There once was a time when the FPS genre was simpler than it is now. A time when online multiplayer, tactical drone strikes, and warfares set in modern surroundings were not too common. A time when playing the single player and only having single player wasn’t absurd, but the norm. Immortal Redneck is a title that harkens back to those days. Days that have sadly nearly been forgotten.
The story and reason for what occurs in the events of Immortal Redneck aren’t important. You, the player, the redneck, are in Egypt. You crash your dune buggy and die, but now awaken as The Immortal Redneck. In front of you are three pyramids and inside are things to shoot. From this foundation the game begins — a game that is all about run and gun fun.
The formula is easy, there are three pyramids and you got to get to the top of each one. As you enter a new room, there are a number of enemies and you have to kill them all to unlock the doors, you then proceed to the next room do the same until you reach the stairs and get to the apex where a nasty boss will be hanging around. Like the common stereotype of rednecks, it is very simple, but if it works what’s the problem?
Of course there is a little bit more to it then just that. The game incorporates roguelike elements thus mixing up the layout of the pyramids each time you enter. As well as rooms with enemies to kill, there will also be ones with certain tasks to complete to reach a chest. Time trial, pacifist and don’t get hit are the common criteria to earn your reward. The contents of the chest vary, from guns, scrolls to give you a perk or curse, health and gold to spend.
Having a similar style of humour to something like Serious Sam (If I remember correctly), The Redneck will spout out curses, references to Back to the Future and Half-Life, as well as other things. The humour won’t be for everyone, but it isn’t so intrusive that it hinders the enjoyment.
More importantly though is how our protagonist makes his way through the pyramids. The formula for the title repetitive, but the devs have done an excellent job of offsetting tedium by throwing in more guns and scrolls than you can shake a stick at. I’ve put in a good 12 hours of play and still have found new guns. Pistols, shotguns, potato launcher (Yes, that’s right), bat nest, rocket launcher, crowbar, machine gun, uzi, ra’s staff, electric sword. A good healthy amount reaching over 50 and varying enough to to mix up each run. Then the scrolls found in chests or dropped by enemies mix things up as well and just like with the weapons these will benefit or hinder you in ways you expect like more damage or running slower, but also have wackier side effects like having a chance of turning enemies into chickens.
To keep the momentum going with variety the game boasts over 35 enemies. Every now and then some may be quite similar to other types. For the most part all act in unique ways and will keep you on your toes. Skulls will fly towards you, arrows will be shot, laser beams from all the way across the rooms will take aim. The action just doesn’t stop. I also mentioned a boss at the apex of each pyramid, but I should make note that there is also one half way through each one.
These bosses are all well designed and challenging. It’s been a long time since I had a boss fight in an FPS and this game made me scratch my head as to why they aren’t as common. This is one part though where some of my complaints spring to mind. The roguelite nature of the game meant that sometimes the scrolls and weapons you’ve picked up just make the encounter too easy or too hard. It can be a shame as two bosses I struggled with, but when I did beat them I did it with relative ease thanks to finding a rocket launcher and infinte ammo.
Outside the Pyramid
I made mention of gold and on the outside is where you can make use of it. You’ll find a skill tree and a merchant outside. The skill tree offers standard upgrades like health, attack, defence and speed. It also lets you unlock classes to equip on your next run. These classes will start with different weapons, stats and also have an active and passive skill. Some active skills include turning all pick-ups in sight to health or temporary invincibility and some passive skills include carrying 4 guns instead of 3 and being able to run backwards. It is a nice touch, but I never found the classes to vary enough to feel drastically different as sometimes I forgot to even make use of the active skills. Finally the merchant will sell medallions that you can equip. You can only equip one and these will alter stats or where you start in a pyramid.
It isn’t all good, but certainly close. Immortal Redneck does have some small issues. First of all the game did crash about 4 times when I played. Working out roughly once every 3 hours. This wasn’t so bad, as the game autosaves after each room so it just meant I had to reboot the game. My biggest complaint would have to be after clearing all three pyramids there isn’t much to do. There is an infinite pyramid that is unlocked, but apart from that you’re finished. It isn’t a short game, as it did take me a decent amount of time to clear and that was thanks to the difficulty as it isn’t easy, but for the most part feels fair. Finally as fun as the action it is, I felt like it’d be nice if there were just a few different objectives other than kill all enemies to proceed. Finally whilst online is not needed, local co-op would’ve been awesome, but sadly is not here.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Immortal Redneck was provided by Stride PR.