Poncho is a side scrolling platformer currently on Kickstarter, targeting PC, Mac, Linux and Ouya. The kicker with this one is that you navigate through each level by switching between its background and foreground layers of depth – for example, you might run up to a wall, and switch to the layer behind, so you can move forward where it’s clear.
Developer: Delve Interactive
Other games have dabbled with this concept before, like Donkey Kong Country Returns with its barrels that launch you in the background; I think some Sonic and Mario games have done something similar too (I’m ignoring comparisons to Fez, as that game rotates the levels, which is a different concept). Where Poncho differentiates from games like these is that it lets you switch layers at any time, using the shoulder buttons on the gamepad.
One consequence of this is that you can very easily switch to an empty layer and fall to your death. Fortunately, Poncho gets around this by giving you infinite lives and applying time limits to levels, and the game is quick to register a pitfall and respawn you at the last point you were on the ground, so frequent deaths don’t significantly interrupt gameplay.
The mechanic of running and jumping through levels and simultaneously switching between layers has potential to make for an enjoyable game, even if despite its unique twist on the mechanic, it still felt like something I’ve seen before.
If you want to help Kickstart the game, you can do so here. Unfortunately, they’re far short of their goal, so if you really want to see this game finished, you’ll want to dig deep!