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‘The Swords of Ditto’: Our First Take

'The Swords of Ditto' crams the entire 'Zelda' franchise into a single game

the swords of ditto review swordsofditto1
‘The Swords of Ditto’: Our First Take
“'The Swords of Ditto' is a promising rogue-lite that weaves victory and death into a single epic tale.”
  • Charming graphics
  • Great co-op play
  • Lots of enemies to smite
  • Entertaining and unusual gadgets
  • More difficult than it looks
  • Simple story

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an incredible game, and is sure to prove hugely influential. Yet it’s not a game that can be approached casually. Its massive commitment demands at least forty hours of the player’s time, and that time must be spent alone, as there’s no co-op or multiplayer available.

The Swords of Ditto, developer Onebitbeyond’s debut game, feels like a direct response to that isolation. It tells a tale that’s broken into smaller, more approachable chunks, which it achieves through an unexpected approach – expanding the scope. This isn’t a game about one hero’s fight against an incarnation of evil. It’s about a lineage of heroism rising to fight against evil time and time again. Oh – and you can bring a friend, thanks to drop-in co-op.

Heavy concepts, light touch

Though the story sounds dark, The Swords of Ditto takes a light-hearted approach that’s instantly conveyed by its style. Its world is bright and cartoonish, even when it’s pummeling you to death. While the look isn’t entirely unique, it does stand out against the hoard of pixel-art indies currently available or in development, and its executed well. Animations look superb and the bright color palette can alert you to danger.

Swords is a “rogue-lite”; death is permanent, and monsters are unforgiving.

And there’s plenty of danger. Swords is a “rogue-lite,” which means death is permanent, and monsters are unforgiving. However, dying doesn’t mean you start from scratch. The essence of your hero, which inhabits many people throughout the game, progresses from era to era. Defeating the evil means victory for the good guys, and the randomly-generated world will progress through a golden age until you (and the ancient evil) awaken again. If you die, evil wins, and the world falls into an age of darkness.

Your success or failure is most heavily felt in the island of Ditto’s largest village. As the world progresses, so too will the village – or not, if you fail repeatedly. The town can only thrive if evil is defeated. You’ll also receive experience as you play, so failure doesn’t completely stall the game. Banishing evil forever is the ultimate goal, though developer declined to tease how that happens, or how long it will take.

Prepare to die

It’s good that player experience is retained between games, because you’re going to die, and most players will die a lot. We saw an impressive variety of enemies in our demo, which lasted about 15 minutes, and most offered a quick death the moment we let down our guard.

Every enemy has its own gimmick. Foes that look like rocks can’t be hurt directly, but will stun themselves after an attack. Poison blobs are invulnerable to all except fire. Skeletons with shields can’t be attacked hands-on. We over a half-dozen enemies in our short demo including one big, furry boss.

The combat, like the setting, feels inspired by Breath of the Wild. The environment and enemies are subject to three different elements; poison, fire, and etherium — a sort of magic ice. Objects that you’d expect to be flammable will catch fire, and poison can propagate to various enemies (or allies) over an area. The environment is not as dynamic as the last Zelda, but it offers a similar sense of discovery.

Gadgets often react to game’s elements and lead to surprising tactics.

That’s aided by the game’s many gadgets, which are found at random throughout the world. They can range from something simple, like a torch, to something bizarre, light a giant foot that comes crashing out of the sky to stomp opponents. Gadgets often react to game’s elements and lead to surprising tactics. One of our gadgets, a record disc used like a throwing star, turned into a ball of spinning fire when thrown through a brazier.

As mentioned, The Swords of Ditto supports co-op, and the developers have put a lot of thought into how it plays with a pair. None of the puzzles require two players, but the world’s dynamic elements encourage cooperative problem solving – and it is possible to screw over your buddy if you mess up.

Death is also handled well. Each player can revive the other, but only by giving them a hug, which transfers half the surviving player’s health. That ensures no one feels left out, yet retains a penalty for defeat.

Small adventures for busy gamers

We frankly hadn’t heard of The Swords of Ditto before we sat down to play it, but we put it on our watch list the moment we stepped away from the demo. It’s a charming yet challenging game that offers bite-sized chunks of gameplay, yet ties everything into an epic struggle between good and evil, and its inclusion of co-op is a wonderful bonus for players tired of adventuring alone.

The Swords of Ditto is on track to launch in 2018 on PC and PlayStation 4.

Editors' Recommendations

Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is the former Lead Editor, Reviews at Digital Trends. He previously guided the Products Team, which dives…
Here’s the full schedule of summer video game livestreams
Promotional art for Starfield.

