The Swords of Ditto finds a new home on Switch, and the Mormo's Curse update adds much-welcomed variety to the game's solid foundation.
The Swords of Ditto offered a charming blend of Zelda-style gameplay and roguelite elements when it launched last April. While it proved mostly enjoyable, tedious repetition, a poorly communicated endgame, and disappointing technical flaws held the game back from greatness. Developer onebitbeyond has spent the past year improving the game and has brought it to the Nintendo Switch via the Mormo’s Curse update. This latest overhaul (coming free to all platforms) introduces several new elements and tweaks designed to improve and streamline the experience. The additions may not all be substantial, but they do make for the beefiest and most enjoyable version of The Swords of Ditto yet.
The evil witch Mormo plagues the land of Ditto, emerging every 100 years to enforce her rule. Players control the legendary Sword who’s predestined to challenge her. To get stronger, players must scour the procedurally laid out world for powerful weapons while slaying monsters. Alternatively, Mormo can be taken on from the outset a la Breath of the Wild for those feeling confident. Defeating Mormo sends her away for another century until she inevitably returns. Thus the cycle begins anew with players running the gamut of prepping for the fight using a new Sword. Falling in battle advances time until the next hero emerges. With Mormo left unchecked for a century, the hero awakens in a darker, more monster-ridden Ditto.
Mormo’s Curse all but eliminates the game’s original permadeath system. Dying previously meant that players had begin a new timeline from scratch with a new character and tougher world state. That proved tiresome for many players, so now they're simply whisked back to the starting house and lose a portion of their loot (which can be retrieved). This alleviates the tension and frustration that dominated the old version to create a more relaxed experience. The game’s Hero (hard) mode features permanent death, so the option exists for those who want it.
New locations spice things up the formerly limited environments. Players can now explore areas like a dilapidated junkyard occupied by robots, an urban neighborhood, and bug-infested wetlands. They look great and offer much needed visual variety. The same sadly can’t be said for dungeons, which all sport the same uniform aesthetic. A slew of strange new enemies, such as a chainsaw-wielding Sasquatch, gives players a lot more to swing their swords at. The only downer is the unwelcome arrival of Wallmaster-esque creatures that warp players backwards through dungeons upon capturing them.
New Toys and Stickers, the weapons and ability buffs of The Swords of Ditto, respectively, creates additional strategy. Favorites include a shield for blocking and stickers that reveal a dungeon’s layout and treasure locations. The fresh arsenal oozes the game’s sense of humor and creativity. For example, a “kick me” sign that, when posted on a foe, compels other enemies to attack it. New shops come with additional currency types, such as transistors for a robotic junk shop, and feature exclusive items not found elsewhere. Sure, they’re little more than a way of giving players more trinkets to chase after (and an alternative method of purchasing some widely available items) but it ultimately doesn’t hurt to have them.
Side missions remain largely simple, but the addition of bounty boards grants extra rewards for slaying high-level monsters. On top of that, finding hidden radishes can grant money, open portals to secret dungeons, or even spawn powerful enemies for a cool game for chance. Everything in Mormo's Curse works in service of simply giving players more to do. In a game that requires at least five playthroughs to complete, that's an important mission the update does a decent job of pulling off. Repeating the cycle of playthroughs can still become tiresome during longer sessions, but at least the fun peters out less quickly.
Quality of life improvements help make The Swords of Ditto more approachable and convenient. Health and consumables can be easily accessed via an in-game wheel instead of diving into the menu. The original release regularly suffered from crippling slowdown and other issues that have thankfully been ironed out here. The game performs fine overall on Switch, though menu navigation is noticeably more sluggish. This version also retains all of the features introduced in the last year such as selectable characters, save slots, and the reduced emphasis on the time limit. The best change of all: a more clearly explained endgame. Now players know exactly how to conquer Mormo for good instead of aimlessly repeating cycles.
The Swords of Ditto still doesn't topple Zelda and other roguelites. It does however, provide a charming and welcoming introduction to both genres. Mormo’s Curse reinforces the game's solid foundation with additional layers of content that ultimately broadens its appeal. Tedium still rears its ugly head at a certain point, but you'll find it a bit harder to leave Ditto in Mormo's evil clutches this time.
The Swords of Ditto: Mormo's Curse releases May 2, 2019 Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC. Screen Rant was provided with a Switch download code for the purposes of this review.