The moment when I realized that I love The Swords of Ditto was when I was reincarnated as a frog.
The Swords of Ditto is a very cute PC and PS4 game about a warrior of legend that is selected to defeat the evil sorceress Mormo every 100 years. The town they’re protecting varies from life to life—sometimes it’s Dittoville, other times Dittocester—but in each incarnation they reclaim the mantle of the Sword of Ditto and go off on their quest of defeating Marmo in four days’ time. When you die, your new character wakes up in a house a hundred years later and sets out to save the town. You retain the power level of your previous character and some collected items, so you’re not restarting from square one. With each new life, the map of the town and surrounding areas changes. It’s all done from a top-down perspective and involves using a sword and a torch and, well, it plays like a roguelike version of the first Legend of Zelda. There are dungeons to explore, legendary weapons to find and coins hidden in nearly every bush.
This game is so visually adorable it almost gave me a stomach ache. It’s like someone took a pitch for a very fun Cartoon Network show and made a game out of it instead. There’s a springiness to every animation, and personality packed in every corner. Each time you go to a new area you meet your new monsters, like a pile of flying skulls, a mad rock or a fire-slinging wizard, each with a memorable, unique bark when you wack them with your sword. Equally unique are the designs of the characters you’ll play as. I’ve died three or four times so far, and no two of my Swords of Ditto have looked alike. There’s a huge combination of hair styles, colors and skin tones. There are also some cool non-human character designs like, yes, this amazing frog friend that I’m now playing:
It’s fun enough to explore the world and re-learn the map each generation, but the real treat are the Toy Dungeons. The weapons you equip are called Toys—this is a very kid-friendly game—and you can find Toys of Legend in dungeons full of puzzle rooms. They’re just challenging enough that you need to turn your brain on to finish them, but not so hard that I couldn’t figure them out. Most of them involve flipping switches that change the environment of the room slightly, pressing down buttons to open doors and putting crystals in the correct place in order to keep the door open. You doing that while avoiding some annoying enemies, which keeps you on your toes. This seems like an ideal game to play with a younger kid who’s interested in playing with you, where you chat out loud about puzzle solutions or have one player keep the enemies away while the other does flips switches. It’s got drop in co-op, so if you wanted to take on a dungeon with your kid, your baby-sitee, or even just a buddy, it’s easy to do so.
The Swords of Ditto has a bright spirit that makes me want to spend time in its world. It’s imbued with a sense of adventure. As much as I want to take on Mormo, I’m afraid I’ll be sad when the game ends. With each new life and new map, I get the chance to rediscover the hamlet of Ditto again, to meet new challenges and overcome them. If I don’t rise to the challenge, I’ll get another chance next century. I kinda hope I get to defeat Mormo as a frog, though. It’d be a fittingly cute ending for an nigh-unbearably cute game.