It’s clear from the getgo that indie game The Swords of Ditto draws a lot of inspiration from popular cartoon series like Adventure Time, Over The Garden Wall, and more quirky shows with a big emphasis on the adventure. It never truly reaches great heights as others in the action-adventure genre, but The Swords of Ditto sets itself apart from other games in a few unique ways.
The Swords of Ditto is set on the island of Ditto, a place that has succumbed to an endless curse that was cast by an evil witch named Mormo. As the Ditto, your role is to defeat Mormo so that the island of Ditto and its inhabitants may enjoy 100 years of peace. The landscape on Ditto will change depending on whether or not your hero succeeds in their quest.
With that in mind, The Swords of Ditto is meant to be played over and over again. You’ll be able to immediately notice changes throughout the world based on your past actions as a previous Ditto. You’ve got one life with each unique character, so it’s vital that you manage your inventory and keep an eye on your health bar throughout the game. One slip up could mean you’ll have to start your adventure over again from the beginning.
This mechanic is where I found my biggest issue with The Swords of Ditto; after a couple of playthroughs on the game’s higher difficulty, things can begin to get a bit repetitive. While I understand what the developers were going for with this mechanic, I felt that the overall changes weren’t significant enough to make any playthrough feel unique from the last outside of your character’s aesthetic and equipment. That’s not to say this mechanic fails in every aspect, earlier on in the game it’s pretty cool seeing the world react to my past Ditto’s actions. After a good amount of playthroughs on the game’s higher difficulty, I had to turn it down a notch for the sake of making any progress that felt significant.
Progress can be anything that the player wants, and there are a few different routes you can take once your quest begins. There are a good amount of unique NPCs to find in the world that will offer you a slew of benefits in your fight against Mormo. NPCs in the game’s central town will offer your sidequests that give a ton of XP, and there are tons of rewards to find for those who are the more explorative type. The NPCs that are spread throughout the world are fun and add a lot more personality to the game as a whole.
My main issue was with the dungeons on the island of Ditto. While they feel unique for a while, they began to lose their charm after a few playthroughs. The inside of each dungeon will change with each passing Ditto, but the aesthetic remains the same, or only saw slight variations. It just becomes a bit monotonous after a while, and I began to get tired of going through the short intro sequence over and over again only to have my Ditto die an hour or two later and have to start the process all over again.
I do have to say that once I was more knowledgeable on some of the attack patterns of late-game bosses and enemies, I was able to beat the main game with ease. Also, I should mention that there is a bit of a more profound plot to be found in The Swords of Ditto if players are willing to put in the time. If that sounds more your fancy, I’d still recommend taking the title in short bursts as opposed to trying to push through it all at once.
As bleak as I might make things sound, there are a lot of things I liked about The Swords of Ditto. First and foremost the game’s art style is something special. While it takes inspiration from other bodies of work, the overall aesthetic is unique enough where I feel like I would be able to point this game out if I ever needed to. But you can’t have a game with an aesthetic as charming as this without an equally charming soundtrack, and in that regard, The Swords of Ditto does not disappoint. It’s these qualities that initially peaked my interest in this title and fans of popular cartoons should get a kick out of The Swords of Ditto.
This game at its core is very Zelda-like, and that’s not a bad thing. I do feel like the combat can be a little wonky at times, mostly because hitboxes against certain characters can feel a bit weird. I couldn’t say if this is just a personal gripe, but I’ve played a lot of titles with combat mechanics similar to this game, and a lot of them do it better. It’s not terrible combat at all, but I felt it could’ve been a bit fairer.
Another thing that makes The Swords of Ditto unique is its toys and stickers. Stickers act as the game’s primary equipment, while your character will never pick up any items that will change them visually, stickers offer various buffs that you can mix and match to find the perfect combinations. Toys on the other hands act as items and tools that can be used in different ways to solve puzzles and fight enemies. For example, you can get a giant golf club that’ll knock enemies away from you or a vinyl record that you can throw to hit enemies multiple times.
While these aren’t conventional tools or equipment, they’re unique and add a lot more character to a game that could’ve easily been very generic. Toys and Stickers are the best way to personalize your style. Leveling up in The Swords of Ditto only gives you HP and damage upgrades, but enemies level with you so overall damage can feel a bit fruitless.
The Swords of Ditto also offers players couch co-op, and while this doesn’t add much more to the overall game, it’s always a good time to be able to jump into the game with a friend. Because the main quest can be completed rather quickly, the addition of co-op makes this a great game to drop into when you have someone over, or if you have a kid or somebody who might not be great at video games.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the action-adventure genre or you want to pick this game up for a child, I think anyone can have a good time in The Swords of Ditto. While I found some faults during my journey throughout Ditto, there’s no doubt the developers have created a fully realized, albeit small, world. If you’re looking for your next couch co-op game or something that’s easy to jump into for an hour or two, give The Swords of Ditto a try.