Rogue-likes are all the rage in gaming right now. Whether it’s a platformer, an RPG, or an FPS, adding permadeth, persistent upgrades, and difficult combat to your game is a pretty popular trend. Immortal Redneck is the latest rogue-like to take these mechanics and rope them into an FPS game. While there’s a lot to like in this strange mix of redneck jokes and ancient Egyptian mythology, but there are things holding it back from being a truly great game.
Immortal Redneck starts with a, well, redneck’s trip to Egypt that goes rather poorly. One thing leads to another and he becomes an immortal mummy-redneck hybrid hell bent on eliminating the monsters that live inside the pyramids around him. While the main character has the occasional quip and joke, most of which are repeated within a few playthroughs, the overall story and writing in Immortal Redneck is ultimately forgettable. It’s an FPS rogue-like and when that’s the case, it’s typically all about gameplay.
If you played 2014’s Ziggurat you’ll be very familiar with how Immortal Redneck's play and progression. You get a gun, travel into arena-sized rooms and clear them out before moving onto the next area. Eventually you will die and start all over again with currency used for permanently upgrading your character. When a game lives and dies by its level and enemy design and combat, you know full well that those need to be spot-on. And, to be honest, Immortal Redneck only gets one of them right.
Room and enemy design is critical in a rogue-like, perhaps even more so in an FPS. That’s because it’s more than likely players will be seeing the same rooms and the same enemies over and over again as they die and retry countless times. Immortal Redneck offers a good variety of rooms that vary between combat arenas and puzzle rooms, requiring you to stay on your toes and keep moving to avoid damage. While the puzzle rooms are fairly straightforward, the combat arenas shine thanks to smart enemy design.
Enemies in Immortal Redneck look completely different than one another and all have different, unique attacks. This makes it easy to spot the enemy trying to kill you and know what it will attack with. In a fast-paced FPS game like Immortal Redneck, it’s paramount that players have that visual knowledge ASAP so they can better combat the enemies they encounter. Immortal Redneck relays that information quickly and cleanly, giving the player ample time to plan their assault even when they’re being battered with projectiles.
While the moment-to-moment combat design and information is great, Immortal Redneck falls short is in the combat’s feel. Guns in Immortal Redneck feel utterly and surprisingly weak. From the pistol, to the shotgun, to the giant minigun, I never felt like I was a threat to even the weakest enemy. The guns feel slow and pathetic, as they have little to no feedback aside from your crosshair changing color when you hit an enemy. For a game that gives such good visual feedback, it’s a shame that the guns feel like they do nothing when you’re firing off rounds into enemies. In fact, I ran into a few problems thinking I had an enemy near-death when in fact I was missing my last shots, wasting ammo and feeling silly when I died.
Speaking of dying, it’s something you’ll do quite a lot of in Immortal Redneck. Since it’s a rogue-like, you spend your time trying to survive, only to ultimately end up dying and starting all over again. When you do die, you are left with the currency you collected which can be used to permanently upgrade your character with health, armor, and damage buffs to help you get further on your next run. You also unlock new “characters” that amount to new loadouts, which leads to a lot of nice changes of pace as you unlock new weapons. In fact, additional loadouts are what kept me playing as I wanted to see all of the guns the game had to offer and find one that matched my play style. These can be selected at the start of a run and while they don’t change the game in major ways, they kept me feeling refreshed when I decided to change it up.
Immortal Redneck also looks great, which is a plus as you’ll be looking at the same character models as you rerun levels. Characters look quirky and the game runs and animates smooth and fast, which is definitely needed for an FPS like this. The art style is great too as the guns all have a strange modern-meets-Egyptian feel to them and the levels look properly ancient and shimmering. My only complaint about the game’s look and feel is that some enemies, predominantly the smaller ones, look like killer stuffed animals and tend to animate less well than their bigger counterparts.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Immortal Redneck but I wanted it to hit harder. It’s definitely a repetitive romp, as most of these games are, and the gameplay is what makes that repetition worth it. Unfortunately, while the game runs smoothly and looks sharp, the guns feel weak and the gameplay is borderline mediocre. It’s not a make-or-break thing for me, in fact I was able to ultimately look past that major flaw, but many gamers won’t stick with a game with poor combat. For fans of the rogue-like genre in an FPS shell, Immortal Redneck is a fun romp reminiscent of games like Ziggurat and Tower of Guns. For fans of FPS games like Call of Duty or Titanfall, this probably isn’t going to give you that great feel you’re looking for. Ultimately, Immortal Redneck has its share of issues but it’s a good addition to the rogue-like genre with decent FPS mechanics, an interesting setting, and a fun upgrade system that’ll keep fans coming back.