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Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior Handheld Experience

Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior Handheld Experience

Sand Door Studio's Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is a puzzle-action title that fuses two genres to create an avant-garde approach to the gameplay. While we've already reviewed the game in its entirety, this article will be a critical look at its elements and gameplay aspects when played through our household handheld device — the ROG Ally.

The first thing that's worth mentioning is what you'll be doing throughout your journey as a Lysfanga since everyone uses their handheld devices for distinct types of games. As you venture out into the world of Mayura to find out why the city's time (which had been stopped after a war broke out) has begun flowing once again, you'll advance through the experience playing as Imë. She (the titular Lysfanga, a born warrior to protect the kingdom), is a descendant of the goddess of time, Qhomera, and acquired the ability to create Remnants.

Thenceforth, the narrative unfolds as you follow your twin brother, Kehör, into the heart of the city. With the power of the Remnants, you'll fight back the Raxes as you venture into the world, use your powers of time control, and become a one-person army. Every new encounter is a time puzzle waiting to be solved as you fight through the same battlefield, and each time you reset time, a shadow of your actions advances, slaying everything you did in your previous runs.

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As a title already built with a controller in mind, it's safe to say that Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior works great out of the box. Booting up the experience, the embedded controls on the ROG Ally are recognised instantaneously, giving you the possibility to jump in without having to worry.

There is quite a bit of dialogue, which I know has been a niggle many with handheld devices have had due to low resolutions and tiny text. Thankfully, the entire narrative is voice-acted (aside from the optional codex entries), and the text is rather large, giving you the possibility to read alongside their voiceover, too. It's not shoddy, either — the performance from the various actors is solid and lively, meaning that you'll spend most of your time listening to what they say rather than reading through it.

As you start fighting, the controls are snappy and the bindings comfortable — there is no need to take advantage of additional buttons found in the handhelds to make up for crappy mapping. You'll barely use the shoulder buttons aside for rewinding time purposefully (left trigger) or using a Goddess Power you unlock later on in the game (right trigger); as someone who doesn't overly love the triggers in the ROG Ally, this was welcome.

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However, the first problem becomes apparent when you start exploring. The seven-inch screen that the ROG Ally sports may be great for 3D and closer angles, but the isometric perspective of Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior means the screen can be a bit far at times. Though this isn't a major hurdle to bypass, exploration felt far more comfortable on bigger screens (like on my PC) because the optional Motes of Magic and tiny level intricacies were more visible.

It doesn't get in the way of the experience much — there are some times I found myself getting stuck against stalagmites or missing a small gap I had to dash over, but it never felt unplayable. Meanwhile, world exploration wasn't all that bad, as Mayura isn't so large that missing the collectibles is catastrophic, and they're optional and cosmetic, regardless.

I did find another hurdle in the performance — my ROG Ally stuttered consistently and dropped below 45 frames when running the game at 720p resolution in the Turbo performance mode. With it being a fast-paced title where you have a few lives before you're forced to change to your next Remnant, the performance drops made it difficult to play the harder levels that required more precision.

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Those used to playing at 30 FPS should be able to handle it just fine; in addition, 60 FPS was achievable by reducing the graphics to low, and then it played perfectly. It's not ideal, but the graphic difference in the seven-inch display was minimal, meaning that it wasn't a sacrifice I was unwilling to make.

Once you've gotten past the two minor hurdles, however, Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is a great experience on the ROG Ally, and that's thanks to the way it's developed. Every encounter is a puzzle to face and complete; these usually last about a minute in the later stages and far less in the early game. It is an excellent title to pick up and play for a short while with reliable auto-save spots, which meant that I didn't have to feel uncomfortable booting it momentarily whenever I had a bit of downtime.

Due to its short-burst gameplay elements, it offers the capability to pick up and play whenever you want without having to over-commit for an extended period. I might argue that, in part, Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is best enjoyed in shorter bursts to avoid burning through the otherwise relatively short experience; it works perfectly for a handheld device.

I can definitely recommend playing Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior on a handheld device if that is your main go-to or you are searching for something to enjoy. Though there are things I appreciated more on my PC, such as the world design and exploration elements, these are common sacrifices you'd make when making the switch. Meanwhile, few games offer the pick-up-and-play style that excels in handheld devices for short gameplay sessions, and this one perfectly fits the bill.

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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