A REVIEW FOR XBOX ONE BY NEIL KENNY
You know that bit in Top Gear (before Joey joined) when they would have to complete a task by creating something? Memorable examples being the sea going cars and the hovercraft... well this game is a bit like that. So imagine that Jeremy, James and Richard have created a game; but their total game-playing experience is limited to Duke Nukem, Serious Sam, with a dash of Rogue and the single exposure to Gauntlet Legacy. Now you’re thinking that, this is just my way of being polite, since their endeavours rarely worked out for the best... well no - this is actually rather good.
The redneck of the title is a tourist who ends up dead after an accident and is handily reincarnated next to a series of pyramids which have to be tackled - using assorted weaponry. So all pretty standard then.
MENUS AND CONTROLS
Controls are smooth and can be redefined although the initial arrangement is fine enough. The targeting reticule changes to match the equipment ordinance and various ammo/health refills are earned as you play. It’s all quite jolly with a pleasant front end as well but that does lead me into the first couple of things that do annoy. Iconography can be tricky to read, even on a really really big screen (technical term). The same can be said of the map. This functions quite well but the legend/key is a little small for quick reference.
After playing the tutorial the game starts; however I would have preferred that the tutorial also covered the gameplay as well since it can be awkward to fathom exactly what is going on with a certain degree of confidence. The redneck angle is ultimately just there for the comedy aspect but the Egyptian theming is however a corner stone of the game design and looks good. The game is played as a series of interconnecting multilevel rooms with special staircases joining up the internal levels. As you reach the apex you face the boss at the top of the pyramid. All the foes have their own attack styles and some are spawned from generators. Hidden chests can be found and scrolls acquired to present random perks (although not all are good for you).
The internal pyramid structure is created randomly each play though using standard rooms; these rooms once entered cannot be left until they have been cleared (usually of foes). Each room is consistent so that each time you encounter it you can reuse any strategies that you have formed. A cleared room can be re-entered without penalty which is handy since the random nature of the levels will create many routes – some of which will be dead ends. Also any dropped weaponry can be retrieved if needed.
You have little to no chance of completing the game on your first or even 51st attempt. To get somewhere you have to upgrade your stats using gold obtained from your previous play. As upgrades are purchased, further branches are made open to you. Purchased upgrades can be further enhanced with more gold; this has to be done in order for certain branches to be made accessible. However as you progress bigger and bigger amounts have to be handed over in order to unlock the full tree. As you progress other characters can be unlocked on the skill tree - each with slightly different strengths. One annoying feature is that by re-entering the pyramid, your gold is set to zero so you cannot save up for upgrades and if you try to manage your gold in order to get the most for your money you’ll discover that the unit prices will change as you make each purchase; so usually spoiling any carefully crafted plan.
The controls are good and targeting is very accommodating, even when you are moving at speed.Graphically, the game walks the fine line between detail, character and recognition very well, although the iconography can be hard to read on the maps until you get used to it. Credit must be given to the music, which is very good and not invasive. As per usual with modern download games you are dropped in at the deep end. So, even games with relatively straightforward goals and objectives require a lot of play in order to get a good understanding of the mechanics (assuming you have a rounded gaming experience of course). It would have been nice if the game had a gameplay tutorial; even if it was an old fashioned attract screen that you used to find on arcade games.
IMMORTAL REDNECK DEVELOPED BY CREMAGAMES AND IS AVAILABLE NOW AS A DIGITAL DOWNLOAD FOR XBOX ONE (£15.99), PS4 (£15.99) AND PC (£14.95) WITH A SWITCH VERSION TO FOLLOW.