Developer(s) – Switchblade Monkeys
Publisher(s) – Switchblade Monkeys
PEGI – 16
Secret Ponchos is exclusively a player vs. player game that revolves around both ranged and close-quarters combat. All things considered, I quickly lost interest in this game, given how biased and poorly executed I thought the gameplay was, and how the concept of player vs. player doesn’t work particularly well in a top-down action game.
Graphics – 7/10
The one positive I can point out about the game at least is that the visuals are fairly unique in terms of conceptual design since I find that there aren’t many games out there set in the Wild West; indeed there was quite a big call for it prior to the release of Red Dead Redemption. The game also makes pretty effective use of things like cloth textures and lighting, which I find must be pretty difficult in cel-shaded games.
Gameplay – 3/10
As I said, I found the gameplay to be pretty dull and dissatisfying, as well as biased in terms of challenge. It’s easy for opponents to predict what players will do, and it’s hard to avoid certain attacks with certain character classes, making advancement unnecessarily hard.
Controls – 5/10
Whilst there isn’t anything wrong with the control scheme from a technical standpoint, the fact that this game is player vs. player only is in itself, the reason why the basic control scheme becomes such a problem since, in my opinion, the entire concept doesn’t work. I think if even Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, one of my favorite games of all time, was developed in a fashion similar to this, I would have been bitterly disappointed.
Originality – 5/10
Although there aren’t many other top-down player vs. player games out there, it makes this title unique, but in a much more negative way, since it introduced me to a concept and style of gameplay that I would have much rather not have been introduced to. I can’t help but feel that if any other great top-down games revolved around such a concept, I would have thought considerably less of them too. It also makes me wonder how great a game this could have been if there were a single-player mode.
Overall, Secret Ponchos is one of the worst games I’ve played on the PlayStation 4 so far. Its concept works very poorly, and I wouldn’t care to see this style of play implemented in any other video game again.