Half fighter, half MOBA, Secret Ponchos has is available to try for free on Steam until December 20th.
Praised by critics such as TotalBiscuit as an appealing and skill-dependent game in need only of more players, Secret Ponchos has had a generally positive reception, including presently holding an over 75% approval rating on Steam. Previously released on the PlayStation 4, Secret Ponchos made a name for itself as an engaging and competitive experience, appearing at events such as the EVO fighting games tournament to positive reception. In the hopes of growing the player base to keep the multiplayer game going, developer Switchblade Monkeys have decided to make their game free this week, perhaps to attract new players from the MOBA community.
Although Secret Ponchos resembles classic MOBAs at first glance with it's isometric perspective, heroes and team based combat, Secret Ponchos relies more on reactions and accuracy with it's gunplay based combat. Utilizing a style straight out of a Western, Secret Ponchos mixes that with a frenetic pace to turn the combat into a more reactionary, fighting game like clip. At the same time, it frees the fighting genre from the 2D confines, letting opponents dodge and attack from all over the map. Secret Ponchos focuses on matchups such as 1v1 and 3v3 combat that you enter through online matchmaking, either randomly or with friends. During the match each player can allocate a number of points toward enhancing their character's speed, damage, health, and other stats, or freely redistribute them at any time.
The main draw of this kind of combat is the need for quick reflexes in each action, and the total control offered by handling each shot, step, and dodge yourself. Line of sight determines most of the player's capabilities and taking cover both avoids incoming fire and hides you from searching opponents. Every aspect of the game is finely honed and needs sharp wits to control altogether. Though learning the controls can be a challenge, experienced players will master a finely tuned, triggerhappy game.
To help further attract players, Switchblade Monkeys are also running a special Concurrent User Reward Challenge. Throughout the week they are recording the highest number of players online at any given time, and measuring that against some milestones for rewards that they have announced. As more players play Secret Ponchos more rewards are unlocked and offer a variety of things, including a pretty big capstone prize.
- 100 Concurrent Players - They will release the track "Unforgiven Few" for free, and was the track that was used in their launch trailer
- 500 Concurrent Players - Switchblade Monkey's musician Chris Gillrie will add new music to the game with some tracks he's been working on
- 1000 Concurrent Players - Each player will get enough of the game's currency - Barter Coins - to get a skin for their favourite outlaw
- 5000 Concurrent Players - Switchblade Monkey will host an event where players can vote on the next skin they'd like to see made
- 10 000 Concurrent Players - A New Outlaw will be created by Switchblade Monkey
Given there are only 10 Outlaws, Secret Ponchos character classes, the 10k mark would represent a pretty big addition for the game. While the site hasn't been updated, a quick look at SteamDB shows that they have reached a player high of over 1300 since the event began (marking a new high water mark for it on PC), meaning the first rewards will be unlocked.
Secret Ponchos: Most Wanted Edition includes all ten outlaws, new maps, skins, and game modes. During the free week, and one day beyond, this enhanced edition is available on Steam for 50% off; only $7.49. If you're thirstin' for western-themed action and online competition, pick up Secret Ponchos before the 20th, or give it a try first to see if it's something you would enjoy.