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The Incomplete Enchilada: Secret Ponchos Early Access

Spaghetti Western deathmatch

There aren't enough games set in the Old West, whether it be Wild, Weird or Wooly. Over here in the land of PC, the absence of Red Dead Redemption is oft-lamented and the rather splendid Call of Jaurez: Gunslinger stands all but alone on the frontier in the modern era (in this instance, 'the modern era' is everything I can remember from the last couple of years given two minutes of thinking time). Secret Ponchos' arrival on Early Access cheers me because it fills the gunslinging gap in my life with admirable style. It's an isometric PvP shooter that encourages tactical play and has wonderful ricochet sound effects.

Anyone know what the foley process is for that ricochet effect? Surely it's not actually anything to do with a gunfight? Probably an exploding yam. I also wonder if there's a commonly used version - the equivalent of a Wilhelm Scream.

The Early Access release currently contains three maps and two game modes, including Team Domination in 2v2 and 4v4 variants. There are four outlaws to choose from, shown in the video above, and a reputation system assigns perks and bounty points. The latter mean that successful players are more valuable targets.

Buying in at this point will cost you $14.99/£8.24 and the first DLC character is included in the price, as soon as it becomes available. The developers have included a paragraph regarding DLC on their Steam page:

We are taking a very non-aggressive approach to DLC, making sure the base game is a complete and solid standalone package. We are passionate about expanding our roster of Spaghetti Western Characters after launch. Our goal is for DLC to expand the Secret Ponchos universe, thereby offering our community new experiences as opposed to any monitization or "pay to win" systems. This way we can keep developing new content as long as players want to see diversity and expansion in Secret Ponchos.

Sounds fair enough to me. A controller is necessary to play at present, although the developers are working on mouse and keyboard control for support further down the line.

In the interest of full disclosure regarding my Western sensibilities, let it be known that I believe The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance to be the greatest film in the genre.

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About the Author

Adam Smith

Former Deputy Editor

Adam wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2011-2018, rising through the ranks to become its Deputy Editor. He now works at Larian Studios on Baldur's Gate 3.