The car was running out of fuel. We could see our destination in the horizon, but it was the journey ahead that scared me. My friends had died searching for supplies in an abandoned library. It was only me now. I tried to look for other survivors, a place to stay the night. Nothing. The car finally stopped moving and I was forced to proceed on foot. That was, until a horde of zombies started a siege. I grabbed my weapons and ran into a house nearby to protect myself from them. When it all seemed pointless, I saw a shadow on the wall that moved faster than the regular zombies. And then I heard a sound I would never forget…
A bark, from a machine gun wielding dog who helped me to escape.
Death Road To Canada seemed like a different game for me at first: it introduces itself as a survival title, leading you and a bunch of peculiar characters throughout a zombie apocalypse until the end of the world. Or, at least, until Canada. The original pitch resonates a lot with The Oregon Trail, which is 100% correct, as all characters have their own morale, traits and skills, a lot of which are developed during their story with us. But instead of purely relaying on sadness and tragedy, the game presents a lot of humor, bording the line of not taking itself seriously at all. This is what makes Death Road To Canada so special.
You can begin your story with a randomized character or choose to create your own character, selecting a bunch of visual options and your own traits, which will grant positive and negative buffs when dealing with certain situations, like using brute force or knowledge when trying to fix the car or being able to survive scavenging an entire place without help. The interesting part is that you can not only select your own character, but it will be introduced in the game as part of this fictional world. One time, while riding with a whole different party, the group found my avatar just roaming the streets, “making tons of noise, playing a portable game console at full blast”. They got that right.
And it’s even better when you include even more unique characters, exposing friends and family to the dangers of this fictional world just to have fun.
Everything from characters or situations to the general theme of Death Road To Canada has a sense of parody to it, but the reality that these characters are living in remains the same. Looking for resources is mandatory, and most of the times there will be no other choice than to go on foot, opening the second part of the game. Instead of seeing messages and getting reports from your character’s status, you actually control your character in different closed areas, often with dozens of roaming undeads and places to loot from.
Medkits, food and fuel are always the top priority for every search, but you can also pick all sorts of weapons, which are later available in a shared inventory with the entire party, letting you choose the right tools before starting a mission. Combat isn’t that complex, though, as it mostly relies on doing basic attacks limited by the character’s stamina.
But zombies aren’t meant to be a challenge, only obstacles. They’re slow and not very smart, so you normally don’t have a problem passing through them. The challenge arises when they start becoming a bigger group, surrounding you in small rooms. When you inevitably perish, the game grants you the possibility of choosing who will become the leader. But not everything is lost, as you obtain skill points that can be spent in general upgrades for next playthroughs, improving perks that can be later used in characters you create from scratch or that get assigned randomly to encounters.
This leads to replayability, an element that goes along amazingly well with the experience. It’s meant to be played in short sessions, often learning new tricks and just having fun with the procedural generated survivors and situations mid road. Having the game on consoles is a plus, but the Switch is the best companion for the experience, making a really strong connection between the mentioned features.
Death Road To Canada is an addictive story generator that gives you complete freedom upon its universe. You are the one who choose the main characters of each attempt to survival, always receiving a hilarious response from the game’s systems. From rampage dogs to defending yourself from a zombie horde with toilets, the game will always make you laugh and care for the characters. It takes some time to get used to its general humor and narrative style, as at first it seems in conflict, but everything comes together once you understand the purpose of its silliness.
A copy for Death Road To Canada on Switch was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Make sure to visit the official site for more information and don’t forget to follow both Ukiyo Publishing and Rocketcat Games on Twitter.