Isn’t it weird how games, like all things, come and go in cycles? I’m thinking back to when the very first Serious Sam was released and the industry went absolutely nuts for it because it seemed to fly in the face of the other popular first person shooters at the time, which had become increasingly more complex. I recall reviews suggesting that the game channeled the simplicity of the original DOOM, for example.
Now, more than half my life later, I’m playing Immortal Redneck and feeling a serious sense of déjà vu. Like Serious Sam, Immortal Redneck has its tongue firmly in cheek, but the similarities don’t end with the humour. Both games are set against a backdrop of ancient Egyptian mythology, pitching a heroic (and moronic) antihero against limitless hordes of creatures, monsters, undead and worse.
From the fast paced gameplay (which is focused heavily on run and gun) to the actual setting, Immortal Redneck feels every bit the Serious Sam clone… But then you die. When this happens, you’ll respawn outside the initial pyramid and be introduced to what Immortal Redneck really is, which, by the way, is a very, very good roguelike shooting game.
Cash earned from each run can be invested into an ever expanding (and literal) upgrade tree, which shoots out new branches as you pump your hard earned cash into it. There are straightforward, core skills like weapon damage or health upgrades close to the trunk, whilst perhaps more interesting and variable upgrades like new characters appear further outwards to tantalise and tease.
This system of continuous progress and variation is what I love most about roguelike games, but I’m also delighted to report that Immortal Redneck plays really well during the actual core sequences. The aim of the starting pyramid is simply to work your way to the top, which involves battling through one procedurally generated floor after another.
Each floor is split into a kind of hub area which has something like eight or ten doors leading away from it and often snaking back to one of the others. You might find the exit relatively quickly, or on some occasions you’ll need to fight your way through more or less every room – standard fare really. Enemies range from the biblical swarms of frogs to roaming sarcophagi that spit out nasty little minions.
The closer to the top you are, the more challenging the enemies are, on average and unusually for a game that is created on the fly, I found the increasing level of challenge to be fairly consistent and reliable in Immortal Redneck. The inclusion of upgrades that allow the player to swap the Redneck himself out for one of several God characters is also a really good way of enabling players to tailor the experience to suit their playstyle, which I enjoyed.
Combined with a decent (but not spectacular) look and a soundtrack to match, these features make Immortal Redneck a winner. There’s at least a second pyramid to fight through (I say at least because I haven’t made it all the way through yet) and there’s tons of scope for replay value. Whilst I do feel that there is some subjectivity about who Immortal Redneck will appeal to, for me it is a: