At the big event for the PlayStation 4 event last year, Sony revealed a handful of indie developers bringing titles to consoles exclusively to the PlayStation 4. Originally shown at PAX Prime, Switchblade Monkeys had planned to develop Secret Ponchos exclusively for PC, until Sony approached them about bringing the title over to the PS4. The updated build at PAX East 2014 showcased the hard work that has gone into the development of the game with unmatched stylized visuals and an unflinching framerate. The PlayStation 4 build also features two-player split-screen online multiplayer.
Secret Ponchos can best be described as a spaghetti western graphic novel, blending elements of multiple games genres together including shooters, fighters and MOBAs. The game features a handful of outlaws looking for legendary status, whether it is dueling or all out eight-player mayhem. The outlaws each come with their own set of skills and playstyles.
Not playing the game prior to this event, I went with the iconic Phantom Poncho for the first round and The Killer for my dominating second round. I thought I handled myself well as a newcomer, placing 4th, but it was explained to me afterwards that Poncho is one of the more advanced characters. Poncho’s primary weapon, the shotgun, is one of the most powerful weapons in the game, but is limited in range. This made for some dicey engagements, forcing me to get up close and personal with other hunters.
The Killer with his twin revolvers has the best range out of the playable characters in this early build of the game. His knife attack can be used as a melee or a ranged weapon by throwing it at a target. Thanks to his alternate fire of unloading each chamber in both revolvers in quick succession, I quickly climbed the leaderboard to the top spot.
Dodging is a key element within the game and essential to quickly evade incoming fire and avoid confrontation when you don’t have the advantage. Power-ups are scattered throughout the map, allowing temporary boosts such as increased damage and speed boosts. Players can take cover behind various parts of the environment, at the risk of losing sight of other bounty hunters due to the inclusion of line of sight in the game.
Revealed at PAX East, Yousuf Mapara, Creative Director on Secret Ponchos and President of Switchblade Monkeys, informed us that the game would be coming to both PC and PS4 after an overwhelming amount of demand for the PC version. In order to accomplish this goal, the game will be part of Early Access on Steam early summer 2014. Early adapters can expect exclusive offers and a few surprises if they purchase the game while it is in Early Access. Switchblade Monkeys wants to keep the game updated with additional characters and maps, but the content will depend on what the community wants.