From the classic crusading of Indiana Jones and the heroics of Tom Cruise, all the way down to the tomb raiding antics of Lara Croft, we’ve seen many protagonists within our favourite movies and games drawn to the ancient pyramids of Egypt throughout their adventures. Each time has seen a different legion of enemies lying within too. But the ancient monuments aren’t set to disappear anytime soon and the latest adventure to arrive looks to bring us an all-new threat from within the pyramids. The man tasked with taking on the latest threat however isn’t your usual gung-ho hero. He is in fact a rather unlikely protagonist.
So, who is this Immortal Redneck? Well he is the nameless protagonist you’ll be stepping into the shoes of.
After tearing it up across the desert in his buggy, and then ditching it in a ravine, this redneck now finds himself waking in a casket, wrapped in bandages and with an unsatisfied hunger to shoot anything and everything that stands in his way. Fortunately, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that as in front of you sit three pyramids, and with an unknown force determined to keep you within touching distance of the entrance of each, there’s only one place to go – onwards and upwards.
To put things into perspective, Immortal Redneck is a FPS adventure with heavy rogue-like elements. There’s fast paced combat, an ‘arcade-y’ feel to the controls and randomly generated runs every time you step foot in the pyramids. In typical rogue-like fashion you’ll also find permadeath present, despite the rather misleading ‘Immortal’ statement in the title – along with an expanding skill tree and a number of different classes, each of which bring their own traits to the table.
The aim of the game is fairly simple – on paper at least. Your goal is to go into each pyramid and master each of the seven floors, along with the many enemies and fearsome bosses that reside in the rooms within, to try and conquer each one. Should you fail and perish, then you’ll come back via your newfound immortal abilities and rise again from the conveniently placed sarcophagus that sits just outside the entrance to the pyramids, whilst bringing any gold earned on your previous run with you to spend on new skills and abilities to help make that next attempt the one that counts.
Whilst that may not sound overly impossible, anyone familiar with the terms rogue-like, permadeath and randomly generated, will know that this isn’t an adventure made for those wanting a casual experience. To master Immortal Redneck you’ll need patience, skill and a lot of luck as the trek through the pyramids is tough to say the least.
At the start of the game, players only have access to one central pyramid, and if you want to see what’s on offer in both the second and third, you’ll need to best everything that comes at you in the first. Each of the pyramids are comprised of the same type of layout – there are seven floors overall, the first three include many rooms full of enemies, traps and the occasional treasure chest, whilst the third floor also homes the first boss. After the boss fight, players will need to progress through the even harder and smaller fourth, fifth and sixth floors before the eventual main boss fight that is found up on floor seven – the top of the pyramid. This is the same in each pyramid, with the only real differences between each being the fresh enemy types that appear and the general artistic design of the rooms and the traps they house.
At the start of each run, you will begin with three weapons, with these dependant on the god you’ve chosen as you start your new run. There are nine gods in total, all of which come with their own unique active skill, working as a magic ability and a passive skill as well as different boosted stats. Not all gods are available straight away, and to unlock new ones, you’ll need to invest the gold earnt in each run into the skill tree to unlock them.
My preferred is Apis, the God of Strength. His magic skill grants temporary invincibility whilst the passive skill allows you to carry four weapons instead of the usual three. The disadvantage? Seeing the double jump replaced with just a single. Each of the gods’ abilities are extremely different though and the one you choose will likely depend on your chosen playstyle. Another I have found myself dipping in to a good few times is Sekhmet, the Goddess of Healing whose active skill sees the ability to turn all items dropped from enemies into health regaining meat steaks. This is a great one to have for higher floors, especially if you’re hoping to reach the boss with a decent amount of health intact.
Whilst skill plays a large part in progression in Immortal Redneck, there is equal reliance on luck too. Throughout each run, there will be a multitude of scrolls that you’ll come across by way of killing enemies and within the treasure chest that appears throughout different rooms. Each of the scrolls act as modifiers and change key aspects within the game. There are countless ones available and whilst many will provide a positive trait such as quadruple jump, or infinite ammo for the current floor, there are equally as many that bring a negative impact, replacing your entire weapon loadout with random new ones and even one which made me chuckle to myself as it presented me with the statement “Shit! You get nothing! Good day Sir!”.
