Bang! And you’re dead. Well, until you respawn and start shooting again, that is. Developped by PixelMetal, an indie studio, Sombrero: Spaghetti Western Mayhem is a short but funny party game that quickly turns to pandemonium once you get four players in the action.
In a handful of arenas, the players, be it grouped together on a couch or linked over the internet, have a simple objective: score more points that the others. To this end, the basic principle stays the same: you must shoot, shoot again, and maybe dodge the incoming bullets, hatchets, mines or arrows sent your way.
Battles take place in four similar, but distinct modes: the classic Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, but also Loot, where you must collect more money than the other players, and Banditos, where the goal is to hold on an idol for the longest time possible without dying in the process.
Visually speaking, Sombrero has a very cartoony feeling, with splashy colors and a detailed (if slightly goofy) scenery. As for the gameplay, if using a keyboard and a mouse seems to be possible, the prompts for Xbox buttons give it away: Sombrero is best played with a controller. The left or the right trigger to jump, the left joystick to move, and the right joystick to fire. Bullets and other ammo can sometimes pass through walls, or bounce off them, depending on the ammo type and the level design. It’s also necessary to pay attention to TNT barrels and gaping holes in the ground: both have a tendancy to kill instantly.
If Sombrero is not that spectacular in itself, the large variety of playable characters (from a cowboy to a skeleton, an astronaut or even a witch, for example) and the quick nature of a match make for some hectic fun. Playing over the internet is not quite as entertaining as having all your adversaries in the same room, but using Steam’s voicechat system or a program like Discord almost make up for it.
In a sense, Sombrero is very similar to another game of the same type, Ultimate Chicken Horse. If the core principles are different (one is a deadly obstacles-filled race to the finish, the other a battle to the death with guns), they both use a similar art style and rely on a couch-centered gameplay.
And as with Ultimate Chicken Horse, the question stands: is the game worth the price? Sombrero is a fun game. But is it $16.99 fun? Let’s hope PixelMetal adds more game modes, characters, maps and weapons. Otherwise, its price would seem a little too steep. At least, until there’s a sale.