Platform(s): PC, PS4, XB1, Switch
Review code provided
Immortal Redneck is a dumb game, and it revels in it — if you couldn’t tell from its name, we aren’t exactly in the Naughty Dog school of storytelling here. You play as the eponymous redneck as he runs around pyramids and shoots up history after dying and being resurrected as a mummy. There’s really no deeper meaning here, and Immortal Redneck is all the better for it.
Considering it’s one of the few FPS games on the Switch, Immortal Redneck already has a lot going in its favour. While it may not have the bloody mayhem or precision of DOOM, it’s a game that you can dip back into over and over, death after death, toilet appointment after toilet appointment.
As a roguelike, you can expect to die a lot. In fact, the game promotes your death early on to help you prepare for the next run. You start off hilariously underpowered and barely able to take more than a few hits before you bite the bullet. Once you’re dead, you are able to visit your skill tree and spend the coins you earned from killing the varied enemies on upgrades, which range from basic health increases to being imbued with the powers of gods. Don’t be a penny-pincher, though: any coins you collect will be taken from you once you go to attempt a pyramid.
Just because reasons, the redneck has to visit various pyramids and shoot his way through them. Each pyramid has multiple floors with each floor representing a scaling up in difficulty: the first floor will be a cakewalk while the next floors will continue to increase enemy stats until your twitch shooter instincts kick in and you scrape through every encounter with just a morsel of health left.
Immortal Redneck has an interesting approach to procedural generation in that its rooms are based off of templates with them randomly being swapped around depending on the run. You will come to recognise rooms and the kind of foes that await you, but the variety always keeps things fresh, even after your nth consecutive failure. There’s always a drive to do better, which is a hallmark of a challenging but great game.
Some of the failures you will experience, however, don’t feel entirely fair and are dependent on luck more than anything else. There were a few times where I would encounter a boss but be utterly spent from wading through room after room, so I had almost no ammo or health to even have a fool’s hope of progression. Likewise, you can find the stairs to find the next level almost immediately if luck is on your side; Immortal Redneck is really a game of chance just as much as it is skill.
The random nature of the game also plays a part in the scrolls you can pick up from felling enemies or opening chests. These can be both blessings and curses with one giving you the handy ability to run backwards and another not letting you switch guns while you reload; a seriously important tactic for staying alive. All the scrolls are varied and interesting enough that it’s like a game of Russian Roulette unto itself to decide if you want to pick one up or not. Almost immediately after I entered a pyramid one time, I cursed myself with a scroll that hurt me every time I jumped. I leapt until I could leap no more.
The combat is the meat and potatoes of Immortal Redneck and offers plenty of enjoyment, particularly if you’ve ever played an old school FPS. There’s no aiming down the sights or taking cover, it’s just you and a room full of things that need to die. The Switch version of the game is fairly accommodating with its aim assist to compensate for the Joy-Con sticks being somewhat sensitive to your input. There’s a nice “floaty” feeling to jumping, too, that weirdly reminded me of surfing in CS. The platforming, however, isn’t all that hot and left me flustered often. You unlock the ability to double-jump some ways into the game, but until then it’s a lot of finicky leaping and praying.
The weaponry at your disposal is about as madcap as you would expect from a game called Immortal Redneck; I am almost tempted to recommend the game based on the name alone. Your default redneck starts things off with a limited but effective arsenal, but throughout your time in the pyramids you can unlock all manner of strange and wonderful murder tools, including a potato launcher that launches exploding potatoes, gloves that send out powerful energy, and an automatic crossbow that’s probably the most powerful gun there is. Serious Sam fans will no doubt be in their element here.
As mentioned before, you can unlock favours through the dense skill tree that imbue you with the powers and stats of a certain god. These don’t drastically change up the experience as the redneck still spouts his one-liners and has the same appearance, but the powers are worth toying with to see if they fit your playstyle, or if you should change your playstyle to accommodate new tactics. Apis is the first god you will unlock but he’s one of the most enticing as he can allow the redneck to become invincible for a short while and also has seriously beefy stats that make him something of a tank in battle. A neat little way to change up how you approach the pyramids and their many different rooms.
My time with Immortal Redneck was a fun one, especially so with the ability to do a Brendan Fraser on the move. The game worked perfectly fine either docked or portable with a solid framerate, but some sloppy and dumb AI with enemies just randomly going in strange directions and a couple of bugs that meant I had to restart my run reminded me that it’s not a perfect game. Immortal Redneck is, however, one of the most guilt-free and brainlessly enjoyable games on Switch. It’s refreshing to play something that isn’t a Serious Game For Serious Gamers and holds no pretensions — we could all do with more games like Immortal Redneck.