The world is on the brink of destruction when the evil witch, Mormo, unleashes a curse upon the land of Ditto, prompting the hero of legend, the Sword, to vanquish her magic spell by completing dungeons, gathering items, and ultimately defeating the dastardly Mormo herself. Sound familiar? The Swords of Ditto draws heavy inspiration from Nintendo’s flagship adventure series, The Legend of Zelda, particularly with its emphasis on gathering unique tools or toys in order to overcome the challenges the nameless hero will face.
But then the game throws you a curveball. You’re wandering through a dungeon and a monster bests you in combat and you bite the dust, prompting a giant cosmic whale to let you know that the next Sword will carry on your heroic adventure… 100 years later.
That’s when The Swords of Ditto shows its unique rogue-lite adventure gameplay with RPG elements mixed in for good measure. The hero’s sword will level up and get stronger with every monster defeated essentially passing on the last hero’s progress, but all of the items collected in your previous playthrough won’t carry over (you do have an option to bring a few items over to your next hero for a price, but not everything).
Every time the hero dies means that Mormo’s curse lasts another 100 years, thrusting even more chaos onto the land of Ditto, causing enemies to become increasingly stronger. Personally, I loved seeing how the world changed each time I died on my quest. Ditto would get progressively darker and more apocalyptic every time I failed to successfully defeat Mormo.
But with dying also comes the unwelcomed and tedious grind of redoing everything I just did, sometimes spanning a few hours of gameplay. The map of Ditto is quite large with many secrets hidden throughout and the hero will unfortunately have to rediscover all of it again and again forcing you into an unnecessary grind. Much of my time in Swords of Ditto was spent just walking through the world after every time I died in order to complete my map again.
It doesn’t help that the hero’s walking speed is painfully slow with no run button. I always felt like I just wanted my character to get with the program and put a little pep in his step so I could get onto defeating Mormo. This coupled with some fairly slow loading screens between every dungeon room and overworld area made the game all that much more tedious and grindy. As the in-game clock is always ticking and you’ll be forced to face Mormo on the final day whether you’re ready or not (about three or so hours of real time), it’s a little frustrating when your hero just won’t walk a bit faster. Because you’re being timed it also means that players like me who want to do every side quest and explore all there is to see will ultimately be cut short.
In combat The Swords of Ditto feels like a carbon copy of any top-down Zelda game, although it has a surprising amount of depth with the option to equip stickers, which act as the game’s form of armor. These also give your hero special abilities in battle, such as (my personal favorite) leaving a trail of fire whenever I dodge rolled. There are plenty of stickers to find throughout Ditto, giving the player loads of options when preparing strategies for battle and ensuring everyone’s playthrough is unique.
The bulk of your time in The Swords of Ditto will have you exploring the world, leveling up your sword, and traversing dungeons in order to find special toys that will help you on your quest. Some of these are pretty standard, like the bow and arrow and bombs. Others were a bit more unique, such as the radio controlled drone. These items will help you solve the dungeons, but just don’t expect any brain busting puzzles.
I was a little disappointed with the boss battles in this game as they were randomly generated, meaning there wasn’t any clever way to defeat them. I even fought the same boss for three separate dungeons, making an already repetitive game that much more of a grind.
The Swords of Ditto boasts an amazing cartoon art style that looks like it was made to be on Cartoon Network alongside Adventure Time and Stephen Universe. I’m a huge Adventure Time fan and I could definitely see that this game drew heavy inspiration from animations like it. Most of the time I was playing I kept taking screenshots because I couldn’t get over how beautiful the art style was. It really looked like I was playing a cartoon with the incredible attention to detail that Onebitbeyond put into it. The art style might make it seem like the game is made for children but there are plenty of PG to PG-13 humorous lines and jokes thrown in to keep players of all ages laughing and enjoying the game throughout the roughly ten hour story.
Accompanying the animated art style are retro inspired music tracks that really feed into the whole cartoon atmosphere. It’s not anything that will leave the player humming along after completing the story, but it set the mood all the same.
Underneath its charming cartoon exterior, The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse offers an awesome rogue-lite adventure that ultimately hits all the high notes, but not without a few hiccups along the way. If you can get over the grind of restarting your adventure more than a few times then you’ll find a game that every old school Zelda and cartoon fan will fall in love with.
The Swords Of Ditto: Mormo's Curse Review
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Wrapped up in beautiful cartoon package, The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse delivers a solid, albeit tedious, adventure game that looks and sounds great on the Nintendo Switch. Bonus: you can play as a dog with a straw hat!