Hands-on preview: Poncho, the side-scrolling game with the three-plane system

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I’ve only played a good 15 minutes of Delve Interactive’s upcoming game Poncho and I can already say that it is one of the most unique platformers I have ever played. Despite the friendly, adorable art-style, the premise of Poncho is a dark one: a young robot wearing a poncho wakes up to find that humans are gone and now only robots coexist with nature. He then sets off on a quest to find his creator (or his father) and figure out just how this apocalypse happened.

What separates Poncho from other platformers is the three-plane system. Players get to easily jump between the foreground, middle-ground, and background with a press of the shoulder buttons. It took some getting used to and I occasionally forgot that L1 (I was playing on PS4) moved me back and R1 moved me forward. The game’s world is on a Z-plane, meaning you will eventually come back to where you started if you keep going left or right, giving the player more freedom to go wherever they please.

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Two things surprised me right off the bat: there are no enemies to fight and you have unlimited lives. I then thought to myself: “Where’s the challenge going to be?” My question was soon answered when I was introduced to the first puzzle pictured below. The goal is to get to the top of the two pillars by using the blocks that move continuously through planes. The blocks on the bottom with the yellow rings only move when you move, just not always in the same direction. I must have fallen to my doom about 50 dozen times before I finally made it to the top, only to fall again right when the next puzzle showed its ugly face.

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Poncho shows great promise; it has so much going for it in terms of presentation and design. It uses the plane-system in a way that I’ve never seen it used before and I am curious to see how it holds up in the full game. It’s definitely one of my favorites that I played at publisher Rising Star Games’s media event.

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Poncho launches on September 10, 2015 on Steam (PC, Mac, Linux), PS4, Vita, and Wii U for $14.99.

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Joey Ferris
Joey Ferris 260 posts

l love to play games and write stuff about them. I can't play something and not tell anyone how I feel about it. Call it a sickness, because it is.

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