Game Info:

Developed by: Delve Interactive
Published by: Rising Star Games
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Available on: OSX, SteamOS, Windows
Genre: Platformer
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Price: $14.99

Thank you Rising Star Games for sending us this game to review!

Poncho was pitched on Kickstarter in September of 2014. Although the campaign was unsuccessful, Rising Star Games published Poncho to make this multiple dimension puzzle platforming game a reality.  Gamers who are familiar with Fez will see many similarities with the retro soundtrack and visuals along with the perspective shifting capabilities.  However, instead of rotating the screen for a different view, players can shift between the foreground and background dimension to solve various puzzles.  While not available on the 3DS, Poncho would utilize its depth 3D effects perfectly.  

The premise is simple; humanity has ceased to exist and robotic and plant life is all that remains on Earth.  With his dimension shifting abilities, Poncho can go back and save mankind and perhaps get to meet his maker in the process.  While Poncho is mostly alone, he will meet some allies, like the Junkyard King who will reward him for reassembling his robotic army for him.



Strong Points: Unique platformer that lets you shift between the foreground and background to solve puzzles 
Weak Points: High frustration factor as the levels and puzzles can be confusing at times; short amount of gameplay if you’re good at it; the main menu is only accessible while you’re in a level
Moral Warnings: None!

There are eight levels and each one has a set amount of robots to fix as well as gems and keys to collect.  Gems are used as currency to buy additional keys from merchants.  The prices of the keys will go up after each purchase.   If you can’t afford to buy keys, take comfort in knowing that they can often be found inside of the levels if you’re willing to solve puzzles to reach them. The Junkyard King also gives keys out as a reward for fixing his robots.  

Keys are crucial to advancing the game to unlock newer levels. So be sure to have a couple of each color on hand at all times.  New abilities can also be found in the levels, but you have to work hard to earn them as they require going off of the beaten path to access them.   

Besides locating keys, broken robots, and gems, Poncho must find the teleporter to unlock future levels to advance the game’s story.  The levels typically consist of a few screens wide, but the meat of them is in their depth and height.  As Poncho walks to the left or the right, it won’t take long before some obstacle blocks his path and in order to move forward he’ll likely have to go in the foreground or the background to bypass it.  Switching between planes is also required to ascend and climb up onto ledges that reside in a different plane. 

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

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Switching between planes is easy enough once you have the controls mastered.  The left and right triggers switch between planes and the Xbox 360 controller works flawlessly in this game.  For an added challenge many of the platforms switch between the planes on regular intervals so timing them correctly is required.  Other platforms shift planes when you do and those are trickier to master.  

Despite the sixteen-bit graphics, they are nicely detailed and colorful.  The retro look and feel are charming and the soundtrack is available for $4.99 if you like it.  I thought it was decent, but nothing spectacular.

While Poncho is kid safe, the puzzles may be frustrating for people of all ages.  I found this title to be best enjoyed in small doses.  If you are good at it, it can be beaten in a few hours.  Because of those concerns, I wouldn’t recommend buying Poncho at full price.  It’s been on sale on Steam before and is worth looking into at a lower price.  

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Cheryl Gress

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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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