Isn't it just the worst when you're out riding through the deserts of Egypt and you wind up getting mummified? The protagonist of Immortal Redneck knows this all too well, and is now out to get some revenge, and if that means taking down the various monsters of the ancient Egyptian pyramids, then so be it.
Immortal Redneck is a roguelite in the sense that when you enter these pyramids, you either get to the top or you die - you can't save while you're in there, nor can you return to where you were if you die. Your task is simple, to ascend the pyramid's floors by finding the stairwell on each one, with the difficulty progressing as you move on up. Oh, and there's bosses at regular intervals, items to find, and gold to collect.
The gold is the crucial 'dangling carrot', the goal of your constant repeated attempts. There's no way you'll ever get to the end of the pyramid on your first go, and it's by collecting the gold in each attempt that you can either buy upgrades on the skill tree (an actual tree that grows as you progress) or items from the merchant.
To talk about the skill tree first; the centre of it has your basic upgrades i.e. health, defence, attack, critical hit chance, and critical hit damage, each of which can be upgraded at least 25 times (with health it's 75) at the cost of coins. Once you get a certain number of upgrades in each of these, then, more upgrades are unlocked on the branches, ranging from more gold drops to new characters, each of which provides new abilities and weapons.
The merchant, on the other hand, is all about tactical items, as you can buy scrolls there, as well as the option to keep the procedurally-generated pyramid the same as the last time you were there, if you don't fancy getting lost again. You can also find blueprints for medallions on your travels too, which you can buy in the shop to do things like enter a pyramid after the first pharoah, the first boss. Balancing where to spend your money is crucial, then, as you have to offer the rest of it to enter the pyramid again, so none of your money carries over. If something costs 5,000 gold to buy, you'll need to earn it all in one go in the pyramid.
These upgrades mean that death literally makes you better, so every time you go in you do so a little bit stronger and the trend is that you earn more money each time, hence the game's encouraging message not to fear death. This takes a while, but it's so addictive finding yourself becoming more and more powerful that you want to keep building yourself up, the end goal being to reach the apex of the pyramid (although the real goal is more gold for upgrades).
We've touched upon this briefly, but the game essentially involves entering a pyramid and opening doors in each room, where a random room will then be joined onto it (no two runs will be the same in this regard), which you'll then need to clear of enemies before you can progress to the next. You then need to find the staircase on each floor, at which point you'll ascend and enemies will become tougher, but the chances of finding ammo also increase, because the game's fair like that. As you ascend, the floors become smaller too, as is the case with pyramids.
The enemies you'll find are incredibly varied, so much so you'll often find yourself scrambling for particular weapons as you're surprised by a creature you weren't expecting. Whether they be flying devils that shoot at you, mortar-launching monsters, hordes of frogs (nice biblical nod there), or even eyeball monsters, there's plenty of variety in what you'll be facing, and the colourful silliness of it all, coupled with the ancient Egypt setting, reminded us a lot of Serious Sam.
Depending on which character you select (you get to choose between two after you die, and these simply change your loadout - you're still the same swearing redneck underneath) you will get three or four guns, and certain active and passive abilities. Our favourite included Seth, who had a Taser Sword, Tesla Coil, and Electric Flamethrower, but there's everything from Kunai (throwing knives), a Potato Launcher, a Rusty Revolver, Dual Pistols, and an Ankh, so there should be something for everyone. Also, there's a chance enemies may drop new ones too.
Then there's the case of the chest rooms scattered around the pyramid, as these can offer you guns as well, although you always have to swap them for something, so you'd best choose wisely. The scrolls you find dotted around also have the chance of mixing up your weapons for you too, but beware, because in true roguelike tradition not all scrolls are good, as some can curse you with things like not being able to swap a weapon till it runs out of ammo, or reducing you to half health. It's luck of the draw.
We played Immortal Redneck on PC, and it performed like you'd expect a shooter too, with all the options to adjust as well, depending on personal preference. Gun feedback wasn't as good as it could have been, with some feeling more arcadey to shoot than you might expect them to, but for the most part it was a joy dashing through the various rooms and taking down the monsters, and we say 'dashing' here because standing still is a sure-fire way to get hurt, what with the pokey rooms and a plethora of enemies shooting at you.
While we certainly liked the Egyptian level design (we have done since we played Serious Sam back in the day), perhaps there could have been a bit more variety on this front. Something else to note; the colourful nature of the game and the lack of blood makes it a fit for a wide audience (as does its simplistic premise), so the swearing in the game may well clash with that for some and not be to everyone's tastes. It's not a criticism per se, but it's a strange decision that prevents it from reaching a wider audience.
Overall, the appeal of constantly upgrading a seemingly neverending tree of skills in order to rush back and try to defeat the pyramid, getting more coins to upgrade the tree some more, rinse and repeat, is enough to make Immortal Redneck incredibly moreish, and it's definitely one of those games that'll make you go "just one more try". While there could be more thematic variety, the mix of weapons, abilities, characters, items, and rooms more than makes up for that, and it's an incredibly fun game to sink time into.