Immortal Redneck (Xbox One Review)
As time moves forward and games themselves become more profound, we as gamers can’t help but look backwards to the past were our love for gaming ignited. Be it dungeon crawling through the pixelated worlds of Zelda, crate smashing and hog riding in Crash Bandicoot or even gibbing with the best of them in some Quake deathmatch. While most developers adhere to pushing the limits of game development by creating exhaustively large and complex worlds to explore and creating enveloping narratives to get lost in, some developers tread backwards. Such as developer Crema with their game Immortal Redneck. And I love them for it.
Immortal Redneck is a composite accolade of sorts to games of the past. Most notably those of the FPS variety; Doom, Quake, Rise of the Triads. With lightning fast gameplay and a plethora of serious and silly weapons to use, daft one-liners and mobs of enemies rushing towards you — It’s hard not to make the comparisons.
In Immortal Redneck you assume the role of… well an immortal redneck, trapped in the middle of the desert within a valley confined by pyramids in each direction. Strong winds and sandstorms prevent him from leaving. With naught to do and nowhere to go he has no choice but to venture into the pyramids to kill his boredom. Pyramids are stacked into seven separate floors filled with a menagerie of trinkets, treasure and traps, with each floor gradually getting smaller as you reach the apex upon which you are faced with the obligatory boss battle styled in an arcade-like fashion. You’re tasked with gradually destroying weak points until they shift to a different phase– a standard template for many a roguelike game these days.
What really keeps Immortal Redneck alive is its use of its aforementioned roguelike stage design, wherein rooms are randomly pieced together for every new run of a pyramid you do — though enemies within remain largely unchanged. This keeps players guessing and on their toes, strengthening what would be routine gameplay and keeping it interesting. Secret chests hold scrolls that modify how the game plays; buffing enemies, removing weapons or even making bosses easier, as well as ‘Skill Rooms’ that task the player with adhering to a strict objective like not getting hurt or not doing harm onto others. All until you’re gunned down and need to start from scratch. And that’s what Immortal Redneck boils down to, a rinse and repeat escapade of killing enemies, dying and retrying with better character stats.
However, each unsuccessful run comes its own rewards. All the sweet coin you’ve been collecting from fallen enemies and hidden chests can be spent in your upgrade tree. Players can pay for simple permanent stat increases, greater gold finds or more health from pickups. But the most stand out options are the ‘Gods Favours’. These personas–I guess is the best way to describe them–alter your character’s stats and loadout depending on what god you choose. The immortal redneck character cannot be changed and starts with a typical loadout– pistol, shotgun and dynamite–and has a rapid fire ability to really wreck some havoc. This loadout can however be altered by equipping a gods favour, as other gods can start of with a variety of weapons from simple swords to large gatling guns and have largely different starting abilities too. Some weapons are even nods to the past like the rocket launcher being fashioned after Quake III’s design or the explosive crossbow which is clearly a nod to Gears of War’s’ torque bow. All of this once again double’s down on strengthening the core gameplay of Immortal Redneck by mixing up what would be stagnant routine gameplay–especially when mimicking FPS games from the 90’s–and living it up a bit, ensuring players never see the same outcome twice.
With all that being said and given that there are only a total of three pyramids to conquer that could be beaten relatively quickly, you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason to play on beyond maximizing your characters stats. Before exploration and ingenuity in design were the rewards that bestowed the player. Each pyramid is uniquely themed from steampunk design to futuristic aesthetics, all a marvelous feast for the eyes. However, all that ceases at the end game; there is little else to do than run laps through past pyramids maximising your gold gains or equally opting to venture into the ‘Infinite Pyramid’ that sees an endless run of floors for the player to try and overcome. And it all eventually breaks down into a numbers game at the end– getting more gold coins to max out your character stats with zero forward progression.
Immortal Redneck is an ode to the past for those who are looking for a melody once forgotten. But it’s those exact veterans of the genre who’s own experience may leave them wanting. While Immortal Redneck sports a plethora of goodies to keep things fun and interesting, it’s all very short lived depending on your own experience. Nonetheless, Immortal Redneck does the genre justice by keeping it fast and frantic with plenty of explosions and enemies to boot. I just wish there was more of it.