Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior Preview

Lysfanga may look like an action game, but it's a far more cerebral, tactical puzzle game underneath the surface -- and we can't wait to see more.

Published: June 17, 2023 11:45 AM /

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The key art for Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior

At Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest, Quantic Dream’s Spotlight label revealed Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior. The second I saw it, I knew I had to check it out, and luckily, it was at Play Days, where I got to play a preview build. I’m excited to say that so far, it doesn’t meet my expectations – it blew them out of the water.

In Lysfanga, you play as Imë, the protector of the realm who has time-shifting powers. While it might look a lot like a hack-and-slasher, it’s really more of a tactical puzzle game. Instead of thinking with portals though, you think with time clones. It sounds deceptively simple, but it quickly gets complicated.

A state in Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior

When you enter a new arena, you get a chance to survey the whole battlefield. You only have a handful of seconds to clear it of enemies, but every time you run out of time (or hit a button), you bank up a clone that does what you just did. Then you start over again, knowing your clone will take care of whatever you did previously. Again, deceptively simple.

But then Lysfanga introduces some complexities, like twin enemies. These linked foes have to be killed within a couple seconds of each other or else they respawn. Imë can’t do it alone, but if you kill one on the first round, then it’s all about timing your second round just right. Then there are shield enemies, which need to be distracted by one clone so another can defeat it from behind.

A shielded enemy in Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior

The stages themselves also have some obstacles you have to think about. For example, you’ll see two colored gates throughout a stage, and one color is closed up. When you pass through the other color, they swap, closing one way while opening another. Now, you have to think about the bigger picture, juggling how many of your clones are out there and which colored gates they go through. 

Other gates can only be opened by destroying a certain crystal. Of course, if that crystal is behind a short maze of colored gates, that’s when you sort of have to reverse engineer the solution. Sometimes, you have to burn a quick clone that makes a beeline to a crystal, just to enable your copies to complete the rest of the stage. 

What I appreciate most in Lysfanga is that it reframes the way combat feels and works.

It’s conundrums like that, while juggling everything else, that makes Lysfanga such a pleasant surprise. It’s more than what it looks like on the surface, and figuring out a solution is so satisfying. While I didn’t have time to be perfectly happy with the way I finished some stages, if I had more time, I would absolutely keep re-running a few stages for a better performance. 

Each stage has a limited number of clones, so you can’t just spam your rewind powers. Furthermore, there’s a time-attack mechanic that encourages multiple retries so you can finish a stage as quickly as possible. Whenever you complete a stage under a certain time, you gain more resources, so it’s likely worth doing in the full build to upgrade the different weapons you’ll get.

A time-attack challenge in Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior

What I appreciate most in Lysfanga is that it reframes the way combat feels and works. It’s all about cooperating with yourself, creating a finely choreographed symphony of action. You can even tag enemies with copy number one, and when copy two hits them, it does massive damage. But the end goal is still figuring out how to defeat every enemy in a stage, slipping past obstacles in the most efficient way possible. 

Sure, Lysfanga looks like an action game, but it's a far more cerebral game underneath the surface. You’re not mastering combos or timing the perfect parry here. It’s more about using your time wisely and figuring out the best ways to make the dominoes fall. And I can’t wait see what the rest of the game looks like when it launches later this year on Steam and Epic Games Store. 

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior was previewed at Summer Game Fest Play Days. Screenshots were provided by Sand Door Studio.

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Robert Scarpinito TechRaptor
| Features Editor

Robert Scarpinito is the Features Editor of TechRaptor. With a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the Ohio State University, sharing compelling stories is… More about Robert