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Death Road To Canada

Posted by GG Goblin On May - 10 - 2018

A random road trip through the zombie apocalypse.

The fascination with the zombie apocalypse, much like the walking dead themselves, just doesn’t want to die. While there is an upside in that most gamers will likely survive the zombie apocalypse simply because we know what to expect, the downside is zombie fatigue. However, there are a group of gamers who have been exposed to far fewer undead than other gamers, that being those who play on the Nintendo Switch. So it comes down to Rocketcat Games to educate Switch gamers in how to survive should the dead rise, while also teaching them that random events can quickly turn things bad.

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Death Road to Canada is a fairly easy to understand game in which the player will survive the zombie apocalypse by travelling, along with companions, across America to Canada, stopping frequently along the way to stock up on essential supplies. I would love to say that it is the zombies that throw a fly in that ointment, but the random nature of the game means it could be just about anything, and it will mostly be out of the players control.

Still, players will start at the beginning, which is always a great place to start, by creating their character. There is plenty of choice here, including some quite strange and outlandish options, allowing the player to create a really unique character. Different perks add to the uniqueness, giving the character different improvements that will help on their journey, such as being better at healing. It’s a nice little character creation process, but players who just can’t be bothered or live their lives in a world of randomness can always opt to have their character randomly generated, which fits well with the rest of the game.

The game plays in two different parts. The first is all about the journey itself, travelling along the roads as the player heads in the general direction of Canada. There are a selection of different resources that the player will have to keep an eye on, such as fuel for the car, or food and ammunition to keep the group well and alive. These things can be found in various different locations along the route, and the player will be given a low down on the location and the choice of stopping or continuing along the road. It puts the player in minimal control of what happens to their character.

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The reality is that they have no control at all. During the journey, random events will pop up in text form, sometimes giving the player a choice to make. These events could be something really innocuous, but more often will make any chance of reaching Canada far more unlikely. Bandits, for example, will often be responsible for stealing resources that are sorely needed, and this will have an effect on the morale of the group. Sometimes nice things happen, such as finding a new member to join the group. But far more often these events will cause distress and have the player cursing the gods of RNG.

Also, losing most of your supplies will mean having to stop more often to gather more, which brings us to the other side of the game. Here, your group will be dropped into an area with the goal of finding supplies, and surviving. The player is taught early on how to fight, using pretty much anything as a weapon, even to the point of being able to throw furniture. The combat mechanics are very simple and don’t have a lot of depth, but the reality is that avoiding getting bogged down in a zombie horde is much more likely to keep characters alive than trying to defeat the horde. There will be lots of zombies and things will get chaotic on screen, and even guns will struggle to be effective.

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To make life a little easier, or at least to share the fun, bring a friend along in local co-op. The overall strange humour of the game makes it an ideal experience to be shared, although don’t expect much more success than being alone. Characters can improve as play progresses through points they collect which can be used to upgrade abilities, or even buy new ones, but again it doesn’t make the game much easier, or any less random.

The visuals in Death Road to Canada are great, with a retro pixel style that manages to pack in plenty of detail while also giving nostalgic twangs. The characters are a highlight, with plenty of choice and the occasional special appearance of recognisable parodies. The music in the game has a weirdly cheerful disposition, which is quite nice and just adds to the overall strangeness.

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Death Road to Canada relies a lot on random events, and a run of bad luck can leave the game feeling frustrating. Also, the combat depth limits players choices in the actual slaying of zombies. But it is all about the journey and, while it may take a fair few attempts to reach Canada, it all becomes worth it. The game is also an absolute blast in co-op, so if you have a buddy and feel that Canada would be the safest bet in a zombie apocalypse, Death Road to Canada is the road trip you want.




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