Most of you know that Link in most of Zelda games is a reincarnation or an ancestor of the games we played with before. However the timeline of this universe is murky at best. So how about we would get a Zelda game with a clear timeline?! Nintendo was not up for it so instead Onebitbeyond made a Zelda clone that lets you play as a whole slew of heroes reincarnated throughout time. One game the entire timeline.. that sounds epic right?!…..Right?!
<Disclaimer: I reviewed the STEAM version as trough the eyes of a single player experience, it is possible to play with more which may alter the experience, also other versions can have different forms of content.. this is strictly based on MY play-trough and what I experienced>
Sword of Ditto : Curse of Mormo starts of super charmingly and funny. The graphical style reminds me a bit of the quasi modern cartoons like Super Adventure Time , Star Versus Evil and Steven Universe. A Dung Beetle named Puku shows up and drags out a destined hero to face the evil queen Mormo as her evil rules again. You get a little green outfit as you hold your sword above your head and the dung beetle drags you into the tower where your character gets promptly killed. He was underprepared. Whoops! A funny intro I will give them that. We then move to the next generation, the world seems slightly more devoid of life.. the town a lot more somber as we play a new hero. This time Puku tells you the basics.. Mormo has two Anchors that you need to destroy.. which are hidden deep in some dungeons. However to get access to these dungeons you need two toys of legends.. weapons with alternate functions if you will such as the bow or a yoyo that is kinda like a boomerang.. or a ring that kind of works like a grappling hook.
If you die in the field your bug friend will most likely save you but in some dungeons and the final encounter there is no resurrection possible so if you die there.. the world is ruled by Mormo once again and you have to fight her again. So Sword of Ditto is kind of like a Zelda Roguelite ..which kinda sounds like a bad idea to begin with due to the nature of all the tools you need but the game at least is very forgiving.While I deeply enjoyed the playthrough of the second lifetime.. as it really felt like a classic Zelda.. it would quickly turn to a much worse trip than I would have imagined. I beat Mormo on my first playthrough… now I would have to do it again..I spend all my resources on life potions because I expected this battle to be super rough but it was super easy… so now I had to do it all over again and start from scratch. This did not feel right to me.. something was eating at me, a feeling that would only get worse.
Let’s kick of with the positives however. It controls super nice, the fighting is fun, the mechanics are clever and the game looks super great and cute. Even though those pineapple monster things are straight up from Zelda and there is an old man.. cracked walls where you place bombs.. a c-button where you can lay out for toys to actively switch in.. sound effects when you open a door or a chest appears, silver keys for tiny doors and a gold key leading to a boss room in dungeons, even ancient tablets that tell the history of the world… Okay this game is SO much a Zelda clone that is basically a homage. Yet that feels great to me.. it loves the Zelda games so much that it doesn’t stray from the old formula. Being one of the few persons in the world that doesn’t really like Breath of the Wild (as a Zelda game, I would be fine would this be a new IP but still find it tedious) I was happy I at least got to play something new that till feels like something classic. It does really cater to that need.
The combat is great, fun and dynamic, enemies all weaknesses, some are vulnerable to elements, some to toys others simply to your sword and some need to be attacked in the back. I really had some fun discovering the weaknesses. Toys can be leveled up and you can increase your attack power by putting stickers everywhere. Which is a fun way to mod your game. Each generation after the second comes with a Curse from Mormo.. which theoretically can really give you a cool gameplay variant. Some dungeons have their own conditions as well.. such as your sword being nerfed.. or dodge rolling taking mana/battery power. Yet it can be bonuses as well such as extra experience or even attack boosts or elemental immunities.
There are pots you can break (who would have guessed) that are filled with certain elements these can alter the battlefield. Such as poison which is a simple dot, fire, which is yet again a dot.. ether ..which if you or the enemy fill their either meter, you crystalise and become stunned.. and some yellow goop that makes everything it touches bleed money. There are plenty of weapons , plenty of NPC’s that upgrade stuff and you can collect celestial crystals to pass a toy or stickers to the next generation. Bombs come in several variaties like exploding ones, ether ones, fire ones and even MICE!… Thats right a bomb shaped like a mouse that crawls over the floor and bombs you. Bombs You?! Sounds familiar.
