The short of it: if you take a Zelda game, replace almost all items with toy-themed objects, make it rogue-lite, and add a time-based reset loop, you get Swords of Ditto.
We’ve revisited this game a few times after mostly completing because it has one major thing that most games of this genre do not have: local co-op. The downsides to this game can almost be overlooked from just being able to share the experience.
There is a heavy emphasis on exploration early in the game, followed closely by puzzle-solving dungeons. Unlike other games of this genre, all elements are procedurally generated. Due to being randomly generated, almost all puzzle elements are strictly contained in individual rooms and require very infrequent back-tracking. This is a significant weakness of the generated dungeons: the puzzles are forgettable and dull. They lack the polish of other “aha!” type puzzle-solving that similar games in the genre do better.
The items found throughout the game are what Sam enjoyed the most. Golf-clubs, laser rings, and drones that fly around and explode are just some of the things that serve a combat role as well as a puzzle element. All of the items are themed after toys using rechargeable battery power as the game-mechanic for limiting their use.
The combat is simplistic, and while I got bored of it rather quickly, it kept Sam’s interest by being mostly frustration-free. The combat variety revolves around enemies that take different strategies to defeat. Graphics are friendly and cartoonish, and none of the character models frightened Sam. While there is violence in that you swing a sword at things, it is tempered by no gore, and enemies disappear when defeated.
There’s a cryptic story involved, but Sam never really seemed interested in it. The game loop consists of leveling your character, acquiring items, and then facing the final boss, then the cycle of the game repeats. There is an end-game type aspect that I won’t get into to avoid spoilers that break this cycle.
The developers of this game have changed it quite significantly since our first play-through. While much of the improvements are welcomed, I’m afraid to say that our most recent session has given the game a much more pressured experience to such an extent that we don’t play it anymore. After a game loop reset, we encountered an undefeatable “nemesis” that would follow you everywhere in the overworld. It is easy to run away from it, but it is a constant annoyance that caused both Sam and me to lose interest in finishing.
Overall, this is a tame adventure RPG that has the promise of a lot of replayability with a trade-off of simple puzzles and tedious game-play. Some skills are engaged and it is a decent co-op adventure to having your child play with you. With the inclusion of a harassing “nemesis”, I don’t recommend this game as it is a major source of stress and frustration especially with kids just getting into games. If in future updates, the creators remove or significantly tone down the “nemesis” mechanic, then I would recommend.
- Spacial Awareness: 2⁄5
- Memory Skills: 2⁄5
- Hand-eye Coordination: 3⁄5
- Problem Solving: 3⁄5
- Reading Skills: 3⁄5
- Entertainment: 3⁄5
- Appropriateness: 3⁄5
Reviewed on the PC version through Steam.
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