Multiplayer is a hard section to get into in gaming now a days, between COD, battlefield, and CS. Its even harder to get be successful in the Moba business, with games LOL and Dota, its even harder when you're not free to play. Well Secret Ponchos not be considered a normal Moba, but it does have an online store where you can buy skins, and takes place from an overhead view. It also has a difficulty curve like a brick wall that is common to mobas, it also has the twitchy gameplay. Unlike a moba every hit you make is a press of a button, there is no animation that plays, no auto attacks, no creeps, no item shop. So when it comes to genre the game falls in a weird spot. Its also a western which most mobas either are fantasy or Sci-fi. But the western setting backs up the twitch gameplay with the draw of a gun and only a few shots fired before looking for cover.
The art style is comic booky and the characters are weirdly rigid and it implies a sense of humor, but the game is so intense that it undermines its artistic integrity and…..
This game contradicts itself a lot.
Secret ponchos is a stylish and original spaghetti western multiplayer combat game. That ones straight from the steam page. Its also says its a quick-twitch fighter, all of these things are true.
The gameplay of the game is fast as a quick draw, wow great joke right? Its a dual stick shooter that uses every button on the controller except for right and left on the d pad. Each button has a different function except for a and left bumper both share the cover button. Each Character in the game has 2 weapons and each weapon has 2 fire modes and there are 5 characters which adds to a total of 20 attacks across 5 characters and leads to all sorts of tactics.
and I really feel like i'm getting ahead of myself. Ok lets start at the beginning
when you start you are asked to make a character and name them. There are 5 characters with different stats that after you select them you can upgrade through a point system like in tony hawk. The Only game mode as of now is a 2v2 domination mode in which the opposing teams fight to kill each other. If your team gets a kill the counter adds a point if the enemy team gets after that kill you lose that point and the first team to get 5 points wins. After each round you are given a bounty, if you win your bounty will go up, if you lose your bounty will decrease. The bounty acts a a leveling system if you get 1000 bounty you will level up and become a higher level criminal, and also get more points to upgrade your stats, but since you can lose bounty if you go under that 1000 you will go down and lose the stat boosts that go with it.
Now to talk about the combat. The combat in this game is surprisingly deep, allowing you to employ many tactics against your foes. The game also does have a difficulty curve like a brick wall as i mentioned earlier and takes a good 4 to 5 hours of gameplay to adjust to the game. The games many weapons each have different effects, some have blast damage, some stun your opponent, some allow you to dodge and its how deploy these to your advantage is what makes the combat deep. Another layer to combat is Team Comp since it is 2 v 2 you have another player with you. Unfortunately you can't switch characters on the fly so you may end up with someone that compliments your play style or some that hinder it. But the game allows duplicates to play in the same match so you may end up with 4 grim reapers all duking it out. Friendly fire is also on so you have to be careful around your teammate. You also have a dodge mechanic that lets you dodge roll 3 times but then has to regen. You also have a cover mechanic that you have to throw in there as well. So with all this stacked on top of each other what combat usually looks like is a slow approach to the enemy team taking cover along the way. Then a short but violent skirmish and if you're still alive dashing away to find cover again. But in that moment of skirmish every second counts depending on who is using which of their 4 attacks, weather or not you miss, how many dodges they have all of it determines the outcome of the battle. You may win and walk away without a scratch or your team mate might die and you get left to have to run from 2 armd killers.
Now i know i've talked really good about the game so far so im gonna rattle off the things that irk me about the game.
Even though there is a ranking system it doesn't matter even if you are lowest level you can still get have to go against someone with the max bounty on their head.
The hit boxes sometimes really screw up
If you accidentally disconnect from a match you can't reconnect.
Alot of general glitches
The game has no tutorial (witch would really help the difficulty curve problem.)
The fact that it wants you to purchase skins in a paid moba, an early access one at that.
Playing with friends is a pain. Every time you start the game you have to invite them to the lobby witch is normal. But after the match is over it kicks them and you have to re invite your friends to the lobby to play another match. At one point we all had to restart our clients to even to connect to each other.
Now I know its early access but this really need to be addressed since this is a multiplayer game and playing with friends is a big draw to the game. Unfortunately the hassle to get with friends almost isnt worth it.
Despite all that the game is rewarding and addictive enough to encourage you to climb that brick wall of difficulty curve, and the fights are so fast and fun that the game will keep you playing all the way to High Noon.