Rogue-Like games like Immortal Redneck are something of an enigma. They’re usually sparsely played but highly addictive. There have been some great examples of this in recent memory. Games like the masochistic Binding of Isaac and the masterpiece Everspace drained hours out of my life in the hundreds and have gained cult followings with high praise across the board. However, I’ve never been able to fathom why more games of this kind don’t pop up more. With the correct concept, Rogue-Like games have the potential to become hugely successful. The replayability factor that this style of game provides is massively valued in today’s saturated video game market. Maybe even more of a reason for this high value set on replayability comes from the maturity of gamers longing for a challenge and as time goes on players are becoming progressively more skilled at conquering that challenge.
For those not familiar with the genre of which I speak, settle down for a history lesson. The term Rogue-Like spawns from the 1980’s classic Rogue. The concept is simple, you’re given one life to delve into the numerous levels of the game and get as far as you possibly can. Once death ensures your previous progress is now wiped from existence and you must start from the beginning. Immortal Redneck expands on this concept to create a more Rogue-Lite experience, once you die you must begin again but keep the currency collected in the previous run to purchase upgrades and various other items to help you on your next run.
Immortal Redneck is a First Person Shooter based around these concepts. Developed by small indie studio Crema, it combines fast-paced gameplay with a modest amount of variation to achieve enough replayability to keep it interesting for multiple hours but unfortunately, it does fall on one or two petty issues that for me stunt its potential as a long-lasting contender. For starters, I’d like to discuss the pieces that line up as positives in Immortal Redneck’s favour. Visually the game is easy on the eyes and I can’t recall a moment that I didn’t enjoy the colours, textures and particle effects that fill the screen amongst the mayhem, especially towards the latter phases of the game in which enemy monsters are in abundance.
The only issue I have with the game’s visuals is in the direction that the developers decided to take with the art-style. Taking control of a random Redneck that yippe-kay-yays and hoots like the boozers from Redneck Rampage are all well in good and in fact fantastic for comedic value. But putting that character into a world of ancient Egyptian mythology? It makes little sense to me. I get a very strong Serious Sam vibe but in Serious Sam we had blood guts and an action hero that would fit in any situation as long as he was killing things. They try to add the comedic value inside the Egyptian theme but it mostly comes across as child like. This is where the confusion hits, the game is classed as a game for adults, Redneck swears a lot and uses adult humour on numerous occasions, but the game world is so child-friendly. There’s no gore to speak of and the enemy design could have been adopted from any number of children’s cartoons or video games. The game could have gone in two ways that for me would have made it into something of a hit. Drop the potty mouth hero and give it a more child friendly approach to lower the rating. Or string up some dead bodies around the world, add gibs, blood, and gore. I just don’t understand the approach of making a very light hearted and child friendly world and then drop a main character obsessed with booze, women, guns and swearing. A petty issue I know but it’s one that does break my overall feelings towards the game.
I enjoyed the approach to the progression system and the power curve is well balanced. The system presents itself in a talent tree style that many will be familiar with. Gain gold on your runs, spend that on levelling up your hero. I never felt too powerful but also never felt too weak to get through the harder stages. Once polishing off bosses using one of the selected starting classes you are given the opportunity to continue from the last boss killed to avoid frustration in having to spend another couple of hours reaching the same point of the game.
This is where I reach the sound design of Immortal Redneck, another up and down affair that excels in some areas but fails in others. The music score is above par in my eyes or ears I should say. Without changing too much it manages to maintain the Egyptian style that the developers were aiming for but still adds enough variation and excitement to not create an ear-sore. The enemies possess distinctive contrast in their delivery and each is easy to hear if you need to know what you’re about to go up against. Where the sound design raises questions, however, is in it’s weapons. The sounds of the guns when switching are top notch and all ring out with satisfying clicks and clanks of the reloads. However, the firing of said weapons left me disappointed. All lack fidelity and power, half the time I couldn’t notice the difference between the more traditional guns like the Assault rifle and the Pistols and could have been holding pea shooters for all I knew. The switching and reloading animations seemed to possess more volume. Also, this game definitely takes the cake for the most unsatisfying sounding AK-47 in any game I’ve ever come across.
The gameplay, save for the unsatisfying impacts and feel of the weapons, is fantastic, however. Running at breakneck speed collecting a huge variation of weapons and power-ups to lay waste to the enemy is always a great joy in any game and a climbing mechanic in tandem with a sprint button make this even smoother. Also, bosses are really well thought out and require genuine skill to defeat. Level design is solid and contains many different mini-missions to complete that usually involve intense platforming. One interesting point to make about the game is also is in its twitch features. Evidently aiming for streamers to help the games small marketing campaign, Crema has added a way to hook up the game to a streamers Twitch chat. As the streamer plays the game the chat may make choices in what happens in the game in certain situations, do they give the player a really bad Scroll that causes all bullets to consume two units of ammo? Or maybe they gift the play with a big attack upgrade?
If you liked fast-paced shooters or Rogue-likes then you’ll probably be able to see Immortal Redneck’s appeal and I did enjoy playing the game. It’s one of those games that if you can get past the one or two issues, holds a ton of substance. Replayability is a big seller these days and Immortal Redneck holds true to that concept.