After starting life on PCs back in 2016, Death Road to Canada has finally brought its zombie-slaying road trip over to consoles. Your goal? To drive from a zombie-filled Florida all the way to Canada, all whilst ensuring that you’re well equipped and that you rescue others along the way. It’s a neat concept and one that reminded me a little of The Oregon Trail… well… except for the addition of all the zombies, of course. I’d rather face hordes of zombies than dysentery, though…
You’ll start the game off by creating your own character, which is something you can fine-tune yourself or completely randomise if you can’t be bothered. It’s worth toying around with a bit though, especially with all of the customisation options and upgradable perks that you can equip them with.
You’re never alone on your journey though, with plenty of other characters to meet on your long drive. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (some are based upon pop-culture icons whilst some might not even be human) but they all offer something different. Interestingly, each of these characters have their own personalities and sometimes they might conflict, putting you in a situation where you have to make a choice of who you side with. It opens up some tricky scenarios that can often mean life-or-death for some members of your party, but they’re always intriguing to see unfold in-game.
The main bulk of your time in Death Road to Canada is spent driving, looking for supplies, fighting zombies, and rescuing others. Of course, you can’t drive without fuel, you can’t survive without food, and everyone’s health will slowly dwindle away without medicine, so it’s the management of these supplies that’s most vital of all.
You can find supplies in multiple ways, though the best (and often riskiest) is by exploring the countless locations you’ll come across on your drive. These locations are normally full of supplies to find, but they also just so happen to be overrun with flesh-eating zombies too – nobody said this was going to be easy. You’re well equipped to take down the zombies thanks to the fact you can carry three different weapons (which can be melee or ranged) at a time and combat itself is simple enough, so you’re not necessarily an easy target for them. That being said, attacking takes up stamina and with a limited amount available, sometimes you’ve really got to pick your battles. Even running away can be the best course of action in some situations…
Besides exploring different locations and driving down the long roads, there are also random events that occur mid-game that you don’t have control of – sure, you might be able to make a choice as to how you react, but other times you just have to accept the consequences. Now this is where Death Road to Canada can be a little unfair, especially when you’re losing party members or supplies for reasons that are completely out of your control. There’s an unpredictability to them and whilst some can prove beneficial, others can bring your playthrough to a swiftly unfair end.
It’s strange then that despite them causing chaos for the player, I actually found the random events one of my favourite aspects of the game. Death Road to Canada doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this is evidenced more than ever during these events where just about ANYTHING can happen. The fact you have a say in some of them is always interesting too, even if your actions can cause an unpredictable mishap. They’ll certainly garner plenty of laughs, though whether or not that laughter will balance out the frustration of the ‘game over’ inducing events might come down to the person playing…
The real hook with Death Road to Canada is just how addictive it is, and sometimes I wasn’t sure why – especially during some of the frustrating random events where my progress was completely hindered and it was out of my control. Those unfair deaths didn’t stop me coming back to the game time and time again though, with every ‘game over’ seeing me start a new run in the hope that I’d finally complete my journey to Canada. It can be a tough game to play, but a tough game not to play too. And hey, there’s even the advantage that if you were semi-successful on your previous playthrough, points will carry over that allow you to upgrade certain skills and attributes for your next.
Honestly, I’m just hooked to the game, so much so that I’ve even forked out for the Switch version so I can play it on the go, too.
Death Road to Canada offers a quirky yet addictive zombie-slaying adventure that takes a well-trodden genre and freshens it up through humour and some zany random events. Sure, these random events could be a pain at times, but they were often the highlight of the game and were what made me keep coming back for more.
The combat is decent, the journey itself is unpredictable, whilst the overall presentation is cutely gruesome – it all comes together nicely to make Death Road to Canada a thoroughly enjoyable roguelike experience.
Developer: Rocketcat Games
Publisher: Rocketcat Games
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Linux