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PAX Prime 2013: Secret Ponchos hands-on

PAX Prime 2013

Tracking down the Secret Ponchos booth was a test in itself. Tucked tightly in a back corner of the convention center, only the most diligent explorers could ever find it. And when asking around for where to find the booth, we were only met with a look of confusion and several variations of “we haven’t heard of anyone handing out ponchos.” Clearly the title was meant to be interpreted literally.


“Strategy [must be] employed to come out as the best in the West”After finding our bearings, we hopped into a frenzied local multiplayer match with a couple of the developers and another attendee. The stylized western brawl-em-up comes from Vancouver studio Switchblade Monkeys. They’re part of a big push from the big Canadian cities which are crowded with independent talent fresh out of the big publishers.

Secret Ponchos‘ heart is in the feverishly paced multi which we demoed in free for all. The characters move quickly and the action unfolds in a freeform way. There’s some finesse involved. The six outlaws operate differently and come set with unique loadouts, each with a gun and a special. It looks mindless enough to watch but playing is a different story. Reloads are manual, stamina must be managed, and strategy employed to come out as the best in the West.


“Character archetypes span from Eastwood to Kinski”There’s a real Italian western feeling to it, with beloved tropes locked in. Character archetypes span from Eastwood to Kinski, hitting the right marks. Each character also finds their own stage and mechanics play into that, with abilities to take cover and set cover aflame. There’s more nuance than is readily apparent and it’s simply fun to pick up and play.

Secret Ponchos provides a positive local multiplayer option early for the PS4. With its heavily stylized tone and mechanics that prove themselves, it’s an indie underdog worth watching. Switchblade Monkeys’ homage to the western is set for release later this year.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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