In a world where the popularity of online gaming is so prevalent and popular, it’s interesting that games built around local multiplayer experiences should be making a comeback. Online eSports titles like League of Legends or DOTA 2 may be where the money’s at, but when it comes to accessibility you can’t overlook local multiplayer experiences like Divekick or Nidhogg.
Pitched as a blend of Super Smash Bros and Guacamelee, Sombrero looks to be a strong addition to this growing niche. Developed by New York-based PixelMetal, Sombrero is a 2D multiplayer brawler that sees up to four players take on the role of spaghetti-western warriors and do battle across a number of stages and modes.
As well as the usual deathmatch and capture the flag options, Sombrero also brings two modes of its own invention to the table. The first of these – Loot! – sees players scramble to collect money before time runs out while the other – Banditos – tasks players with protecting the coveted golden monkey skull for as long as they can.
We spent some time playing around with some preview code for the game and, overall, we came away pretty impressed and hopeful about what the final game will offer. That said, the controls did take a little bit of getting used to. In particular, the tying of the jump button to the trigger required us to have a little bit of patience to adjust to.
However, the core gameplay of Sombrero definitely won us over with the fun and explosive weapons on offer. The combat felt a bit like real time Worms with chaos and explosions spewing forth from each player. Some stages favor specific weapons more than others but things managed to stay pretty balanced. Though aside from a ring-based beam weapon, the selection was a little bit vanilla with the usual trio of pistol-rifle-shotgun present and accounted for. Hopefully, the final product includes some more unorthodox armaments that throw more than differently shaped projectiles into the mix.
If there’s something that you can’t fault Sombrero on – it’s the game’s stylish presentation. It executes its own brand of Wild West mayhem – striking a good balance between paying homage to its pulpy inspirations and showcasing a distinctive style of its own. The soundtrack pays big dividends here – heightening the experience of matches to a considerable degree.
The build of Sombrero we played was solid – where PixelMetal needs to go from here is to add MORE. They’ve succeeded in making a local multiplayer game that’s immediately fun and very easy to pick up and play – but they need to add more options if they want to it be a game that keeps bringing people back. It needs more weapons, more stages and more characters. Some sort of practice mode where you can learn the ropes against AI players wouldn’t go amiss either.
Local multiplayer gaming is a growing niche, but it’s also a competitive one and only time will tell whether Sombrero has what it takes to become a staple of the scene.