Posted on 23 Jun 2017 by K-putt

Immortal Redneck

The Defence

Developer: CremaGames
Publisher: CremaGames
Genre: Indie, Roguelike, Shooter
Platform: Consoles, Mac, PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: 25 Apr 2017

The Prosecution

Minimum
Recommended
OS: Linux, Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 2.5 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650
AMD equivalent
RAM: 2 GB
HDD: 7 GB
DirectX: 10
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Linux, Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 3.5 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760
AMD equivalent
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 7 GB
DirectX: 10
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 120+

The Case

You’re immortal. You’re a redneck… and you’re in Egypt. Immortal Redneck is, as I like to call it, a FPPGRFPSSIE… what? You wanna tell me you don’t know what that acronym stands for? Well, let your old pal K-putt explain it to you. It’s a fast-paced-procedurally-generated-roguelike-first-person-shooter-set-in-Egypt. Alright, got it? Good, let’s move on. Even though roguelike games have seen a huge increase with many releases over the last few years, FPS roguelikes are still somewhat of a rarity. So, let’s see if Immortal Redneck stands the test of time or will it prove itself to be not so immortal after all? 

The Trial

This redneck fella is on a holiday trip with his buggy… just minding his own business in the deserts of Egypt while suddenly crashing down into a valley filled with pyramids. You end up dying because you didn’t wear a seat-belt (safety first kids!), and because you’re not immortal just yet, obviously. But wait, there’s more! Some odd looking creatures patch you up, hand you a shotgun and put you in a sarcophagus. If you wanna know why these strange little buggers did that… well, I gotta tell you that I just don’t know. Maybe to keep the pyramids clean of weird creatures that stroll in from the desert? Story really isn’t a big thing, and to be honest, there really doesn’t have to be one.

Once you “rise from your grave” and spawn in the middle of these three pyramids, you will see a little tent that’s closed for now and an adorable little tree. That tree is a literal the “Skilltree” and can be grown by spending the coins you earn from each pyramid run. However, these skills are fairly basic and don’t really change the overall gameplay in a meaningful way. Increased base stats like health, speed and damage is the most that can be expected. That said, you also unlock the shop tent and additional characters via the Skilltree. Which to me is a really odd and uncreative way of unlocking new characters. In most games you’ll unlock them by doing certain things in the level like; finding hidden treasure rooms, killing 50 enemies without being hit, finish a room in under 60 seconds… you know, that sorta stuff. But sadly, that isn’t the case in Immortal Redneck, because all you need is love, cash, money and schmeckles!

Once you unlock the shop via the Skilltree, you’ll be able to spend your hard earned schmeckles on random effect scrolls or medals that you will eventually find throughout many pyramid runs. These medals also only change your multiple attempts in the pyramid in simple ways, for example; having more health or do more damage… but sacrifice two weapons instead of three. The one I think actually changes how you play the game the most is the one that gives you a single weapon, but with unlimited ammo, and you also get a spiffy new random weapon in each room you enter. So this forces the player to change up their play style depending on the weapon given at the time, but even then it’s like I said earlier, not very creative. It’s a roguelike game… developers should go absolutely nuts and create many extreme and unique challenges, especially with a Quake-like FPS setting like this.

Pyramid monsters firing pyramid lasers inside of a giant pyramid...PYRAMIDCEPTION!!!!

When you actually start a run in a pyramid, you’ll be greeted with another hub area that has lots of doors to choose from. This first area is free of enemies and you’re able to give each room a little peek before you fully commit to it. But once you do, the door behind you closes and a wave of enemies is spawned. Your task? Clear the room of the enemies, and you can continue forward. Pretty simple concept. Every once in awhile you will come across a trial room. These rooms give you a random challenge to overcome, and on completion, unlock a loot chest(s) filled with glorious goodies; weapons, health, scrolls, coins and scrolls. Those tasks are fairly simple however, and shouldn’t be a problem for most people that have played a videogame before. At some point you will also come across the junction room, which will have a large staircase in the middle that will get you to the next level of the pyramid. Though, sometimes these rooms have “mini-bosses” instead, killing them will unlock the stairs and you can move forward.

Each successive level will increase the damage and health of your enemies, but also increases the drop rate of ammo and coins. Talking about drop rates, you will come across multiple scrolls in your run, be it from enemies, bosses or chests. These scrolls should, in theory, change the run for the better or worse. But all most of them really do is incremental changes that are… yet again, fairly uncreative and not game changing. “Two double jumps! Move faster! You can carry one more weapon! You find more ammo!” All of those things are fairly simple in my eyes and don’t offer that uniqueness feeling that usually comes with a good roguelike game. The three pyramids do vary quite a bit from each other however, which is very welcomed. One is a very stereotypical pyramid, while another is more Tron-like in nature, which makes sense since you also have electric weapons in the game.

