It’s high noon somewhere. Put on your spurs and saddle up with Somberero: Spaghetti Western Mayhem available now on Steam. This appears to be the first game released by developer PixelMetal. Lucas and I were able to go hands on with the game and now you have to sit through our thoughts.
Sombrero is a 2d, platforming, 4-player battle royal of both online and couch co-op action. There is a wide variety of characters to play as, from a squid cowboy up to a Dia de los Muertos gunslinger. All characters play exactly the same, the only difference is merely visual. There are multiple game modes to choose: deathmatch, capture the flag, loot and banditos. While these help keep things fresh the gameplay is largely the same, as you will jump around to navigate the environment while shooting your weapon 360 degrees at your enemies. Players are able to use the PC standard of keyboard/mouse but Sombrero also has controller support. Personally, it does appear that mouse users may have a slight edge due to the fact they will have a reticule to better aim their shots… But that won’t matter as you will not find someone to play against.
Sombrero overall has a pleasing art style. I found the visuals fit the theme well, on both backgrounds and the individual characters. Honestly, they are exactly what I would expect from a game like this as you’re really going to be focused on the action that is taking place on the screen not on what is going on around it. The characters tend to blend into the background a little too well which makes it a tad easy to lose yourself during frantic moments of gameplay.
Sombrero was fun in my limited sessions, but it is not without issue. Regardless of the control method used, the menus only display icons for a controller. How do you select a character with your keyboard? Simply mash random keys until you find the correct one. Spawn points are also a bit wonky. I was killed a few times and then would spawn right next to my opponent, easily returning the favor. Hopefully, things can be a bit better in a full 4 player game rather than just 2.
Unfortunately there just isn’t enough here to carry this game. While the stages are different from a visual standpoint they just end up feeling very much the same regardless of the hazards contained within. The real issue facing Sombrero right now, is that there are no games to be found online. I think it could make a chaotic mess having 4 players, but Lucas and I were only able to play against one another that was it. SteamCharts data are by now means the be all end all, but based on that data, there just isn’t anyone playing this game. Strictly focusing on the gameplay, the formula here just got extremely old.
Sombrero is a frustrating game for me. While I can appreciate the sort of “casual arcade” style of gameplay it presents, my true frustrations lie with how difficult it is to separate action from the background. For me, characters blend into the environment and bullets are hard to see. The frenetic action is already paced at a point where bullet dodging is difficult, so with everything flying around the screen it just felt like dumb luck more than skill. And that was just with two players!
Is Sombrero a game that is already DOA? Only time will tell. The bones in place here make for a fun time killer that would be great to play with friends. However, the current state of the game will not be suitable for the random player looking to pick this game up. While couch co-op is a nice addition to see, the average PC setup is not going to cater to this type of gameplay. Hopefully, the Xbox version fares better and pumps some new life into this one.