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
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Time manipulation is almost always cool in games, especially when it’s tied into puzzle design or combat. Lysfanga is the latest game to utilise this mechanic, this time in a Hades-esque isometic hack and slash format, though it quickly distances itself from that resemblance. Rather than the frenetic and fast-paced gameplay of Supergiant’s smash hit, Lysfanga requires a more strategic approach, featuring levels that escalate in complexity as the game develops.
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