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Secret Ponchos is an arena shooter set in a Spaghetti Western universe and inspired by elements of League of Legends and Team Fortress 2. The game uses twin stick controls and shows the characters in the environment from an elevated third-person, almost top-down perspective. The fighting mechanics are reminiscent of the close combat in ARTS/MOBA games. There are different outlaws to choose from with very different abilities with generally two types of weapons or attacks with unlimited ammo, but also reload times. Characters can seek cover, have to use the environment and can evade in various ways, emphasizing a skill-based approach to fights as most attacks require very precise aiming for both direction and distance, anticipating the opponent's movement and capitalizing on mistakes.

The game was first released for the PC as an alpha version and early access title in June 2014. In December 2014 it was officially released for the PS4 as a commercial title, but also right away free for all PlayStation Plus users and with only optional alternative character skins as DLC. The PC version left early access in October 2015 as Most Wanted Edition, a heavily expanded version compared to the PS4 edition. In February 2015 the PS4 received the Hunting Ground update that introduced Plaza and The Mines as two additional free maps. On 24th February the two characters Gordo and The Wolf were introduced as commercial DLC for the PS4.

The first official release as a PS4 version was with five characters (Deserter, Kid Red, Killer, Matador and Phantom Poncho) and four maps. Each outlaw has a primary and a secondary weapon with multiple options. Kid Red for instance has two firing modes (rapid shots and twin blast) for the primary weapon, and the secondary weapon is dynamite that can be tossed from a distance. Other characters such as the Matador rely entirely on close combat with a banderilla, sword and cape, while the Deserter has a medkit as a secondary function. Many weapons also have effects such as stunning an opponent, critical hits or wounded (bleeding damage). Almost all weapons, also the melee ones, needs manual reloading that takes some time. Many abilities also support charging, often with different effects than through a regular attack. There is a cover option and an option to evade usually through a roll, but this consumes a stamina meter with a limited amount available, different for each character. Stamina can be recharged by standing still to rest. There are also tertiary or special attacks for characters, combined with a special types of evasion.

The player creates a custom outlaw based on a character and gets to distribute upgrade points for the statistics damage, fire rate, health, speed, stamina regeneration, to tune a character for a specific playing style, also optionally customizing further through skins. Each character also has different starting statistics based on the same statistics as the upgrade points, but also range. The PS4 version was launched with three game modes: free-for-all, team deathmatch, and domination (a tug-of-war based on the amount of kills). Multiplayer is available as online games for up to eight players, split-screen one-on-one, or split-screen cooperative online games against other teams. The later PC version has no offline multiplayer of split-screen functionality, but adds improved matchmaking and the ability to add AI-controlled bots to games. Matches are either played as private games with friends and combined with AI players, or a public matches. The public games are ranked and successful players get a bounty on their head (PC version only), providing more reputation to other players who get to kill that character in games. Players with a bounty eventually rank up and get better titles and stats. The game modes are free-for-all and team, but the PC version also introduced a Posse Leader mode based on protecting a certain character in a gang with one life while all other characters have a unlimited amount. It was eventually removed along with the 3-on-3 mode.

Other PC exclusive elements are three additional characters (ten in total): Gunman, Mad Trapper and Warmonger. Gunman has rapid fire and uses his lawman's badge to mark the opponent to other gang (team) members for a short while, Mad Trapper can put down traps and shoots with a hunting rifle, and Warmonger attacks with a tomahawks and a war club. The PC version also has an interactive tutorial, two additional maps (eight in total), and a single-player arcade mode where each character has to beat a series of characters in one-on-one fights in a best of three.


Secret Ponchos Windows Main menu for multiplayer games
Secret Ponchos Windows An overview of Kid Red's attacks and abilities
Secret Ponchos Windows Warmonger needs to get close to attack.
Secret Ponchos Windows Versus screen

Promo Images

Secret Ponchos Screenshot
Secret Ponchos Screenshot
Secret Ponchos Screenshot
Secret Ponchos Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Secret Ponchos: Most Wanted Edition" -- Steam PC release title

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User Reviews

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Critic Reviews Windows Oct 21, 2015 86 out of 100 86
Hardcore Gamer Magazine Windows Oct 13, 2015 4 out of 5 80
Twinfinite Windows Nov 22, 2015 4 out of 5 80
Gamegravy Windows Aug 26, 2014 7.3 out of 10 73
Brash Games Windows Dec 04, 2015 7 out of 10 70
Video Chums PlayStation 4 Dec 06, 2014 6.4 out of 10 64
Game Revolution Windows Oct 28, 2015 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60


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Contributed to by Sciere (585884)