The Swords of Ditto was a big sleeper hit for me last year. It came out of nowhere at a local event and totally blew me away with its loving homage to A Link to the Past, and at the same time, bringing in something fresh to the indie scene. Cutely disguised as a cartoony game that should by all accounts only appeal to little kids, thanks to its Cartoon Network-ish art style, its depth is shockingly deep, and after only a couple of runs I was completely drawn in. It made sense then that the game would eventually make its way to the Switch, and now, a few months since its release, we get an updated version called The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse, which includes a few new additions that are also being patched in for free into existing versions of the game.
The main goal of The Swords of Ditto is making it to Mormo, the ultimate evil in the world who comes back to life every 100 years, and defeat her. You can pretty much go and attempt that right away after just starting a save, but that isn’t the best approach, since she’ll be at her strongest form. It’s a lot like the latest Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, you’re actually supposed to explore the world, gather new equipment — which in the case of Ditto these are called toys — and defeat bosses in order to weaken the final boss, leveling up your sword on the way. The catch is that every time you bite it, 100 years pass until a new Sword is born, and the entire world is rearranged, changing locations of pick-ups and dungeons, making each run quite unique.
You could call it a roguelike and get away with it for the original release, since permadeath was the big thing in the game, since with every death, you basically lost all of your loot and currencies, but the Mormo’s Curse update eases that somewhat by allowing you to level up an emblem which can then be used at the start of a new game in order to carry over some of your powers for a particular character sprite. There are a handful of those to pick from, each with their own stats and starting equipment, so you can experiment and improve them in repeated runs, a neat little gimmick that at first doesn’t seem that big of a deal, but changed the way I approached the game. For the number of attempts that I threw in for this review, I took more risks playing, and thanks to that, I had a lot more fun because I wasn’t too worried about losing progress, something that for as great as the original version was, always loomed over every run.
Developer onebitbeyond has done an excellent job revising The Swords of Ditto over the months since its original release, and with Mormo’s Curse, I believe they found a great balance that should provide enough of a challenge to those looking for it while at the same time making the game a whole lot more approachable to people like me who can appreciate a Zelda-like experience, but want a more easygoing adventure. There are a few different difficulty options that should accommodate those playstyles well, even including one setting that comes very close to the difficulty of the original version. It’s also worth pointing out that there are a lot of new environments to explore that are thrown in randomly with each world that you start out, like a Wild West zone, and an rundown more urban title set that blended in really well with the monster designs.
The only real drawback that I ran into while playing the Switch version were the long load times that pop up when booting the game from the system menu, the transitions between screens, be it coming in and out of buildings or dungeons, or just navigating through the game. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s slightly annoying. Hopefully there will be a patch that’ll address this issue since it’s not present in any of the other versions of the game that I’ve played.
Everything else about The Swords of Ditto on the Switch is fantastic, though. The flat-shaded graphics look absolutely gorgeous while playing in portable mode, and the controls work well on the limited button scheme that the Switch offers, even when playing in co-op mode locally. In that mode, the only drawback is that both players have to tick to the same screen while moving since the game lacks any sort of break away like in say, Divinity: Original Sin. It’s a minor gripe that’s more than made up for the fact that the game is so fun. If you haven’t given The Swords of Ditto a go before, this update should be more than enough reason to do so as soon as you can.