Redneck Ed: Astro Monsters Show Review. Don't make a face.



The urge for entertainment is everywhere, especially reality tv and game shows keep popping up to keep the masses from getting bored. It seems that even other worldly planets have been under the spell of gameshows and now, needing new candidates they have finally set their sights on the inhabitants of planet Earth. Get ready to find out the mysteries of the Astro Monster show as you jump, leap and punch your way on a path towards freedom.


Redneck Ed: Astro Monsters show, follows the misadventures of Ed, a simple mechanic from the planet Earth. One day while chilling in his garage Ed gets his face stolen by a mysterious alien girl. While he chases her he finds himself  kidnapped by a UFO and used as a pawn in the wacky world of intergalactic show business. The player must conquer various levels inhabited by bloodthirsty extraterrestrials of all shapes and sizes, armed only with Ed’s trusty wrench and charming smile. Along the way you will learn new skills, get upgrades, meet aliens and discover the secrets that go on behind the scenes of the battle arenas.


Gameplay: 
At its heart Redneck Ed is a dynamic and colorful arena fighter combined with platform challenges sprinkled in between. There is also a dash of Rogue like/lite added to the mix and as you take on each challenge you will die a lot, respawn and either try again or collect some upgrades before you return.  Ed's main weapon of attack? His trusty wrench that he swings with all his might. As you create powerful combos you collect likes from the galactic audience.
with the likes you can buy a variety of upgrades to increase  your battle effectiveness and give you special attacks. More attacks is more chance for great combos which in turn give  you more likes and increase  your chances for victories. All these additions help you grow into a fearsome foe but it will take time. 

Levels are basic area boss fights where you are tasked to kill a  big boss or a series of smaller enemies while being bombarded with environmental hazards. In some levels you can have a secondary quest such as keeping another character alive ( I hate snot). Escort missions are bad in many if not any game but incredibly irritating in Redneck Ed as your escort target seems to be a magnet for danger (again, I hate snot). 

Each arena has multiple difficulty levels which, when defeated will give you an amount of victory points and likes. With enough victory points (starts) you can unlock further levels in the game and move forward. 
Had enough from sweaty palms in your attempt to overcome the latest challenge? Explore the world around the arenas. This is where you find more of your platforming challenges. Find your way through and you will unlock rewards and secrets that lift the veil about the world around you.  




Presentation:
The first thing you will notice are the incredible art style of hand drawn graphics that will invoke comparisons to the game Cuphead. Yet the designs and color palette give the game a feel of its own. There is next to no loading once you hit the arenas and if you die you quickly respawn to try again. A nice feature is the retry gate where you can decide to take on the same arena straight away or you can choose to go buy some upgrades in order  to up you chances to win.  The game is loaded with cultural references and winks to action movies, gaming, and TV shows. A lot of the classics are represented , some with literal refences and others a bit more subtle. 

The levels are varied and keep your interest with big mushrooms, volcanoes, and more. There about 15 levels and with the difficulty level it will take most players a while to get through it all.
The sound effects are solid and backed by a thumping rock like soundtrack that feel solely unique, different then what you usually hear. 
The dialog is presented in text, and I would have loved to have seen different colours for each person talking because at times it was hard to tell who said what, making for some confusion at times and some jokes fell flat because a second read through was needed.

I am confused why some of the classic monsters were in charge of my upgrade stations, were they also from earth? Or were they aliens? The look great and make for a humorous display of oddities but I am not sure they fit? 



Final thoughts:
Redneck Ed: Astro Monsters Show is a game that delivers a  visually stunning game with a unique soundtrack. In this department it certainly no slouch. In terms of playstyle and upgrade track the game play looks good on paper. But in reality the game play did not hit the nail on the head. This is not only because the fights are hard, it is because part of the difficulty comes from input lag and slow response times in fights and platforming elements where timing seems to be key to each hard earned victory. Sure upgrades make things a little easier but the basic core gameplay needs to feel solid and build from there. There already have been some patches since its release last week and I wonder how well tweaks can address the feel of the gameplay. 
Still in spite of the frustrations with the controls , the game still manages to invoke giddiness and laughs and engage the player with its story, gags and beautifully crafter world. 

At the time of writing Redneck Ed was missing an ESRB rating, but I would set the game no higher then a Teen rating. Ed loses his face and walks around with a red visage for the duration of the game. That is the worst and there are some (vague) references to drinking, drugs etc. As always check out what the game is and keep an eye out what the kids play.

If you want to bash some alien skull in a face melting beautiful handcrafted alien world and have a few laughs and challenges on the way then Redneck Ed deserves your attention. If you are looking for engaging, tight and perfect controls during gameplay this mechanic turned entertainer might not be able to keep your interest. *unless patches address this.
 



Game information:
Title: Redneck Ed: Astro Monster show
Developer: Rustic Fantastic
Publisher: 101XP
Release date: 10 September 2020
Platforms: PC (STEAM), 101XP.com 
Review platform:  PC (Steam)
ESRB: Not Rated

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