The concept behind Immortal Redneck likely owes its existence to substances or a fever dream. You are the titular redneck, with no given name, and find a warped reality in front of you as you exit from your sarcophagus. Mummified by a cult after a freak golf cart accident in the desert, you find yourself armed and faced with three looming pyramids. As you walk through the sandblasted courtyard of this unnamed land you are greeted by two stone sculptures, and are permitted to enter the center pyramid. At this point, you leave the only straightforward area of the game, and enter the unknown.
The abandonment of straightforwardness is necessary for how the game is structured. Immortal Redneck is a Rougue-Lite game, following some of the conventions of randomized play sessions, but leaving behind complete perma-death. The gameplay of Immortal Redneck follows you ascending the pyramids and clearing out the enemies in any room you enter of the labyrinth, with occasional breaks of challenge and loot rooms. The loot you find in the pyramids includes weapons, scrolls, and gold. The latter two will be discussed later.
To continue discussing the pyramids, their interiors are a pleasure to look at, with a great amount of detail put into the assets used across the rooms. Don’t expect to see the same rooms in the same order, however, as this is where half of the randomized gameplay comes from. The floors of the pyramids are premade rooms stitched together, with a staircase room to exit somewhere in the mix. These rooms appear to use a small group of presets for enemies to fill them, depending on which floor it used. So while the room selection is random, the foes you will return to the sands are not.
The enemy selection of Immortal Redneck is also varied and consistently seen. The game has a pool of enemies, with some being native to a specific pyramid, some appearing in any and all of them. The designs for the enemies are a mix of inspired concepts or generic enemy. One generic enemy type is a frog, and I can thank Serious Sam for giving me a small phobia of frog mobs in games. They jump towards you and hurt you from touch, and often are in groups in claustrophobia friendly spaces. One thing you’ll realize through sessions of Immortal Redneck is that enemies are easily gameable, with A.I. complexity going about as deep as a sub sandwich can go.
The real random element of sessions in Immortal Redneck comes from the loot you may find. To start, the weapons you will find in the pyramids are a real mixed bag, containing weapons that are decent tier, meh tier, and “This shalt not plague my inventory” tier. Of course, personal preference may be rearing its head, but it truly feels like only a good handful of them are satisfying to play with, and a disproportional amount of them are pistols. This game somehow made a mini-gun feel irritating to play with.
The first problem involves how accuracy works. You need to hit enemies – that has been established as a requirement. Now throw in the following elements: enemies that shoot projectiles that move at varying speeds of either painfully slow, or autobahn accident fast; ground hugging enemies that move at a variety of speeds and may be, or hold a weapon; and potential environmental hazards. These in and of themselves are fine; the makings of a great twitch shooter and keep you moving across the arenas. So why would you design a combat system that seemingly goes against this admittedly fun core?
Immortal Redneck uses an accuracy system similar to other FPS games, in which your accuracy decreases when you move. The difference is that while the decrease in accuracy isn’t that substantial in Immortal Redneck, it has a definite effect and separates the people who can compensate from those who get pissed at the gunplay because they cannot. I find myself in the weird middle ground; for I was able to compensate with adjustments, but the feel of the gun was already ruined. For example, it often felt like the shots of the mini-gun went outside the crosshair; or we have the case with the shotgun, which has a severe case of videogame shotgun syndrome. Have fun doing piss-poor damage to enemies a few yards away, because shotguns have a spread similar to how well I play darts. How the hell does a BLUNDERBUSS have better accuracy than a shotgun? Oh, it’s a pistol. Now it all makes sense.
As you can probably infer, the weapons are easily the weakest point in the game. Their sound design is about on par with my general opinion of the accuracy system, and reek of overused stock sound assets. Visually, the weapons greatly contrast with the scenery they will be used in. Ugly models that thankfully become white noise as you go through the rooms, but unappealing to look at regardless. Hell, two of the starter weapons look like the result of a drunken night between a firearms convention and a case of oversized peanuts. Take this as a rule: If it’s a pistol, assume they’re good. Assume everything else is garbage until use proves otherwise.
To finally get back on track, the second random bunches of loot are scrolls, which can either augment or neuter your session with either a clever or contrived event, randomized upon pickup. The positive scrolls really are unmemorable, but the negative scrolls are where the game either gets interesting or ceases to amuse. Some negative scrolls challenge you, such as removing the ability to manually reload or only being able to heal from slaying enemies; while others completely ruin the experience, such as complete loss of weapons, or the addition of fall damage. I really think this game needed more ways to break the flow of a speedy twitch shooter.
The terms of the scroll are also inconsistent, with some lasting the entire pyramid climb, while others evaporate when you exit the floor. I grabbed a scroll that took away all but one of my weapons at random, but essentially gave me a bottomless clip in return. This was a cool change of pace, and I actually enjoyed being a speedster with a shotgun – that was, until I got to the next floor to learn from a near death experience that I needed to reload again. This was never in the description of the scroll either.
The third loot drop is generic gold, which is spent after death or success at the literal skill tree, or the unlockable vendor. This is where the game gains its ‘lite’ suffix, as your session still keeps some progress after death. Through the tree, you can unlock alternate classes through a deity sponsor increase your stats. The vendor sells scrolls, rigged dungeons, and medallions. If you like consistent progress over starting completely over, Immortal Redneck will satisfy that desire for you.
Game performance is good, with no noticeable frame drops or input lag. With how fast the combat can be, this is a great thing for Immortal Redneck to have in its corner. Fights will only slow when you need them to, and even then it isn’t a guarantee. When you have weapons you like, and a good feel for how you move, the game really shines.
It really just sucks that the only thing getting in the way of that fast paced fun is often itself. One downside of critique is that a seemingly small problem can have a large impact on a game, but you feel the need to discuss it in detail. Perhaps the idiom of “mountains out of molehills” is appropriate to invoke here, but the small subtle hang-ups are often the ones that affect you the most. It only takes a small jagged edge on a smooth core to bring a great experience down to an average one; and in the end, that’s how I feel about Immortal Redneck. Shame, really.
★★★☆☆ “Decent – Like my car Ol’ Yeller, your mileage may vary.”
Immortal Redneck is currently available on Steam, with releases on Xbox One and PS4 slated to come sometime in the future.