Starting with a fourth-wall breaking sequence in which Puku your guide explains that you are the Sword of Ditto, a hero that rises every century to challenge the evil sorcerer Mormo. Though this time Mormo is prepared, she kills the hero before they are able to challenge her, but all is not lost for every one-hundred years the hero will be reborn and the Sword of Ditto will once again rise to challenge the evil Mormo. Now arising as the second, third or even seventeenth Sword, players will explore the island, find the Toys of Legend, break the anchors and defeat Mormo saving Ditto from her curse. The plot shares more than a little similarity with Legend of Zelda with Mormo being Ganon and the Sword of Ditto being Link, they share the same inexorable fate. Evil will rise and a hero will rise to challenge said evil and save the lands.
The story is handled well with winks and nods to its predecessors, which in this case is more Majora’s Mask over other Legend of Zelda games with the time limit and eventual time rewinding. Though after a while the fourth wall breaks started to overstay their welcome. One example of this is when you meet Astro, who serves the gods, even allowing people to commune with them. He blatantly points out that gods hate time limits and that you could commune with Serendipity, but it would require tribute which seemingly only exists to waste mortals time at the whim of the gods.
The gameplay is fairly similar to any of the top-down Legend of Zelda games with a slight twist, every time you die one hundred years pass. Then another Sword is chosen and the quest starts over. This is where the rogue-like elements come into play, each time you die you start over as a new Sword in a different procedurally generated Ditto. Levels, currency and starting items are kept between deaths with everything else being lost at first, though there is a way to carry over non-trial items and stickers. Stickers act as a way to augment your character by enhancing your damage or resistance to certain types of damage. This is a rather interesting way to handle character progression and adds to the charm of the world.
This brings us to the first issue, namely the grind, you will find yourself grinding levels to be eligible for dungeons or grinding currency to buy items or upgrades. The dungeons typically use an N+1 system, where the first dungeon is your level plus one, then the next dungeon is that dungeon level plus one. Meaning if you die at level 7 then the first toy dungeon requires level 8 and the first anchor requires level 9. This can make deaths more frustrating as it means more grinding to progress and since the world is procedurally generated, knowledge of areas doesn’t carry over between reincarnations.