Immortal Redneck is a simple game. An American tourist gets lost in Ancient Egypt and wakes up within a sarcophagus, enshrouded in mummy bandages. He looks around, enters a pyramid, and proceeds to blast the ever-loving shit out of all manners of otherworldly creatures. That’s the elevator pitch of Immortal Redneck, and I’m 83% sure that encompasses the whole of the game’s design document, too.
At EGX Rezzed in London last week, I had the opportunity to play a Immortal Redneck preview accompanied by Enrique Paños, co-founder and CEO of developer CremaGames. During the demo, the eponymous redneck wakes up in a desert plaza surrounded by three pyramids. Walking out from his sarcophagus and inspecting his (quite literal) skill tree, the player proceeds to pick up a gun and enter one of the three tombs.
Each pyramid is besieged with monsters of all kinds, sprawled across seven floors. The seventh and top floor is called the “apex”, and it’s where the boss of each area is located. “The difference between edifices is that each has its own theme, with different enemies and environments”, Paños tells me. “One is older and full of sand, the other is in a better overall condition, and the last one is a kind of advanced, alien setting.” During my playthrough, I got to experience a few floors of the first pyramid, and the level design really captures the feeling of a derelict desert ruin.
Each pyramid is procedurally generated, with each floor being quite expansive. I did not reach the later levels to verify if floors get smaller just as actual pyramids do, but the ones I did get to experience seemed roughly the same size. Enemy variety and quantity increases along with difficulty as you climb each floor, and more powerful types come into play to stop you dead on your tracks -- that’s one of Immortal Redneck’s main attractions: it’s a rogue-lite shooter.
Every time you die -- and you will -- you get to carry over all the gold you got from shooting monsters. The pyramids all reset, with levels being generated again, but all the skills you unlocked and the money you accrued get saved, ripe for using as upgrades to tackle the levels once more in a bid to reach its top. “The difficulty in the game gets pretty balanced because of that, as skilled players can go further before dying and novice players can eventually upgrade enough to easily beat the levels”, says Paños.
One thing that is not carried over are the weapons that you find. You get them randomly through levels, and they’re lost upon death. I tested a couple of rifles and shotguns, and when I pointed out to Enrique that a truly patriotic American redneck would never be caught dead using an AK-47, he just laughed uncomfortably and waved it off.
The game clearly doesn’t take anything seriously, and that is reflected on the core of its design. When asked about the choice of a redneck as protagonist, Paños said “The truth is, it was a cool name. In today’s age you have to choose a good name to stand out, and we thought Immortal Redneck sounded cool”. With over 4,000 indie games hitting Steam in 2016 alone, getting noticed is definitely a valid concern. “People see the name and think 'Immortal Redneck, what is that?'”, he tells me. “And that helps with promotion, as well”.
In the end, I enjoyed my time with Immortal Redneck. It is a simple, capable shooter roguelite and its only purpose is to be fun, wearing its intentions on its sleeves. The graphics and overall production values are good, giving Immortal Redneck a surprisingly well polished feel. The game comes out on the 25th of April, so if you are looking for a good, simple, fun shooter to pass the time, keep your eyes on this one.