire me to replay an arena when I find I am just a few seconds shy of the goal. There were also the tough arenas that I don’t think I can currently clear any faster.  In this trial there will be an enrage timer which means there's a quicker explosion time. Having to plan a route which can allow me to cut both linked raxes, the enemies, at the same time really showed me how much I didn’t plan. The shield raxes was still alive the first time I hit zero remnants. I fought for that victory. Maybe I’ll come back later to see if I can beat the clear time, but right now, I’m happy with clearing it 4 seconds shy of the objective. 

Later in Lysfanga around Act 3 I found that for each hard fought victory where I cleared it the time went from being 2–3 seconds shy to being 20s-1 min shy. By the time I cleared the game, I did not feel the want to go back and try to get the clear times. I was happy just clearing them, so that I could continue the story.

Plot Thickens… Not Too Thick.

Speaking of story, the story of Lysfanga was fun in places I did not expect. I enjoyed Imë discovering her brother, Kehör, and finding out about what happened in the past. As well as Sitiss, the snake. Imë throwing herself at the enemy made me laugh. Those two plot points really kept the story driving me forward when battles were frustrating. As a person with siblings, I found the relationship Imë has with her brother to bear some resemblance with what I’ve come to know from growing up with my own siblings. We will sometimes try to handle things alone, so as not to bother anyone else. Their relationship really felt like the meat of the story over whatever the villain was doing. I didn’t really care for the villain's plot by the end of the game. Even though he should feel big and important, the villain really doesn’t.

Modifiers, Colors, and Backgrounds. Oh My!

A feature unlocked while progressing through the story is being able to reply to the arenas with modifiers. To do so, you would speak with the golem, Longis, once they are rescued. These modifiers can lock you to using only one spell, but as well as how enemies react to you. I would call these challenge levels. If you are a person who likes to aim for those achievements and challenges, then I recommend trying these. Longis’s modifiers really impose some strict limits that can be challenging and fun. Also, did I mention there is lots of golem rescuing? They are the conduit through which we learn the history of Lysfanga.

 The background and level design is beautiful. I found myself really enjoying exploring the different maps. Running around looking for chests and motes of magic while exploring the beautiful scenery was delightful. The aqueducts are one of my favorite areas in the game. It was not hard to find a chest and motes. Motes are hidden quite nicely, but not so hard that you would miss them.

The chest can sometimes contain runes, armor color palette, and spells. Motes of magic on the other hand can be used to craft some color palettes. The addition of the color palettes is a nice side thing to do. So far they have not been hard to come across. I have run into them as I’ve played. My favorite palette is the black and orange “Darker Times”.

The Final Time Shift

Overall, I’ve enjoyed my play through of Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior. The replayability is there with the time objective to try for a better time, with different modifiers and different spells. Lysfanga has challenging arenas, but it feels so rewarding when earning that victory. The story doesn’t stick out particularly strongly with the plot, but the gameplay along the way was pretty fun.

7.0 Good
  • Fun mix of action and strategy
  • Replayable with modifiers
  • Great level design
  • The villain was the least interesting part of the story.


Ralph Whitmore

Love art, anime, manga and video games. RPGs and MMORPGs are my usual niche. I've been playing video games since I was 4 and have been playing MMO's early 2000-2001.