pax 2013

Secret Ponchos

The Wild West Comes To PlayStation 4 With Secret Ponchos
by Matt Bertz on Aug 31, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Publisher: Switchblade Monkeys
Developer: Switchblade Monkeys
Rating: Teen
Platform: PlayStation 4, PC

With each passing day, the list of intriguing indie titles headed to the PlayStation 4 seems to expand. Another one to keep your eye on in the launch windows is Secret Ponchos.

Developed by a few former employees of Radical Entertainment (The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Scarface: The World Is Yours), Secret Ponchos is a unique competitive multiplayer game that places a bounty on each outlaw's head. If you're the fastest gun in the west, your notoriety will grow as quickly as the bounty on your head.

Players create a persistent gunslinger from a collection of six archetypes. The Deserter is a former soldier who is handy with a sniper rifle and brings medkits to each gunfight. The Gordo Hombre moves slowly, but packs a mean punch with his Gatling gun and molotov cocktails. Kid Red packs two pistols and a stick of dynamite, and is by far the most fleet of foot character in the game. The Phantom Poncho moves slowly and deliberately, but can quickly dash to close the range between himself and an opponent, opening up opportunities to drain health quickly with his double-barrel shotgun. He also carries a bull whip, which can be used to disarm enemies. Last but not least, The Killer is your classic outlaw. He packs a revolver and hunting knife. Upon selecting your character, you can rename him.

Secret Ponchos features several different gameplay modes, including one-on-one duels, two-on-two shootouts, four-on-four modes, and an eight-player free for all. It supports both split-screen and online play, and tracks your performance over time. As you rank up, you unlock perk points that can be used to tweak your character's appearance and skills.

This twin-stick shooter follows the basic genre control scheme .The left analog stick controls your movement, the right analog stick controls your aiming, and to shoot your weapon you must pull the right trigger. Secondary weapons are married to the right bumper, and you also have the ability to dodge with the circle button. I played through four rounds, and each character feels very different from the others. Some have long-range weapons, while others need to get close to inflict damage.

Secret Ponchos is slated to release on PlayStation 4 sometime in the first half of 2014. PlayStation Plus subscribers will get free access to the game for a limited time.