All in all it’s a very charming looking game, you can even unlock new sorts of heroes to reincarnate as in the next version, such as a luchador, a ninja, a mouse a frog or even a robot. My favorite one was the Kitsune because I love the Yoyo boost they get. Each hero type can level up and gets better stickers and weapons in the next generation which seems like a need idea. This game is like a love letter to Zelda with some clever ideas of their own, so surely this has to result in a terrific game right? It even has the option to make your controller prompts look all Nintendo like if you hook up a controller.. or Playstation OR Xbox . So much consideration.. and museum keeper I am pretty sure was named old man! So points for that… yet somehow despite all these strengths.. this game did not work for me… at all.
Like I said the second generation is great fun to play through..but you go in blind so in the third generation I lacked some tools. As a Curse I gained the “Ether Storm” which powered up all the enemies to be above my maximum level (levels are a thing here and if you reach Mormo’s one.. you HAVE to fight her in 24 hours regardless if you got all loot or weakened her enough) this created some annoyance. One area was blinking on my map but due to being undergeared and underleveled I could not make my way there. As it turned out I had to go there to sacrifice an item in my inventory.. a token of my victory over Mormo so I could ignite one of five lights! I did not think I had to destroy that item and I did not see the little stubs on the doors as lights just as decoration.. so when I got there at daytime and I can only tribute at night (which I did not know either) I just thought.. oh maybe in a next generation.
Which was wrong.. because you can not send it over to a new lifetime.. which meant.. the second generation victory was for naught. Two hours of play wasted because I failed to see through some mechanic and in turn making my journey harder because now I had to deal with these curses.
Now one more round would not have been terrible at all if there were more toys to explore, more clever banter to discover and more characters to unlock and level up. However in the third generation I already maxed out my fox boy.. who now had great stuff and passives.. Attack bonuses I would have to give up by playing another class. If I die with a weaker class. .I lose everything I worked so hard to pass on.. I am not against a game punishing your for dying..but since the game also punishes you for succeeding through curses and taking your items away every two dungeons it kinda feels needlessly tedious at every step, good or bad.
Just get the stuff you need and get out. Which doesn’t mesh well with the Zelda Formula.
The WORST thing though however is the lack of variety.. in the third generation.. mind you this is the second playable one Puku already repeats all his dungeon dialogue from the second generation. In the fourth I discovered you basically alternate between any combination of only four toys to solve dungeons. With two toys per generation needed that means it does not take long to encounter repeats. So puzzles get boring quickly. All dungeons seem somewhat procedurally generated as well which usually works well enough but mostly in the non essential ones (Which you need to explore for more shards so you can pass on your rewards) this can feel a bit odd. Like two treasure rooms spawning adjacent to each other. Double damage modifiers in a dungeon that has no combat at all or puzzles in dead end rooms with no rewards. I get the charm of Zelda randomisers to keep things fresh but with these added modifiers it just doesn’t work for me . I don’t mind the dead puzzle room so much.. nor do I mind having my sword damage halved when I just need to open a chest. However it can feel incredibly frustrating if you are grinding for levels to encounter half experience dungeons in one filled with chests and enemies..just to walk into a pot breaking one and see experience is double where there is no xp to get.
I gathered four out of five light orbs so far and I threw in the towel then and there as I could not stomach any minute of the game any longer. I would need to go to at least generation 7 due to me missing one tribute, but this game lacks so much. Each Toy dungeon has the same boss.. (though with a different skin.. a sword of ditto of the past.. but these are not your characters just some random things) which meant I had to fight that 12 times.. but both also show up during the Mormo fight so technically that would be 24 times .. you fight “dark Link” There are four bosses in the main dungeon.. or at least I just encountered four.. but one of them I only encountered once. and another I encountered six times. Even dungeon puzzles begin to loop and that is IF you succeed every time.. this would be the MINIMUM level of repeats. By the fourth light I was playing the same game over and over again with my reward being the same dialogue over and over again..hinting only at a slightly different ending at the end.
