The Swords of Ditto Review
Everyone wants to be the hero, to take up arms against evil, to strike down injustice and save the land. It’s a central goal in almost every game out there, but what if your destiny was to battle evil over and over and over again? What if you didn’t always win like the hero you thought you were? Developed by onebitbeyond, the Swords of Ditto is one of those rare instances of a game taking the best parts of other experiences and seamlessly blending them into an entirely unique outing that I simply couldn’t stop playing.
Billed as a compact RPG, The Swords of Ditto doesn’t take itself too seriously, instead relying on a combination of adorable, clichéd dialogue and the child-like nostalgia of Saturday morning cartoons to deliver its quirky plot: the evil Mormo is destined to battle the Sword of Ditto, the prophesized hero, every 100 years. Should you win, the people of Ditto will be happy and prosper, but should you fall at any point in the game, Mormo will succeed and plunge the world into darkness for another 100 years. Ditto offers three difficulty settings of which the biggest difference is how much time the game gives you before the climactic battle: on hard you’ll have three days, on medium five, and on easy seven. Given the average adventurers lust to explore, I heartily recommend playing on easy just for the extra time to explore Ditto and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
While coming out the victor doesn’t seem like it will be a problem, the enemies can be deceptively difficult to combat, particularly when facing off against many at one time. You’ll need to learn their attack patterns and weaknesses through trial and error, as well as how best to utilize the dodge roll mechanic, as the Sword does not get any means of blocking or deflecting attacks. Taking its vibrant aesthetic and gameplay style from classics such as Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the Sword is able to unlock and upgrade toys of legend in their quest to stop evil. Much like the gear Link would discover, the Sword can find a number of toys including but not limited to a drone, a laser pointer, a vinyl record to be thrown like a boomerang, a golf club, and so much more. Each one has its own advantages which can be monumentally helpful.
A Wonderfully Unique Experience
Not only can toys be upgraded to be more powerful or imbued with elemental effects, but you’ll discover stickers on your journey to be placed on your sword, torso, head, and arms which will add even more buffs and abilities. By the time you are ready to face off against Mormo – provided you have filled the available sticker slots – you’ll find yourself feeling like a real defender of the people compared to when you began your quest with just a sword. Your experience carries over each time you meet your end, whether at the hands of Mormo or old age, so you’ll continually get stronger and stronger as your knowledge and prowess is imbued into the wielder of the sword.
The time mechanic of the game is one of its most interesting, as – at its best – the people of Ditto are relatively care-free, often discussing yoga, health foods, or other mundane problems. Should you die, however, and Mormo rules for 100 years, the town will be reconfigured, renamed, and buildings will start to show wear and tear from monster attacks. The people become frightened but remain positive. I died three times in a row and the state of Ditto and its inhabitants became worse and worse: windows were smashed, buildings were in complete disrepair, all hope was lost for several citizens and some even worshiped Mormo as a god. In fact, when preparing for the final encounter some citizens will offer you supplies to help, but if the land is too far gone they might just scoff at you and turn their backs.
Cute and Complex
Despite being billed as a compact RPG, Swords of Ditto has a much larger overarching narrative that can be revealed through randomly discovered messages of the past. While the game may have a cutesy nature, there is an entirely complex mythology of gods, magic, and a fallen society at play, with the personifications of Fate and Serendipity being the two constant forces in the universe. While exploring the procedurally generated world you will undoubtedly come across the spring of Serendipity, a pond in which – should you activate it in this lifetime – you can commune with the goddess to try and break free of the bonds of the time limit imposed upon you.
I have poured dozens of hours into Swords of Ditto, and due to its procedurally generated nature there is still much left for me to learn, discover, and unlock. With its familiar combat, classic puzzle-infused dungeons, eye-catching art style, and fantastically memorable audio, the only problem I encountered with Swords of Ditto came in its framerate if multiple enemies were on screen at any given time. Even then, it wasn’t game breaking, just a bit of lag. With so much to see and do, Swords of Ditto is a heart-warming adventure I simply can’t get enough of. Onto the next adventure!
**PC code provided by the publisher**
- Stellar 100 Year Cycle Mechanic
- Familiar Gameplay
- Great Humor
- Fantastic RPG Elements
- Occasional Lag
- Minor Repetition