Poncho is an upcoming platformer which sees you shifting the perspective across three layers. We spoke to the developers, Delve Interactive, to find out more.
Hello Delve Games, thanks for talking to us! Can you tell us a little bit about Delve and how you got into developing games?
Hi, well we’ve all been doing this awhile now, after school and stuff, this was just what we wanted to do and it’s all we’ve really done since. This game started over 3 years ago, when myself & Jack Odell (The designers of the game) decided to go all in and make an ambitious indie game of some kind… that became Poncho.
Poncho certainly looks interesting. Can you explain what it is all about?
Poncho is about a little robot who wears a poncho, on a journey to find his father, the maker of all robots. The game is set in a post apocalyptic world, where humanity has been wiped out and robots are left to find a purpose in a new land filled with lush wildlife.
The main mechanic of the game is the ability to switch between layers, so you play in 2D, but you can move into the foreground and background at will, so there’s a literal added depth of gameplay. In addition, Poncho is open world, so you can pretty much tackle any area however you want.
Also while people might see the cute characters and colourful artwork and think “Oh it’s another pixel platformer”, there’s a much darker storyline compared to similar games than you might think… the few people that have seen the game compared it to Earthbound a little.
What was the inspiration behind the game? What games would you describe it as a mix of?
It was mainly inspired in its design by games like Braid, Super Meat Boy and Cave Story. But the idea for the plane-shifting mechanic came from old Sega games we used to play; we’d look at those old school side scrollers and think: “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just press a button and you could explore those mountains or hills in the background?”. So that’s what we did with Poncho.
A lot of gamers have indicated to us that it invokes a similar feeling to Fez. Albeit with its own identity. Was that intentional?
Yeah, we get that a lot. We take it as a compliment really, but it is all coincidental. I can see why people view these two games together, they’re both pixel art platformers with a unique gameplay mechanic, but that’s where the similarities end.
How much gameplay would you say gamers can experience with Poncho?
In terms of completion time? It’s difficult to say, since there are multiple paths you can take to complete the game as well as multiple endings, but I think most people can expect about 5 hours of gameplay. It’s a lot longer if you try to explore everything though…
Is there anything you can tell us about the PlayStation version that isn’t already known?
Not really… at least nothing that can be revealed until the game is out. The PlayStation version of the game does have cross-play saves though and of course, trophies!
What made you want to bring the game to the Vita?
I own a Vita myself, and it’s my favourite handheld device. We have an ambition to get Poncho on as many platforms as possible, so we just had to add the Vita!
Are there any obvious differences in terms of content or performance from the Vita version to PS4?
Well the Vita is our lowest spec platform, so there are a few slight differences. Poncho is actually pretty demanding technically, due to the level of detail in the game there can be literally thousands of images/sprites on screen at any given time. Mainly it’s just a toning down of the lighting effects and maybe not so many little decorative critters scuttling around the world, but other than that, the game is the same.
What challenges, if any, did you have to face with Vita development?
It wasn’t so bad, we use the Unity engine so a lot of the “under the hood” stuff for porting is done for us. The only real complication was getting the visual effects just right for the change in hardware.
Do you have a release date in mind with Poncho? Is it likely to arrive at the same time as the PS4 version or do you anticipate a delay*?
Poncho will be released this Autumn, so very soon! We’re hoping to announce our release date shortly, and yes, all our platforms will be releasing at the same time.
*We conducted this interview prior to Poncho was released, obviously without a Vita version. We will update you when we know where the Vita version is.
Are there any games that stand out for you on the Vita? What are your favourites?
Well in terms of exclusives, I really liked Gravity Rush. I also enjoy the Final Fantasy spin offs like Dissidia, then there’s indie games like Spelunky!
What’s next for Delve, and would you want to develop for the Vita again?
We’ve got some things up our sleeve… the next project is going to be something small and experimental so we can refresh ourselves for the next big project. We’ll always try and bring our games to every platform we can, so expect more Vita gems from us in the future!
We would like to thank Dan from Delve for his time with this interview! Poncho will be released later this year.
This interview first appeared in Issue 7 of The Vita Lounge Magazine. Stay tuned to the magazine for more new and exclusive content soon!