Of all the big blockbuster titles I've seen at E3 thus far, one of the games that has impressed me the most was a downloadable indie title called Secret Ponchos, developed Switchblade Monkeys. Like many other independent games, it focuses on a single, intriguing concept. Here, that idea is taking competitive fighting game mechanics and applying them to a top down shooter.
Wheras other twin-stick shooters involve mowing down mindless hordes with reckless abandon, Secret Ponchos is a much more focused, intense experience. Players will have to watch their stamina gauge, and reload ammo manually whenever their weapons deplete. This adds a lot of depth and strategy to the game, and it's where the mechanics familiar to fans of fighting games comes into play. Secret Ponchos is all about positioning and precision. It requires intense focus, making for some amazing PvP. Thrown explosives have a cooldown, and guns have clips, meaning you can't simply spam away and hope for the best. When the situation demands it, the player can use melee attacks and dash moves, which both require stamina. When stamina is running low, the player can take cover, where their stamina will regenerate faster.
Players can pick from a variety of different classes, each offering their own unique set of weapons and moves. They are:
- The Killer. A well-rounded character outfitted with a revolver and hunting knife. Great for beginners.
- Gordo. The tank character outfitted with a slow but devastating gatling gun and molotov cocktails with a wide damage radius. Players who like to charge in head-on.
- Kid Red. A fast character who dual-wields pistols that can be fired individually or simultaneously, albeit at the cost of range. Is also equipped with dynamite, which can be used as an improv-melee weapon whilst cooling down.
- The Deserter. A class built for precision. Comes equipped with a hunting rifle. In place of a second weapon, the Deserter has a Med Kit, which is useful for surviving extended encounters.
- Phantom Poncho. A character that moves fast and hits hard with a shotgun. Has high damage output, but short range. Perfect for stick and move tactics. Also comes equipped with a bullwhip, which can wound and disarm enemies.
As you can see, a lot of thought and effort was put into building this game. It's a game that favours substance over fluff, but it still has style. It's aesthetics are appealing and stylised, and everything carries a Spaghetti Western vibe. From what I'm seen, Secret Ponchos blends these genres well with tight mechanics and deep competitive play.
Expect to see Secret Ponchos early next year exclusively on the PS4.
- Update: Inspired by The Milkman and the information he attained, the Wikia Development Team has proceeded with creating a wiki for Secret Ponchos