By Jaran Chance
This progression system for some reason just feels incredibly hollow and leaves no sense of accomplishment. Most of the game’s puzzles fail on this front as well, completing the puzzles blends into what seems to be a disappointingly linear adventure. This would be fine if the puzzles didn’t turn out to be so frustratingly unforgiving most of the time. A huge part of the frustration in Poncho’s puzzles is the movement of your character.
If you’ve ever craved an adventure featuring a wee robot in a poncho, seamlessly jumping between foreground and background on a quest to save the entire human race then look no further, Poncho is the game for you. If not, well too bad, because I’m gonna talk about it anyway.
Poncho is pretty much the exact embodiment of an independently developed video game. The “about us” page simply lists three dudes, the coder/designer, the composer and the artist. The three of them likely created the game on their desktops from home which makes the effort a whole lot more impressive.
But time spent with Poncho will begin to highlight the developers’ inexperience. Poor level design, infinite death mishaps, and other wonky features steal the spotlight from some of the games worthwhile defining features.
Poncho’s protagonist, also called Poncho, is a cute little blue robot on a mission to bring humanity back from extinction. Poncho was to be activated only if its creator’s plan failed and all of humanity was eradicated and what do ya know he seems to have destroyed all of human kind in what the remaining robots call the calamity. And so, Poncho must venture forth to reach a mysterious tower by finding teleporters in various settings. Progressing through these levels will require players to collect keys and little red diamonds used as currency to buy more keys.
platforms. Poncho can swap between foreground, middle ground and background and so can some platforms in the world. This wouldn’t be a big problem if they appeared less frequently and had any sort of discernable tempo to predict their motions. The story is interesting and worthwhile but is the time spent on the punishing puzzles a worthy trade-off?
Poncho’s biggest puzzle is how a game with so many charming mechanics and features manages to crumble apart so artfully. The pixelated art style of Poncho’s post-human Wonderland could charm even the most casual of players. The soundtrack is worthwhile and properly creates an atmosphere where desired. The controls are gleefully simple, and the story is original and intriguing yet somehow all of these components come together to create a hard to swallow pill.
Considering the circumstances of its birth, Poncho is largely a success, finding its way onto many of the commonplace game markets. The innovative gameplay mechanics, art style, and soundtrack all make the game worth experiencing but prepare yourself for some incredibly frustrating level design.