September 16, 2021

Xbox One X

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Immortal Redneck review – pace and variation make an ancient pleasure feel fresh

2 min read
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You hear them before you see them – the awful croaking of the flap-handed poison frogs, the cosmic rattling death-baa of a squat and villainous ram. It’s a tiny detail, but it brings so much to proceedings: when you enter a new chamber, seconds after you find yourself locked inside again, a game about shooting is briefly, regularly, a game about listening. What’s coming next? Oh god, it’s frogs! Luckily, I have exactly the right tool for dealing with frogs.

All of which is to say that Immortal Redneck pulls off the near-impossible. There is a funny thing about procedural games – games which are always relentlessly different – and that’s the fact that, over time, they often become entirely samey. When rooms, weapons, enemies, timings are scrambled artlessly, you frequently get something with the consistency of other scrambled things. You get scrambled eggs. You get ludic sludge. Immortal Redneck is a shooter/roguelite hybrid: you grab your guns and race through a series of pyramids, each one formed by increasingly hazardous floors composed of procedurally shuffled rooms filled with a range of gloriously colourful baddies. Every now and then there is a boss, and when you die you get to spend your winnings across the spreading boughs of a skill tree that will hopefully allow you to play better next time. Let scrambled eggs commence!

But it never does. Partly this is because of obvious things. Immortal Redneck is a beautiful shooter to control. Movement is smooth and fast and traversal allows you to jump and mantle with no snagging and no interruption to the flow of your intuition. It’s Painkiller-ish, Serious Sam-type stuff, pleasantly retro and twitchy, and crucially the guns – they range from six-shooters to magical staffs and electro-swords with some wonderful curios in between – feel nice and punchy even before you’ve started plugging in points.

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