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Game Info:

Sombrero
Developed by: PixelMetal
Published by: PixelMetal
Released: To be determined
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux
Genre: 2D fighter
Number of players: 1-4
Price: To be determined

Thank you, Big Meanie PR, for sending us a pre-release build of this game!

Sombrero has been described as a mashup between Super Smash Brothers, Towerfall, and Capture the Flag. Set in an environment inspired by "spaghetti western" movies, the players compete against each other to complete various goals within the time limit. 

For those that don't know, in the 1960s, Western movies – featuring cowboys and outlaws in the American West – were popular. Several Italian directors made these movies, the most famous of which was Sergio Leone. Critics labeled these films "spaghetti westerns" because of the Italian directors; they also helped launch the career of notable actors like Clint Eastwood. Sombrero does have some elements of the Western genre – namely the three settings and a few of the characters – but I don't know if the person who designed the game is Italian.

The player controls one character from a wide roster. Characters include Western tropes such as the sheriff and the "mysterious stranger," but also odd characters like a cheese wedge, an undead gambler, and an astronaut. Unfortunately, the differences between characters is purely cosmetic - every character acts exactly the same and has the same powers – a single jump and a shot that can be upgraded by capturing different power-ups, such as a cannon or a shotgun. It only takes one shot to kill your character, whether it comes from a single shotgun pellet or an exploding barrel. 

Sombrero
Highlights:

Strong Points: Quick combat; colorful graphics
Weak Points: Different character choices are purely cosmetic; only three areas to battle; some graphic glitches; controls cannot be customized
Moral Warnings: Cartoony violence; one undead character; skull imagery prevalent

The music is an interesting blend of Western and chiptune. The graphics are colorful, and sport a retro look. It can be hard to tell what's happening when things get frantic, but the arrows over the characters' heads make it easier to spot your opponents. 

However, the controls are a bit disappointing. The game responds with keyboard commands, or with an Xbox-style controller. It was nice to discover that it recognized my Logitech controller, but since my controller lacks the extra joysticks, I was unable to make any attacks. I could move and select menu options, at least. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any ways to remap the controls, either on the controller, or on the keyboard. 

The biggest disappointment lies in the gameplay. It can be fun to bounce around and try to shoot your opponent, or to collect the money bags, depending on the mode you play. But it can grow dull before too long. In addition, at this time the only option is local multiplayer – although a single player mode is reportedly in the works, there doesn't seem to be much point – or much fun – in playing a deathmatch by yourself. It would be good to have a computer opponent to play against – or practice with – when a friend isn't around to pick up the other controller.

Sombrero
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 58%
Gameplay - 10/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Also, the lack of variety in the characters makes it seem like the choices are kind of pointless. At least Smash Brothers has characters with their own unique movesets, powers and abilities. In fact, this is pretty much the standard of the 2D fighting genre. I don't know if there are plans to give each character more variety to their moves, but I do find the idea of a 2D-style fighter in a Western setting to be a fun idea. Too bad it can't be found here.

I did have a couple of minor issues where the screen's resolution had weird results when changing between full screen and windowed mode. The game initially began as a small rectangle in the middle of a grey screen. I switched to windowed mode and changed the resolution, and all I could see was the upper left corner of the game screen until I quit the program. It took a bit of adjusting, but I eventually got it into a position where I could play the game and actually see what was going on.

When a character is killed, a cartoonish skull will briefly float over their body. There are a few other instances where skulls and dead bodies can be seen, but nothing terribly graphic. There doesn't seem to be any other moral issues with the game at this point, but things might change as the game gets further development.

Sombrero can be entertaining in small doses, but grows dull quickly. As it stands right now it has potential... but so far, that's about it. Potential. It will need to have more substance before it could really be considered a game worth purchasing.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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