Zelda with a roguelike twist
This weekend, at PAX East 2018, I swung by Devolver Digital’s booth to check out The Swords of Ditto, a Zelda inspired adventure with a roguelike twist.
Journey to the island of Ditto alone, or with a partner in co-op play. The island is plagued by an evil entity called Mormo, but we’re in luck, as you’re the legendary hero that wields the Sword of Ditto, used to vanquish said evil every 100 years.
The Swords of Ditto has a simple enough hook. As soon as your hero awakens you have five days to vanquish Mormo. Time stands still when you’re in town, or in a dungeon, but you’ll have to keep an eye on the clock when exploring the island.
Whether you succeed in defeating Mormo or get defeated yourself, the story of your journey will pass into legend, affecting the world around you. After a defeat, you may find the world a bit more dreary, whereas a world that has had 100 years of prosperity might be filled with citizens who know nothing of hardship.
From the moment your run begins you have free reign to do as you please. You can even head straight to Mormo’s lair, but don’t expect the evil tyrant to go down without a fight. You’ll want to spend the five days you have clearing dungeons.
Each run changes the island’s layout and the dungeons available to play. Dungeons will be randomly built with new puzzles to reflect the items that are inside it. You can’t very well solve a bow-based puzzle without the bow in your inventory after all.
Defeating dungeon bosses will both weaken Mormo and help you gather legendary Toys – The Swords of Ditto’s version of Zelda’s items – which can be used to fight enemies and solve puzzles. Everything from bows, bombs, and torches are present, along with some more unique weapons toys like the ability to summon a gigantic monster’s foot to crush your foes.
Besides Toys, you can also gather stickers for your hero. Stickers are equipable items that give your character new abilities or buff existing ones. For example, during my run, I picked up a sticker that stopped my hero from taking projectile damage.
Ditto’s art direction strikes me as something you might find on a modern Cartoon Network show. It’s warm, inviting and can genuinely perk you up a bit, even when being attacked by zombies and plant monsters. After a loss, you may see a darker color palette to reflect the 100 years of Mormo’s rule, but it’s still hard to explore the island without a smile on your face.
According to the developers, an average run could take player about two to three hours, although they’ve seen some players take as long as seven. With run times stacking that high, I can’t help but wonder how many plays it would take to see all the content Ditto has to offer? I don’t doubt it would take an absurd amount of time to see every Toy and every possible dungeon layout. I just hope I don’t burn myself out on the game before then.
The Swords of Ditto launches on PS4 and PC April 24, 2018.