Each time I got something upgraded and I got something very cool and new.. I either lacked the celestial shards to pass it to the next generation because cool stuff costs more.. or it got overwritten because I wanted to play as another race. I even encountered the same curse three times! Once I had a timer of seven days which was kinda neat ..but most of the time it is just Ether Storm.. which basically means that aside from grinding for Celestial Shards you also need money and food as well so that is just more grinding. Which you can’t always do because you get time-gated. The world has several themed areas and they appear randomly.. sometimes they drop resources like shiny stones.. or computer chips which you can trade in at shop-keep for new toys..but the price for the good ones is insane.You have to grind them out so hard that you basically can’t do anything else.. since you can’t pass these on to next generations. Of course you then can buy a toy or a sticker which you then can not pass onto the next generation because you have not grinded Celestial Crystals.. so it all can be for nothing.
Never have I seen a game so relentlessly discouraging any form of the completion or punish you for getting good stuff. If you want a good item.. you have to work for it.. then you have to work to pass it on again.. and then subsequently to keep passing it down every generation.
If you make a game that spans six generations, at least give us enemies to carry us through those 6.. or 5 because we see non in the first generation. I would not mind looping after that.. but during the main run it just feels extremely lazy. There are a few important NPC’s such as a fat Catlike Crime Boss, a Penguin who can up your bomb count and a Walrus who can open boxes.. but even though 100 years pass each time they are all constantly the exact same. Even if you save the world.. your house might get more decrepit.. or spots on the world map randomly get switched to something dystopian like a huge junk yard. It almost doesn’t fit.
I might have just gone really unlucky.. but that is no excuse! I still had a bad experience, if that can happen because of simple RNG you still did something wrong.
I am really angry at this game because it had so much potential, in a way this IS the game I wanted to see come to be.I’d compare it to P.T. Releasing as a playable demo and you are all like! Oh this is going to be so awesome.. but then they did not know what to do with it further and just loop it. Like Imagine their studio going like”We build a great over world but we can’t make dungeons” “Randomly gen it and add this reborn mechanic to it.. we can hide that we did we lost inspiration along the way”
I would not go as far to call it a bad game..because in so many ways it is not.. but it feels unfinished.. and put together by the duct tape of reincarnation. Which is fine.. if you mask the tape afterwards but they did not do that either. It’s like watching at the ceiling of the Sistine chapel.. but instead of all different forms of art.. there is only the creation of adam up there. The rest is the same painting but the clouds have been replaced by lizards clothing colours have been swapped.. they achieve this by instead of actual artwork just putting a sheet of paper over the cloud with a lizard drawn on top and those new clothes are just some cotton balls they jammed up there while cleaning. There is still some beauty hidden in there..but you can’t help but be pissed off at how cheap they went in the end.
Rarely felt I so conflicted about a game as in it’s purest form the gameplay is solid, the graphics are amazing and the ideas are creative ..even if it very clearly “borrows” form Zelda games. Yet never have I loathed continuing a game as much as this one in recent times. If it ever sells for like 5 dollars or is part of a humble bundle I recommend you get this, play trough the second and third generation and then leave it alone. I tried to complete it .. and the more and more I discovered how lazy it was the more I began to hate it.. which is why I have no choice but to scare it with my lowest rating.. as I really can’t stand playing it any longer anymore.. with the side note that I kinda feel bad about doing it. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to think the same, I just really dislike tedium in games. I hated keeping grinding for arrows and breaking weapons in Breath of the Wild as well.. and no one seemed to mind otherwise either. This to me just feels like playing the same game five times in a row and it punished me for about everything I did. I hate it! Yet I hate that I hate it too.