While we’re at it, Immortal Redneck is first-person shooter game, so you’d expect a certain kind of polish with the shooting mechanics. And with this game, it’s a case of glass half empty rather than half full… there certainly are a lot of different weapons visually, but on a meta level, you only really have 2 different types of weapons: Throwable explosives and normal shooty-shoot guns. An AK47 doesn’t really differ from any other machine gun apart from the spread and the size of the ammo clips. Now you might say: “Well hold on there K-putt… isn’t that the case in any other game?” Well, yes and no. Visual feedback, different kinds of recoil, sounds… all these sorts of things play a role in how a weapon actually feels like, and I don’t really feel as big of a difference between weapons in Immortal Redneck even with the recent patch regarding weapons.

Pfft, reloading on demand is for wimps...besides, I got this shiny stabby-stabber mang!

Movement and controls are another huge important part of any first person shooter, and this game is no exception to that. Running across a room while dodging enemy fire does feel extremely satisfying, especially if you picked up a scroll that increases your speed. Jumping is also a great tool in avoiding enemies since you’re still able to control your trajectory mid-flight, and you will certainly jump a lot in these vertical gameplay focused rooms. Sometimes this doesn’t seem to work in the game’s favor however, cleaning out the bottom of a room full of mummies only to then climb up dozens of platforms, somewhat clumsily, to get to the rest of the enemies at the top. This isn’t really that bad mind you, but it does slow down the flow of the game a bit. The movement usually works best in rooms where you don’t need to climb as much like the lava floor rooms or the acid sea rooms. Once you’re in “the zone” though, you’re in “the zone”, and you can totally feel the greatness the developers were aiming for in the gameplay department. Until you come across one of these rather vertical climbing rooms that completely slow things down that is.

The AI in the game isn’t anything to write home about either. They basically just serve as bullet emitters and bullet sponges. Some fly, some walk, and some can teleport. They won’t try and flank you, they just use the path of least resistance to get closer to you. Not that you really need a smart AI in a game like this anyway, but it should be mentioned nonetheless. I do like how Crema Games made the enemies react to your bullets though. They basically freeze for a few frames, which can give you enough time to either give ‘em another hit, hold them at distance or to get out of the way from their bullets. But this also made machine guns somewhat overpowered since you can easily hold them at bay with the rapid fire. They don’t do as much damage as other weapons of course, but at later stages where enemies almost fall over themselves, this freezing mechanic is much more handier than massive damage.

Let’s talk about performance, shall we? Well, there isn’t really much to talk about, which isn’t a bad thing. The game runs just fine even on my “dated” machine at 1440p. It’s not a visually demanding game (but has a great art style that makes up for it), so this doesn’t come as a surprise. Good performance shouldn’t be taken for granted nowadays, though. I was hitting ~100 FPS with my GTX 780 Ti with everything on Ultra. Lowering the settings got me closer to 300 frames per second. The settings menu gives you ample options to increase or decrease the quality of various things, or even outright disable stuff like chromatic aberration or the vignette effect (thanks for that, Crema Games!). Of course a field of view slider is also on board and ranges from 40° to a massive 140°. If you’re a mad human and need every pixel in your distorted peripheral vision, by all means… go bonkers and use a 140° FOV. Immortal Redneck also features a Twitch integration option that lets your viewers decide what kind of scrolls will be dropped and just generally enhances the overall fun and challenge of the game.

The Verdict

So would I recommend Immortal Redneck? Well, it depends if you’re a fan of roguelike shooters or roguelike in general. The game does look quite nice at times and it’s also fast paced… at times. It has some Quake-ish elements to it, thanks to the fast movement speed and vertical level design. But I can’t shake the feeling off that the randomness you know and love from a good roguelike just doesn’t stand out much. It might be different in the future since Crema Games is actively working on the game and listening to player feedback, but right now it’s just missing the unique run that makes you come back to find another weird item. It all feels somewhat similar after a few hours of playtime, and for the base asking price of $19.95 USD, it might be a bit much for some people. But Crema Games need to eat as well, and the game was in development since the end of 2015 after all. Anyway, I’d say it’s a perfect summer sale game and worth a look at for roguelike fans, Quake-esque frantic shooting gamer’s, and those itching for Egyptian themed games. It falls short in some ways, feels great in others, but when you’re on a roll, it’s quite fantastic, I just wish the fun and excitement was more consistent. 

Case Review

  • Visuals: Great visuals with a unique style that get weirder the further you play.

  • Movement: Fast, frantic and fun movement will keep you on your toes most of the time.

  • Level Design: The levels make good use of the movement mechanics more often than not.

  • Gunplay: Guns feel neither bad nor good. They’re just serviceable.

  • Variety: Scrolls and weapon variety isn’t crazy enough for a roguelike, so each run will most likely feel the same as the one before.

  • Progression: Basically non-existent… apart from the lacking Skilltree.

3 Score: 3/5
Perfect summer sale game for people that like fast paced shooters and roguelike games.

Evidence

  • Settings: Plenty of useful knobs and sliders to fiddle around with. Even comes with Twitch integration.
  • Audio: Music, Effects and Voices can be modified separately. I had no issues with the default settings however.
  • Controls: Each button can be rebound. Mouse settings like smoothing and inverted X/Y axis can be set as well.

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