Review – The Swords of Ditto

Let’s be honest, the overabundance of roguelike titles in the current indie gaming scene is quite exhaustive. It’s as if you can’t stay a week without hearing the announcement of yet another retro-styled game with procedurally generated worlds and pretty much no plot at all. I can’t say I don’t like a good chunk of them, they’re good games after all, but very few of them bring something actually new to the table. Thankfully, Devolver Digital’s brand new release, The Swords of Ditto, is one of them. This is one hell of a good little game.


Smiling for the camera

The first thing you’ll notice when booting The Swords of Ditto up for the first time is how gorgeous it looks. Think of A Link to the Past, if A Link to the Past was a cartoon being aired right now on Cartoon Network, with an equally delightful “clever enough to look innocent” sense of humor. Every single character, bush, house, enemy, animation, everything feels like a cartoon, not a game. You’ll quickly notice the soundtrack is equally satisfying as well. The Swords of Ditto‘s artistic department really knocks it out of the park.

Its visuals may look like they’re the game’s main selling point, but that’s actually the gameplay. Sure, it plays just like your typical 2D Zelda, with a similar combat system, items such as bombs and torches, dungeons filled with clever puzzles, fetch quests, shops, cutting tall grass in order to earn some money, among other similarities. Not only that, but I was also expecting The Swords of Ditto to be more focused on an arcade-ish aesthetic, something pretty common among roguelikes. Yes, the game features roguelike elements. I just didn’t know how actually well-implemented they would turn out to be.


Burning down large patches of grass is so dumb yet so enjoyable

You see, the roguelike aesthetic of a constantly changing world is masterfully well-implemented. Your character has four days to prepare him or herself to battle against an evil witch. Whether you win or you lose, your story with said character will end, and the game will jump 100 years in the future, with a brand new character, a redesigned map and a butterfly effect of sorts, based on your previous character’s past deeds. People might remember fondly of the land’s last hero. The new world might be a shiny happy place or a world in shambles. During each run, you’ll have the chance of acquiring certain ancient tablets that contain small hints detailing the background story of the land of Ditto, and the reasons behind its curse. This roguelike is a lot deeper than it looks.


I’ve been praising this game non-stop so far, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its issues, albeit small. As previously mentioned, the combat is a bit slower than your average Zelda. If you’re used to quickly mashing the sword button in order to get rid of a skirmish as soon as possible, you might get a bit frustrated with your character’s slow sword swings. Furthermore, the game also suffers with some occasional framerate hiccups, especially when there are lots of enemies onscreen or when there’s just too much action in general happening onscreen. One of my favorite things to do in the game, as stupid as it sounds, was to set large patches of tall grass on fire and see them slowly burn to a crisp. It did make the framerate suffer a bit, but oh boy was it nonsensically delightful. Did those issues severely hinder my overall enjoyment with the game, however? Absolutely not, I still had a blast from start to finish.


By the power of Greysk… oh wait, wrong cartoon

The Swords of Ditto is one of the best indie games I’ve played in 2018 so far. It beautifully mixes what you like the most from Zelda games with the best elements from roguelike titles, all while providing downright adorable visuals and enough jokes and clever puns to make you smile during your entire playthrough. While I wish I had played this on a portable system like the Switch, I can’t complain about it that much. Definitely check this one out.

Graphics: 9.0

The impressive cartoonish art style is downright adorable, even though it’s occasionally hindered by some framerate hiccups.

Gameplay: 8.5

A slightly slower-paced version of your typical (and functional) A Link to the Past control scheme. Just like the graphics, it’s occasionally hindered by the framerate.

Sound: 8.5

A very good soundtrack coupled with some cartoonish sound effects that should actually sound irritating, but become a bit comical due to the game’s humorous nature.

Fun Factor: 9.0

Mixing The Legend of Zelda with roguelike elements and covering it up with a delicious sauce comprised of great cartoon visuals and a fantastic sense of humor is just great.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Reviewed on PC.
Also available on: PS4.

A copy of The Swords of Ditto was provided by the publisher.