Randomly generated co-op Zelda is the simplest way to describe The Swords of Ditto. Your character wakes up on a beach, which instantly recalls the opening of Link's Awakening on Game Boy, and then heads into the nearby town, where the statue of the island's hero stands. You claim the hero's sword, and become the hero known as the Sword of Ditto (this being the setting of the game). Along with an optional buddy (hence 'Swords' in the title), you take part in a truncated Zelda adventure that lasts for a couple of hours. If you succeed in defeating the boss, Mormo, your character becomes this hero statue in your next playthrough.
The Swords of Ditto is a roguelike, then, and if you fall short in defeating Mormo, your equipment from a previous playthrough appears at a lonely grave instead. Lovely stuff—I've always wanted to pass my failures onto another generation. Every run is randomly generated, so each playthrough feels like a different challenge. Succeeding leaves the world in a bright and happy place. Fail multiple times, though, and the world will grow a bit darker around you. I only played one game of Swords of Ditto, so I'm interested to how this change manifests itself.
The sword and bow are familiarly Zelda-y, but there are newer ideas due to the contemporary fantasy setting. Ditto's version of a boomerang is a vinyl record thrown as a frisbee disc, and I'm shown some neat puzzles in a dungeon where you have to activate switches by carefully aiming the record through gaps in walls. You can also set it on fire and throw it through enemies to spread the flames, giving the world a neat bit of reactivity. My favourite ability is summoning a giant foot to squish and knock back nearby enemies, almost certainly a Monty Python reference.
There's also an armour system, represented by stickers which give you particular buffs. I found Swords of Ditto a little harder and more frantic in combat encounters than I expected based on my preconceptions of the visual style, so the gathering of stickers and passing them down between heroes should be important. Each playthrough will last for around two hours, which sounds spot-on to me.
The art style reminds me a bit of Double Fine's Costume Quest, only more storybook-y. I've seen it compared to Adventure Time, too, which has a similar colour palette and maybe some crossover in tone. Quietly, it was an E3 favourite of mine.
Like a few indies I've recently enjoyed, it's a fresh-feeling modern version of a game type you might've enjoyed in the past. The way the world is presented makes Ditto easy to like: it's cutesy without being saccharine, which is a hard balance to pull off. And my PC always needs more great couch co-op games.