E3 is not taking place this year, but a plethora of independently created video game announcement livestreams are popping up. From Sony to Geoff Keighley to THQ Nordic, a lot of people and companies are airing video game livestreams that gaming fans will want to tune into over the course of this summer.
These are the most important video game reveal-focused livestreams that you should keep an eye on between June and August 2022 via Digital Trends' Summer Gaming Marathon coverage.
June 2: State of Play
State of Play | June 2, 2022 [ENGLISH]
Sony is holding another State of Play at 3 p.m. PT on June 2. Similar to March's showcase, this one will feature multiple games, rather than being dedicated to one game like Sony's Gran Turismo 7 and Hogwarts Legacy State of Play streams. Specifically, Sony says in a PlayStation Blog post that its fans should expect "exciting reveals from our third-party partners, plus a sneak peek at several games in development for PlayStation VR2." It doesn't look like God of War: Ragnarok will show up here, but it will certainly be a welcome surprise if it does.
June 6: LRG3 Showcase
Physical game distributor Limited Run Games and Mega64 announced that they would hold the third annual LRG Showcase at 1 p.m. PT on June 6, 2022 on Twitch. The LRG3 Showcase will feature 30 games overall, mainly highlighting titles that Limited Run Games plans to give a physical release to over the next year. 
June 7: Sonic Central
June is a big month for Sonic as Sega continues to share new info on Sonic Frontiers and prepares to release Sonic Origins on June 23. As part of its June festivities for the blue blur, Sega is holding yet another Sonic Central livestream to reveal "project, partnerships, and events happening in 2022." It begins at 9 a.m. PT on June 7.
June 9: Upload VR Showcase
Fans of VR games will want to tune into the Upload VR Showcase at 8 a.m. on June 9. This presentation is solely focused on highlighting upcoming VR games from developers big and small. While Upload VR isn't teasing any specific games for the show, the article confirming the event claims that it will have "the most new game reveals we’ve ever featured at a showcase, including some from companies yet to release VR games."
June 9: Summer Game Fest
At 11 a.m. PT on June 9, Geoff Keighley will host his second annual Summer Game Fest livestream dedicated to showing exciting games from publishers big and small. The re-reveal of Elden Ring happened during last year's stream, so this is definitely a stream that you'll want to keep an eye on. The tweet above confirms that major publishers like 2K, Activision, Capcom, EA, PlayStation, Sega, WB Games, and Xbox are participating. The showcase will last two hours. 
June 9: Day of the Devs: SGF Edition 
Summer Game Fest's showcase will be immediately followed by Day of the Devs: SGF Edition at 1 p.m. PT. This showcase will highlight a variety of upcoming video games. A press release for the event confirms that it will feature a new trailer for Bear and Breakfast and a new game from Monument Valley developer Ustwo Games, in addition to plenty of other independent developers. 
June 9: Devolver Marketing Countdown to Marketing
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Devolver Digital will hold another satirical showcase at 3 p.m. PT on June 9. Titled the "Devolver Marketing Countdown to Marketing," expect this showcase to poke fun at how companies countdown to their main showcases with pre-shows and highlight some new games from Devolver. Cult of the Lamb is confirmed to be there, and Devolver is also promising to reveal some new games during the show. 
June 10: Epic Games Summer Showcase
At 11 a.m. PT on June 10, Epic Games is holding its own video game showcase. It says the event will primarily be focused on "diving into new announcements and updates for PC titles on the Epic Games Store" that are launching both in 2022 and next year. 
June 10: The Outriders: Wordslayer Endgame Broadcast
At 11:45 a.m. PT on June 10, Square Enix and People Can Fly will hold yet another Outriders Broadcast. This livestream will be specifically focused on endgame content for Outriders: Worldslayer, a massive expansion for the sci-fi shooter that is launching on June 30. 
June 10: Tribeca Games Spotlight
As part of Summer Game Fest, Tribeca will highlight its 2022 game selections during a livestream at 12 p.m. PT on June 10. We know that Tribeca's game selections this year are A Plague Tale: Requiem, American Arcadia, As Dusk Falls, Cuphead - The Delicious Last Course, Immortality, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals, The Cub, Thirsty Suitors, and Venba, so this livestream won't have much in the way of surprises. Still, it will provide updates on some of the industry's best-looking indie games.
June 11: Future of Play Direct
Future of Play Direct Livestream I Summer of Gaming 2022
IGN is getting in on the video game showcase fun with the Future of Play Direct at 10:30 a.m. PT on June 11. IGN promises that the event will have "new game announcements, trailers, musical performances, special guests, and more." While the event will likely be focused on indie titles, some cool new game may emerge during this showcase. 
June 11: Wholesome Direct 2022 
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Wholesome Direct is a yearly livestream that highlights cute indie games that are much more wholesome than violent. The event's organizers tease that this year's event will have "new game reveals, exclusive footage, and even games that will launch during the show," so it's worth tuning into if you want to see what cute indie games should be on your radar. 
June 11: Future Games Show
Future Games Show 2022
GamesRadar is holding yet another gaming showcase at 12 p.m. PT on June 11. Future Games Show livestreams often focus on highlighting cool indie and AA games, so don't expect the next major AAA bombshell to be here. But we can expect reveals from companies like Amanita Design, Team17, and Thunderful. Overall, GamesRadar claims that 40 games will be shown during June's Future Games Show. 
June 11 and 13: Guerrilla Collective 3
The Guerilla Collective is an indie showcase that takes place over the course of two separate days. The first presentation takes place at 8 a.m. PT on June 11 while the second one follows it up at 1 p.m. PT on June 13. You can see lists of many of the indie games participating in both the June 11 and June 13 events on the Guerrilla Collective's website. 
June 12: Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase

The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase (no Activision just yet) returns at 10 a.m. PT on June 12. Even though Redfall and Starfield were both recently delayed to 2023, this is still probably going to contain our best looks at these games yet! On top of that, there are plenty of other upcoming Xbox exclusives that Microsoft could show like Avowed, Fable, the new Forza Motorsport, Contraband, and Perfect Dark. Ultimately, Microsoft has a lot to prove with this year's showcase as it needs to demonstrate why 2022 will still be a compelling year for Xbox consoles and Game Pass without Redfall and Starfield. Check out everything that was announced.
June 12: PC Gaming Show
Just a couple of hours after Xbox and Bethesda's showcase, you can expect PC Gamer to hold an announcement-filled livestream of its own. The PC Gaming Show starts at 12:30 p.m. on June 12 and will contain over 45 upcoming PC games. Titles teased by PC Gamer so far include Arma 4, a Half-Life: Alyx mod called Levitation, Immortality, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2, Victoria 3, and unannounced games from Klei Entertainment and 11 Bit Studios. If you're a fan of PC Gaming, this is definitely a show you'll want to tune into. 
June 13: Capcom Showcase

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