Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior review - If I could turn back time

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior review - If I could turn back time
Images via Sand Door Studios | Quantic Dream

Written by 

Lloyd Coombes

Published 

14th Feb 2024 11:19

Just weeks after the sandy, time-bending shenanigans of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown comes another contender for the sandiest, most time-bending game of 2024.

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior marks the debut of Sand Door Studio, and as far as first impressions go, it won't be easy to top this. A fun story, tied in neatly with a unique central mechanic makes this game a journey worth taking.

GGRecon Verdict

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is a treat, and a very pleasant surprise. Combat is slick, challenging, and thoughtful all at once, while the story, despite some obvious twists, is well worth experiencing.

Here's hoping Sand Door Studios can expand further on its scope next time around - or I'll have to loop back and play it again.

Deserted desert

Combat in Lysfanga The Time Shift Warrior
Click to enlarge

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior puts us in the boots of Imë, the titular Lysfanga. These generational warriors are bestowed great power, and all was going quite swimmingly until the lineage diverged somewhat when you arrived with your twin brother.

Still, only you were chosen to be a Lysfanga, and while the narrative here certainly shows its hand earlier than I'd have expected, it's just enough to pull you through. Imë is fun to play as, and while the occasional wisecracks do grate a little after a few hours, her immaturity actually makes her more relatable as someone who's been given a hell of a lot of power alongside a seemingly cursed mission.

That mission involves battling through the Ancient Cities, previously locked in time by a goddess to prevent the bloodshed of a demonic invasion.

Lysfanga The Time Shift Warrior temple location
Click to enlarge

Imë navigates eerie streets, previously bustling marketplaces, vast temples, and, while predominantly explored in a straight-up isometric view a la Diablo or Hades, the camera subtly adjusts to make it feel like holding a diorama in your hand. It adds to the feeling that something otherworldly is watching Imë's every step.

I did find myself looking for more opportunities to explore, though, with Remnant shards that allow for additional copies of Imë to be summoned pretty much the only thing to keep an eye out for. That's a shame, because I found myself wanting to venture further off the beaten path.

Army of One

Lysfanga The Time Shift Warrior combat screenshot
Click to enlarge

At the core of Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is its unique combat system, which provides a sort of connective tissue between the exploration of the Ancient Cities and the storyline.

Imë is powerful, able to wield a sword to carve through opponents, but she's not strong enough to take more than a hit or two. Each combat encounter begins with enemies teleporting in and everything pausing so that you can see what you're dealing with.

While dashes and attacks are mapped to the same controller buttons as Hades, that's where the similarities end, as Imë relies on time-based magic to return a set number of times until enemies are cleared.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Get exclusive news, content, and discounts sent directly to your inbox

You've joined our newsletter. Thank you!
Sorry, there has been an issue in subscribing to the newsletter.

This means plotting a route that'll help you take out a set number of opponents, before returning to the start to set off again, watching Imë's Remnants (the time 'clones') do battle in real-time. It sounds cumbersome, but within minutes it simply clicks, even when factoring in changing an enemy's fate by accidentally moving them out of the way of your Remnants' attacks.

Imë can wield spells, too, usually best for multiple enemies, and factoring in their cooldowns becomes an extra wrinkle of each loop. Before long, you'll be hacking enemies in a sort of synchronised dance between opponents, and converging on enemies that will heal each other if not eliminated at the same time.

Lysfanga The Time Shift Warrior shielded enemy
Click to enlarge

Better yet are the larger, shielded foes that require drawing them one way with your initial attack to open up a weak spot behind them for your Remnants to attack. It leads to a sort of Shaun of the Dead/pool queues scenario as you dance around them taking turns striking.

While combat feels great in Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior, I wish there were additional modifiers for the basic and stronger attacks. Dealing damage and causing an enemy to be stunned are great, but I'd have loved additional weapons to go with the unlockable spells, too. There are some there, but here's hoping we may see more in the future, especially when it comes to tackling the more difficult time trials.

The Verdict

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is a treat and a very pleasant surprise. Combat is slick, challenging, and thoughtful all at once, while the story, despite some obvious twists, is well worth experiencing.

Here's hoping Sand Door Studios can expand further on its scope next time around - or I'll have to loop back and play it again.

4/5

Reviewed on PC. Review code provided by the publisher.

Lloyd is GGRecon's Editor-in-Chief, having previously worked at Dexerto and Gfinity, and occasionally appears in The Daily Star newspaper. A big fan of loot-based games including Destiny 2 and Diablo 4, when he's not working you'll find him at the gym or trying to play Magic The Gathering.