Poncho was an unannounced game up until the day before Rezzed so we had no idea it was going to be there, and I’m kind of happy it was. Being developed by Delve Interactive, Poncho is a Mish-Mash of several types of platforming games, with the ability to move between fore and backgrounds, choosing your own paths and saving NPC’s as if they were Mudokons.
Following a little robot who wears a Poncho you will move between several levels on this wide world, starting in the middle of what would be a planet and moving left or right to find the exit to the next area. Along the way you will find keys to open up chests that unlock new abilities, either for breaking through Rock or getting the ability to revive the dead robots around the maps. Your main goal in the game is to find your Maker and essentially save the world from its post-apocalyptic state.
The game has some slight influence from SEGA, which can be seen in some of the art and assets in the game already. Moving around the different maps you will solve puzzles, explore the different landscapes and talk to the various characters you will meet or revive. At the beginning of each level you begin in the middle, either by climbing or falling into the level, the direction has been said to change the ending as well as the journey you take, with each path having different puzzles and people to meet.
The developer said that currently they are looking at 2 to 3 different endings and around 4 abilities to unlock, depending on how you play the game and the paths you take. The robots you save will also add to the ending cutscene depending on the amount you save, similarly to Oddworld but added onto the ending instead of replacing. The developer also stated that a speed-run with no robots and limited abilities someone could complete the game in round 4 hours, but with all the stuff in the levels you can extend that time greatly.
Being a platformer puzzle game you can expect a lot of failure and death to occur through your playthrough, with Poncho there are no penalties to that. If you die you merely respawn at the closest checkpoint, which are generously spaced around the maps. You also have the choice to skip some scenarios and come back to them later.
One of the main mechanics behind this game is the ability to move between the foreground and background, with a max of 6 different planes to move between. This increases the size of the maps immensely when you have to travel between different planes to platformer and puzzle solve, adding more depth to what could be a rather dull genre.
Fans of the Oddworld series might enjoy this retro styled game, with its bright colours, tight mechanics, puzzle solving and Robot rescuing. Hitting Steam, PSVita, PS4 and WiiU later this year, make sure to keep an eye out for this game.