You run for your life, throwing open a wooden door, throw yourself through it and then slam the door behind you. Looking around you see a lone zombie, shambling his way towards you. You grab your weapon; a golf club you secured from the last room and bring it down to the Zombie’s head, moments before the creature, knocking it to the ground. You take a sigh of relief, knowing that you are safe for a moment, but not for long as the horde behind you is amassing, the Golf Club may not hold out. You take a deep breath, open the door and ready yourself. You have a trip to Canada to continue.
Death Road to Canada is a ‘Permadeath Road Trip Simulator’ by Rocketcat Games available on PC, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS. In the game, the player must survive a deadly zombie infested road trip to Canada, much in the same vein as the classic title ‘The Oregon Trail’ (and even more similar to the Zombie version ‘The Organ Trail’ Combining logical decision making events with action packed adventure segments in which you’ll explore randomised cities, towns, factories, junkyards, forests, and sewers while looking for supplies and survivors while fighting off the endless hordes of zombies.
In a world where food is the new currency you’ll be scavenging for this along with Ammunition, Medical Supplies, Petrol (GAS) and new and better weapons to help you survive, with each action segment being randomised this allows you to have a new experience every time rather than having you run through the same exact thing time and time again when you die (and you will die. Lots).
The action parts of the game are incredibly simple at first with a few zombies here and there, a simple tap of the action button will swing your weapon. Some Zombies will take multiple hits before falling down, in which you’ll have to finish them off. This makes the game feel a lot more difficult as most weapons won’t simply power through a whole horde, while bullets will make things easier it’s simply better to conserve these until later levels when they’re needed a lot more.
Once you’ve scavenged some items it’s out on the open road and this is the screen where you’ll find your resources depleting quickly resorting you having to pick more choices, meanwhile occurrences can cause a party member to be injured (for example I once had a character die when I told them to move a tree log) or simply increase/decrease morale if you favour one character more than others or increase tiredness if you stay up all night telling stories. It’s an essential game of balance, unhappy team members will cause internal fights while being tired will severely affect your ability to swing your weapon in the next battle.
The game is incredibly relaxed about the whole zombie apocalypse thing, pointing out stupidities and making things rather hilarious, for example, I recruited a dog. And that dog knew how to drive. Eventually, my party consisted of only the Dog on his way to Canada. (where apparently it’s safe from Zombies) this makes the game fun to replay compared to other similar titles as you won’t feel like you’ve seen everything straight away.
The real icing on the cake is the ability to recreate yourself and your friends and family into the game, this adds a whole new level of fun into the game when sharing your progress with friends in real life and gives you a lot more of an attachment to the characters in game compared to the random or default characters.
Graphically the title isn’t anything to write home about and the game will most likely run on any computer, it uses sprite based characters and locations which allow the game to remain in an almost timeless state similar to games from the 16 bit era, a fun addition is the pixilated photos put into the game for some of the dialogue options.
The music is an indie, chiptronic score produced by Joey Grady, it seems to add to the idea that this is a retro style title, unfortunately, the music does wear a little thin after a few hours as it seems to just endlessly loop. For short bursts this is fine but on longer stretches, I found myself just muting the screen.
While this is an enjoyable title it does have a few little issues, for me the main one is that the game is incredibly difficult and a lot of it is luck based, sometimes you can get a perfect initial scavenge with great weapons while other times you may find a tiny amount of food and a fragile weapon that breaks quickly, as of yet I’ve played the title numerous times and at no point came close to beating the game (although some very close attempts) with each failure coming down to random luck rather than skill. Restarting the game can feel very repetitive which is why I ended up lowering myself to shorter bursts than properly gaming on it. Another issue I had was that after playing the game for a few days I started up to find all of my data had been wiped, not sure why this occurred but it was slightly irritating having to recreate all of the characters I’d built up a few days before.
Overall Death Road To Canada is a fun little game that can fill a few hours. While it does have a few issues here and there it’s still a lot of fun to play. I personally picked the PC version of the title as it supported an external controller which made gameplay all the better. It’s certainly worth the time to pick it up if you want a fun zombie-like title that doesn’t require a lot of time to sink into it.