Death Road to Canada
Reviewed by Brett
Publisher – Ukiyo Publishing
Developer – Rocketcat Games / Madgarden
Music – Joey Grady
Category – Action, Adventure, Rpg
Release Date – May 08, 2018
Do you love to kill zombies?
If so good, get in the car. If not we didn’t want you in our group anyway.
Death Road to Canada is a delightful mix of Oregon Trail, the fantastic old pc survival game where you lead a wagon from Missouri to Oregon during the hard frontier times and a quite fantastic little game on Sega Genesis/Super Nintendo called Zombies Ate My Neighbors, a humorous run and gun style game where you battle all sorts of monsters throughout many arcade style levels, that was also later added to the Wii’s virtual channel.
Death Road to Canada in my opinion takes many of the best elements of these two games and forges an amusing, tense and fun road trip trough the apocalypse.
Not a whole lot of it, but is that not almost always the case with a zombie story. Most of the time we never learn how it all started and this is definitely one of those times. You do get some light information along your journey from light conversations with people that you recruit into your group and some random npc’s that you meet at trading locations. All you really need to know is your going a road trip from somewhere in Florida to the only zombie free location left. Canada.
First things first, you start by either creating a character and one accompanying friend or letting it randomize them for you. The character creator in Death Road to Canada is somewhat basic when it comes to the looks of your characters but there are some descent options and it looks pretty good for the art style of the game. The nice part about it however are the perks and traits, they will give you some nice bonuses, they vary wildly from being better at healing to being really great with dogs, letting you recruit them into your party. There are lots of perks and traits and even more can be unlocked during your play-troughs by obtaining Zombo points and then using said points at the main menu before your next play-through. Of which you will have many.
Once the game proper begins your already in your car on the way to Canada. Things alternate between driving sequences and action combat when you stop at places to scavenge for supplies. During the driving sequences you will only interact by text. You will make decisions about random encounters and where to go. Say you get ambushed by some bandits you’ll be asked via text to make the choice of weather to give the bandits half your supplies or fight your way through them, or if you have a character with the right skills you may be able to talk your way out of the situation. You also will eventually stop to camp and to gather supplies and will be asked to make a selection on where to go but all of this is done via text selection.
Right before you stop you’ll make the choice of which location you want to search, then you will be given the details of the zombie population there, as in how think they are and how aggressive their behavior is. Once you do pick a spot and get out you will be fighting your way through an area of town. Say you select to search for medical supplies at a local hospital, you will pull up to a section of a town and hop out of the car then search a block or two to find the hospital usually with a couple of other houses that are available to search. By combing as much as possible you have a better chance of finding the supplies you almost always desperately need to stay alive and to trade with. However the longer your out there the higher the chances of accident or death there is.
Combat is pretty straight forward you have three weapon slots available and switch between them on the fly, and your just running and gunning trying not to take damage while while searching. This is of course easier said then done when your surrounded by zombies. It can get even more difficult due to the fact that while using melee weapons your characters will lose stamina and get tired quickly, another good reason to have that mix of guns on hand. Of course you need to have a stock of bullets for this to work as well, so don’t shoot em all in one place. The amount of and variation of weapons is pretty high and range from scalpels to chainsaws to all manner of guns. Keeping a smart loadout is pretty important to staying alive, keeping a nice mix of high damage melee weapons and a good gun is they way i have been going. Guns however will draw more attention your way as they create more noise. You can find them throughout your searches or trade for them at camps if your lucky enough to have the supplies needed to trade. Which I almost never was.
You may also and in fact will almost certainly run out of gas from time to time. In this case your team will abandon the car and search for a new one. This always sucks. Its much more dangerous and the chances for bad things to happen stack up quite quick. Then there are also survival rounds that seem to randomly happen where you must survive a zombie horde surrounding you. These timed encounters can prove most deadly if you are ill prepared.
That’s pretty much it. Run, shoot and slice your way through an ever increasing zombie mob while smartly managing your characters dispositions and maintaining a healthy amount of supplies. Thanks to a very good amount of different possibilities with characters and randomly generated levels its always fun.
My only gripe here is everything moves a little too slowly. Not just the zombies. Characters seem to just be a little too sluggish to me and if you keep the optional screen alteration effects on it seems to be worse. While they give the game a fun look thankfully you can turn them off.
I really dig the retro style of this game and they clearly did the most they could with the design with lots of detail, good colors and all around good pixel art. Menus are easy to navigate, easy to understand, nice to look at and full of information about your characters.
The soundtrack is also pretty fun. The vibe of the soundtrack is not what you would expect it to be. There are few serious or dangerous feeling tones, though with a lot of lighter and more upbeat tracks that brings out the humorous side of Death Road to Canada. Which makes the game a lot more upbeat.
Death Road to Canada is a very fun and at times very challenging game with good art and pleasant music. The only issue i had was the somewhat sluggish character movement. The replayability here is extremely high. I have yet to actually make it to Canada. I have tried eight times now and have gotten close on a few tries, i have so much fun playing it though that i will keep trying until i get there. The journey in Death Road to Canada is just as important as the destination and this is a road trip that i will be taking many times over.