While zombies may be one of the most overused elements in gaming, another one that is right up there is the use of a post-apocalyptic worlds. How many times have you played a game where you’re one of the last remaining survivors wandering the wasteland in search of food, loot, or whatever? I know I’ve had my fill of those games. In fact, one of the hottest games out right now, Fallout 4, is exactly that. So how can you compete with such a high caliber game like that if you’re a little guy trying to get a piece of that wasteland? Simple. Make a game about a “robot” in a post-apocalyptic world where humans no longer exist. Poncho is just such a game where our metal hero is on a journey to discover what tragedy has befallen the world around him.
Published by Rising Star Games and developed by Delve Interactive, Poncho is a 2-dimentional, open world game. Unlike other 2-D games however, Poncho can traverse the different layers in his world. This is a unique parralax-platformer where Poncho can jump between the foreground, background, and mid-ground making for a very interesting and different type of game. Parallax scrolling has always been around in 2D games but usually you only play on the foreground while the mid-ground and background move at slower speeds to give the illusion of depth. In Poncho, you can move between these different layers.
For those into retro gaming, the art style in Poncho is a real treat. The art isn’t super pixelated like from the 8-bit generation but more like 16 or 32-bit era. They are really crisp and colorful with a lots of detail in each object. Even the environment is beautifully rendered. Lots of attention is given to every layer in the game which makes sense since Poncho is about exploring each of them. Another really nice touch is how each layer can go transparent if it’s in front of a layer you’re currently on. It allows you to see the layer you’re currently on while still being able to see what the layer in front looks like.
The graphics isn’t the only stand out features in Poncho. The story is also quite interesting despite it being another story about a post-apocalyptic world. You’re a robot in search of his creator in a world that’s only populated by other robots, robots with no owners. It’s up to you to discover what happened and how to bring the human race back to existence.
Gameplay wise, much of it is just exploration and solving puzzles to advance. There aren’t any enemies in your way or bosses to defeat. This is a platformer whose main focus is to explore the rich environment you’ve been thrown into and to solve the mysteries that lay within.
- Discover a charming open-world adventure brimming with personality and memorable creatures as you attempt to uncover what happened
- Get lost in the multi-layered musical journey that is Poncho‘s incredible soundtrack -In Poncho the gameplay and soundtrack are intrinsically linked
- Embrace the freedom to go anywhere – explore at your own will, this land is yours to traverse as you see fit
- Interact with every little creature. Every area is filled with randomly generated ecosystems of mysterious beings and robots, all co-existing and reacting to every movement Poncho makes.
Poncho is indeed an interesting take on the classic platform game. The use of multiple layers that comprise of each level really makes you think about what you can do and where you can go. This makes the game into a semi-environmental puzzler in which you have to figure out which plane to travel on in order to further your progress. While it is a neat concept, sometimes it just gets in the way. Some times when you’re on the background or mid-ground, anything in front of that can block your view at times. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Not only that, it’s sometimes hard to tell what layer certain elements are located on, especially if they are floating. With that said, much of it then becomes trial and error. While not necessarily a bad thing, it can slow you down and become frustrating. There were many times I would try to jump on a ledge only to find out that it was located on a different layer.
Aside from the these issues, Poncho is still a really fun game to play. I love the art in the game and the different layers in the environment really give it depth. There’s a lot to explore in this game since different layers can take you to new areas you couldn’t access before. Overall, if you’re a platform game fan, I do suggest picking Poncho up, especialyl if you like exploration and solving puzzles.
Review code provided to us by the publisher/developer.
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