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New Hades like Steam game is the perfect answer to Diablo 4 Season 3

If you, like me, have failed to gel with Diablo 4 Season 3, this new Hades style roguelike with a new Steam Next Fest demo is a must.

New Hades like Steam game is the perfect answer to Diablo 4 Season 3: A South East Asian woman with black hair tied back in a long ponytail with a golden tie wearing gold armor runs at the camera with her shield and sword raised

Oh Diablo 4 Season 3, how I wanted to be excited about you. While it was always going to be hard to follow Season 2’s vampiric mechanics, the Season of the Construct has struggled to move the needle at all, with its trap-focused additions and spidery companion failing to enthral me. As a result, I’ve found myself at a little bit of a loss, craving something hacky and slashy to fill the void. Thankfully, new Steam roguelike Lysfanga The Time Shift Warrior has stepped in.

The time lock has broken, the Raxes are free. After a millennium of piece, Antala hangs on the brink of war once more. This is where our Lysfanga The Time Shift Warrior journey begins, amid the ruins of a once-proud Middle Eastern-inspired settlement.

You are Imë, the titular Lysfanga – a powerful, hereditary warrior class. You’ve been called upon by the Qhomera, the Goddess of Time herself, who has tasked you with sending the legions back to whence they came. It’s all sounding a bit like Blizzard’s age-old RPG, isn’t it? Well, that’s why Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior is the perfect way to while away the hours until Diablo 4 Season 4 comes around.

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Lasting only eight hours with dip-in-dip-out style missions, the Diablo undercurrents are strong. Our first venture into Mayura is reminiscent of Diablo 3’s iteration of Caldeum – it’s certainly not as bloodstained as 4’s. I roam through back alleys, abandoned bazaars, and palace grounds, all while listening to the soft yet screeching strings that take me back to Diablo 2’s Rogue Encampment.

When you fast travel, a little blue portal appears, and it looks exactly like the good ol’ town portal you burned so many scrolls on in Diablo 2. There’s hacking, and slashing, and demons, but at the same time, Lysfanga sheds the Diablo cloak and quickly comes into its own.

A woman run towards an ornate golden entrance gate, made with Aztec style architecture

Lysfanga is roguelike game at its core, and borrows clear inspiration from the ever-iconic Hades. There are gods, warriors clad in gold, and magical nemeses to blast your way through. Rooms are timed, there are upgrades – there’s a lot of Hades’ blood in Lysfanga’s veins.

But, the game’s titular ‘time shift’ mechanic is where you see flickers of something new. One of Qhomera’s many gifts is the ability to create temporal copies of yourself (dubbed ‘remnants) that you can use to defeat the hordes. It’s a little hard to explain, but let me use a basic combat scenario as my example.

There are three ‘lanes’ in the first fight: top, middle, and bottom. I choose to attack the top first, then I can use my time shift to jump back in time. From here, my remnant will mirror my previous movements, heading top and decimating foes while I head down to the bottom. Rewind again, defeat the middle foes, and you’ll clear the stage as the last head rolls.

A warrior woman preparing to fight a horde of enemies across three different pathways

Now that’s a relatively easy example: others see you take on shielded enemies, using one clone to lay into their shield while you spawn others to attack it from behind – and that’s just the beginning. My personal favorites are ‘The Twins,’ who you need to kill at the same time, otherwise they’ll heal back up and revive the other. They’re often juxtaposed across two different platforms behind other enemies or walls, meaning that your remnants’ speeds need to line up perfectly to kill them – and that’s about as easy as it sounds when the guts start to fly.

Combat in Lysfanga feels like a carefully constructed dance, whereas in Diablo and Hades you can, realistically, run at mobs and hack them up (of course, bosses and high-tier enemies are different). There’s an element of strategic planning that transcends the basic ‘choose the best power upgrades for your build,’ and that’s what I find so exciting.

A screen providing information on an enemy type called Twins

I’ve played the whole eight hours and, while the story stagnates a little, I’ve had a lot more fun playing Lysfanga than I have any of Diablo 4’s seasonal content (it’s probably on par with the Season of Blood for me). Sure, it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s a fun experience that makes your brain tick, and sometimes that’s all you need.

If you want to take Lysfanga for a spin before committing completely, the game has a new Steam Next Fest demo, which will be available until its official launch on Tuesday, February 13.

There are a whole lot of new demos to check out this week, but if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial we’ve got a list of all the best free Steam games. Or, if you’re looking for more Lysfanga-style action, we have rundown of all the best games like Diablo, too.