So, you have your enemies which can drop multiple items such as ammo, health, gold and scrolls. You have multiple rooms to clear and even some puzzle rooms that remove all enemies and instead come filled with traps, tasking you with taking no damage whilst getting to the chest. All of these things are what make up the majority of the gameplay within Immortal Redneck before the culminating boss fight in each pyramid. But what does the game have to keep you coming back for more?
Well in all honesty, it’s the gameplay that will keep you coming back. It’s addictive, it’s satisfying, and it makes for a great pick up and play adventure.
With each ‘death’, players can spend the coins earnt during the previous run on permanent stat upgrades via the skill tree. Alternatively, after you’ve bought the perk for it, you can also spend your gold in the shop to buy the one hit medallions – permanent gameplay modifiers. Or you could always buy a random scroll for a new run, or the ‘de ja vu’ option which allows for you to re-run the exact layout of the pyramid you just played – albeit without the option of earning gold coins.
It’s these things that can really give off the feeling that the next run could be the one that takes you to the top of the pyramid and past the boss, and as each run lasts no more than 15-20 minutes at most, it’s a great game to enjoy both in short bursts or for hours at a time.
What makes the experience even better is that despite only having a number of pre-built rooms, the way in which they are randomly placed in each run provides more than enough variety to ensure that things never feel too repetitive. Each playthrough – despite containing the same types of rooms – always has a fresh feel to it, and with a wide range of enemies continuing to grow in variety as you progress through the pyramids, there is more than enough to keep you coming back for one more go.
So, there’s a lot of things to praise about Immortal Redneck, but what isn’t so impressive? Well to be honest, even though it’s unlikely to be everyone’s cup of tea, I have loved every second of my time with the game, and it’s a struggle to really find anything that can be considered too much of a negative. If i had to be picky though – and this is exceptionally picky – I’d probably look to the protagonist. He’s a great overall character, he’s full of wit, comedy, and is generally a classic character, but other than his obvious accent, I can’t be sure what else exactly warrants him being given the term ‘redneck’, and that did confuse me a little. However, like I said that is extremely picky.
The only thing that’s likely to deter some is probably the difficulty that Immortal Redneck brings. Whilst it may be a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, what with its cartoonish appearance and rather wacky protagonist, Immortal Redneck is surprisingly difficult. The difficulty is clearly there by design, and in all honesty if things were easy then key features like scrolls and the skill tree simply wouldn’t work as intended, instead seeing us end up with a forgettable experience. That’s not the case here though and instead Immortal Redneck is a joy to play. Even with many hours played this is a game I find myself keen to hop back into when I have an hour spare. With only a handful of experiences that pull off the rogue-like FPS so well, there’s no doubt Immortal Redneck is a title that deserves some serious attention.
Before I wrap things up, there is one final feature that desperately needs a mention, and that’s the integration of Mixer into the Immortal Redneck experience. It’s not something that’s thrown in the face of the player, it’s not necessary, and for most it’s likely to be a feature that will probably go under the radar, however the inclusion of it is certainly something more games should be look to add to their experience.
Should you be streaming via Mixer, then having this option enabled allows your viewers to vote on the next scroll that you will receive. The choices they get will appear at the top of the screen and are completely random, however this is a great way to keep your viewers involved in the game and allows them to dictate how your run will play out. This can of course be of an advantage should you have viewers that want to see you do well or could potentially burden you run with negatively impacting scrolls should that be the viewers wish. Either way though, it’s fair to say that it’s a pretty unique idea that is certainly a welcome addition and isn’t usually something you see tied to an indie adventure.
It may not immediately strike as a must-play title, but Immortal Redneck shouldn’t be overlooked. With tons of replayability, tense fast-paced gameplay, fluid controls and enjoyable combat, this is a game that will offer great gameplay for hours on end. To bring things into context, Immortal Redneck is exactly what you could expect to find if you were to blend Serious Sam with Indie 2015 indie hit Ziggurat, and I for one find that to be an exciting prospect.