The Swords of Ditto
Save the world, one bite-sized Zelda dungeon at a time, writes Julian Rizzo-Smith
The Swords of Ditto is a micro action RPG inspired by the visual fun aesthetic of Saturday morning cartoons and the puzzle-solving dungeons of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It’s described by game designer Sam Robinson as a condensed version of a Zelda experience, lasting around three to four hours long.
The game is designed with a procedurally generated overworld map, so dungeons, gadgets, even NPCs can be located in randomised spots each run.
“Every time you play [or die], the world’s randomised, your character is randomised and you [begin your journey again] stuck on the island of Ditto,” he said.
According to Robinson, the permadeath feature plays a role in the game’s lore, too. You begin the game waking up in a faraway beach house on the island of Ditto, tasked to pull out a sword from inside an elaborately designed sword-shaped shrine to the past heroes (and your past lives). As a child of prophecy, you’re destined to save the island from a cursed by an evil spirit: monsters and critters roam the lands and the only way to restore peace is to compete in the spirit’s trials and games.
“There’s this ancient Mayan-like civilisation that love toys and have created these whole dungeons based around using a certain gadget,” said Robinson. “These are meant to be short cerebral dungeons that aren’t too challenging.”
During my twenty minute coop demo, we ventured through a dungeon that required a retractable throwing vinyl record. Using the record, I’d pick up flames from a lit torch to light nearby ones. In another, we interacted with tactile plates on the floor and switches to deactivate sets of spike traps, communicating with my co-op partner to set of series of switches to progress.
There’s a highly endearing charm to the world of Ditto. Each of your gadgets are quirky interpretations of real world items and can be used in combat, including a giant yeti foot raining from the sky that knocks out enemies, a golf club that knocks them back, and a silly nerf gun for long-range attacks. Reviving an ally is animated by one player rushing over towards the fallen one, hugging them tightly and expanding their love heart till it fills the entire screen. The world of Ditto is colourful and fun; it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is made for both children and adults to enjoy.
Although not fully available in the demo, you can modify your stats using stickers found in the world, taking packs of them to merchants to open.
“Stickers might give you faster regen at night-time or increased sword range,” said Robinson. “You can apply stickers to all one slot, like to your armour or weapon.”
Onebitbeyond is currently developing for PC and PlayStation 4, and when asked if it’ll come to the Nintendo Switch, Robinson said that he’d like to but it wasn’t a priority. Still, playing this with a PlayStation 4 controller, I couldn’t help but imagine it working very organically with the Switch’s portability.
Venturing deep into the dark and spooky cave, our hero came face to face with a giant pussycat.