The first thing that immediately sticks out with The Swords of Ditto is that it is an extremely gorgeous game with a charming art style. The game looks amazing with its beautiful visuals that seem to be inspired by modern day cartoons like Adventure Time. The animation is gorgeous and the way the open world and characters are animated in the game’s world makes it feel like a living breathing cartoon. It reminds me of Cuphead in this way although both offer vastly different experience.
The Swords of Ditto is an experimental concept that on the surface, looks like your standard dungeon hack-and-slash RPG, but in broader terms, it offers much more than this simple gameplay concept. The Swords of Ditto is a procedurally generated adventure which is a concept that will be hard to grasp at first. The game basically revolves around your experience with the world and how you deal with it. My experience of playing the game might not be the same as yours, because of the difference in execution offered by the game.
In this game, you will assume control of a legendary hero who is only referred by name as The Sword of Ditto. He usually gets summoned once every 100 years to defeat the evil witch Mormo, who is hell bent on destroying this world. Your hero just has 4 days to defeat the evil witch Mormo and save the world. It is the same concept as Majora’s Mask but with the idea that death is not permanent.
The story in the game spans across multiple generations since you won’t be able to defeat Mormo as easily the first time around, it is entirely possible your hero may face defeat and die at her hand. This is the part where the procedural generation element comes into play here. You will be resurrected as a new legendary hero each time after death and only some of the experience and special items will carry over to this new character.
You won’t be just limited to the 4 days as it is possible to extend the time limit or get extra lives by fulfilling certain criteria. It makes the game feel a little more rewarding to explore since the rogue-lite elements often makes it feel like you are making no progress at all. The randomness of the game can often end up its biggest flaw. While it is cool to see how the game manages to change up the story and key locations each time you are defeated, after a certain point, the formula turns stale and you will be able to see a sense of repetition in the game’s world. Add to the fact that there will be a race against time to defeat the witch and it can often result in some frustrating encounters even if the presentation of the game is solid.
The lack of a compelling narrative can hurt the flow of the game. Your objective is to kill the evil witch and you are free to approach this in your own way, but the rest of the side content that is usually presented simply boils down to the standard fetch quests. There was potential here to offer a world that has a lot of interesting things to explore, but it unfortunately never gets realized due to the way this game was designed. Despite looking like a game that is aimed at the kids, the writing in the game is actually done really well. There is a certain charm to the story and the humor presented here works well in the context of the story.
The combat pays homage to the classic 2D Zelda games. Aside from your standard attack and dodge buttons, you will be able to equip certain special items or weapons that can be used in combat. Some of them will have limited use so you have to use them with care. The combat doesn’t really offer anything special here, it is fairly basic and gets the job done. The enemy design is honestly great but once you are defeated and have to repeat through the story portion again, you will be seeing most of the same enemies at a higher level so learning to exploit their weakness can become essential later in the game.
It is hard to not admire the ambitions of the developers. They might have not created an original game but the work that they have done here in creating this procedurally generated world, offering one of the most amazing visuals for an indie game that pretty much nails the look of modern day cartoons, and making sure that there is a lot of replay value for those who do spend a considerable amount of time, is nothing short of amazing. Another thing that took me with surprise was how there was support for a higher resolution if you are playing this game on PS4 Pro. The game can render at 1080p or 1440p that can be simply toggled from the options menu. From what I could tell, the latter option will show you more elements on the screen and hence it is the recommended way to play if you are gaming on a 4K screen.
The Swords of Ditto Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: The Swords of Ditto is a roguelite action RPG that creates a unique adventure for each new hero of legend in the relentless fight against the evil Mormo.
The Swords of Ditto is visually stunning rogue-lite RPG featuring a procedurally generated world. The experience of seeing the game through its multiple iterations ends up being a double edged sword. If you can ignore the randomness of the world, there is a lot to enjoy here.