The Swords of Ditto tasks you with defeating the evil Mormo, who has been reigning over the town for the last 100 years. From a single screenshot, it's clear to see that the developers draw inspiration from the SNES classic - The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (and Majora's Mask, but more on this later).
Instead of smooth pixelated graphics, The Swords of Ditto settled for a sleek cartoon-y visual style. This is not the ugly cartoon graphics we've seen in recent remakes, no, this is some colorful, well-made cartoon graphics. The game also contains rogue-like elements. When your hero dies, time advances 100 years and a new, completely random hero, is called upon to be the new Sword of Ditto. During this 100-year time jump, the town's layout changes and so does the geography. This and the fact that you play as a new hero everytime you die, makes the rogue-like elements feel more at home and natural.
Although the story isn't massively complicated, the combat, at least, is pretty solid and fun. Your Sword (your hero) can equip 4 items, which you can assign to the D-pad of your controller. These items can be anything from bombs, a knock-off NERF gun, a bow, a giant foot that crushes enemies or even a transformation into the black-suit Power Ranger. These items drop in dungeons and can be bought at the local shops. Other than the above-mentioned items, you can equip stickers to your character. These stickers are essential gear. Some boost your sword damage, and some make you regenerate health during the day. It's an age-old system with a cute new name.
I know the words "rogue-like" can put off a lot of potential players, but rest assured, The Swords of Ditto is not nearly as punishing as most rogue-like games out there. Sure, when you die, you lose your current character, but experience points and money is automatically transferred to your new hero. Later in the game, you gain the ability to transfer some of your toys (weapons), stickers, and other items.
The game clearly took inspiration from the Zelda games - if only it also took inspiration from the puzzles in the Zelda games. The maps are not procedurally-generated, instead, it's hand-crafted pieces that gets reshuffled everytime you die. The maps are beautiful but the puzzles within those maps are pretty simple. Don't expect to rack your brain over these puzzles, they mostly consist of the standard switch-pressing and key obtaining sequences from yesteryear. With the game hitting all the right notes, I was really disappointed in the blandness of the puzzles.
Something that is worth mentioning is the ultra-catchy song that plays when you fast travel between locations. To fast travel, you summon a magical bus with a Kazoo. The short song that plays while the travel animation is in process is just so damn catchy. Even after putting the game down, I can still hear the song in my head (and will probably still hear it for weeks to come).
The Swords of Ditto also contains one of those "great on paper, poor in execution" ideas. There is a time limit that pushes towards the final confrontation. It doesn't matter where you are in the game, once your time runs out, you will be forced to face the final dungeon and fight your way to the final boss. Sure, this idea probably seemed great on paper, and it should build tension within the player, but it falls flat. Instead of building tension, it creates an environment where you are almost too scared to take your time and explore the beautiful game. Much later in the game, you do get the chance to extend the time limit but this too becomes a chore instead of a relief.
The game does feature a local co-op mode that is becoming rarer in today's gaming scape. While playing with a friend, enemies become tougher and health needs to be shared between players. With this, loot drops more frequently and drops are more useful.
The Swords of Ditto is a few decisions away from being something truly great. Drawing inspiration from A Link to the Past and Majora's Mask, the game could have been a special game, but in truth, falls short of greatness due to an unnecessary time limit and boring puzzles.
Kingdom Hearts devotee, From Software fanboy and aspiring Audiophile (the good kind that believes in FLAC files). Vincent enjoys writing about games almost as much as playing them.
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