Kareem Salama is the first Muslim-American country singer – of considerable popularity at least. Upon entering law school, he self-released his first and second albums, eventually found himself signed to a record label, and has now toured Europe, appeared on Fox News and Sky News, and is quite the success. Is Salama any good? Sure. But his story, in many ways, is the selling point – the notion of a Muslim American doing country music is a sort of “Huh?” that isn’t born out of racism or malice, but simply out of genuine, taken-aback, curiosity that may just endear the masses to that ole’ southern twang – or even better, bring people of diverse backgrounds together through the power of said twang.
(See also: Golfing’s Tiger Woods boom.)
And such is the story with Immortal Redneck. A game starring a mummified redneck in flannel, overalls, and trucker hat, taking on the demonic forces inside the great Pyramids of Egypt. And much like Mr. Salama, Immortal Redneck seeks to entice FPS fans into the world of rogue likes, and fans of rogue likes into the world of frantic, 90s style, Quake-sian, FPS mayhem – via the novelty of the concept, yes – but primarily through the promise of, and delivery of, flat-out capital Q Quality.
And it succeeds in spades; keeping you glued to your TV in 20-30 minute chunks as you make runs at the pyramids in the game, earning coins you spend on stat boosts and new characters, all the while hoping to progress just a bit further than last time. It was Homer Simpson who said something akin to the notion the best inventions often combine old things together – like putting a clock in a radio. In that sense getting Quake’s Peanut Butter all up in the tried-and-true and occasionally played-out rogue-like chocolate, is a delicious recipe.
And it functions as a wonderful sorbet, too – a perfect palette cleanser when you only have a few minutes to get some gaming in, or are simply a little too winded from the ‘majesty’ of Triple A games with their open worlds and multiple systems and such. The best roguelikes, in my opinion, play almost like the best games from a console generation or three ago. A generation where game development was affordable enough to try new, wild things, but robust enough to deliver quality graphics and a steady frame rate. You could almost see Immortal Redneck as a cult-classic PS1 or GameCube game; instead of opting to do lots of things decently – as many modern games do – seeking to do two or three things wonderfully; specifically game play and atmosphere.
Immortal Redneck, Flint Hook, Rogue Legacy, Enter The Gungeon, Everspace, all deliver wonderfully because they know exactly what they are – serving a singular purpose of good game play and tough-but-rewarding difficulty that’ll keep you coming back for more…perhaps indefinitely.
That said, sometimes writing about a wonderful game can be hard; as is the case of Immortal Redneck, if the game seems like it’d appeal to you, it will deliver exactly what you’re looking for and exactly what it promises to be. I’m not scoring the game because frankly I’m not far enough and not good enough (yet) to comment on the entirety of the game’s package. That said, the 8-10 hours I’ve put in have been a delight.
Flat-out great indie games release with such startling frequency it’s pretty easy to overlook the amount of effort that went into making them that way. Across console, PC, and yes – even mobile, there’s a flavor for every desire, and in the rogue-like genre specifically, you name it, they got it. Turn based. Space combat. Castlevania-esque. FPS. The gang’s all here, as they say, and for Immortal Redneck, the gang brought their A-game.
The control is tight, progression challenging, and victories well-earned. Survey the countless Steam reviews of the PC version. Watch streams. You’ll know immediately if this game appeals to you. If it does, 20 dollars is a small price to pay for a game that is equally familiar, refreshing, silly, and dead-serious about its what it demands of the player.
All it needs, is a little Skynard. Or perhaps more appropriate given the game’s amalgamated nature…a little Salama.