Death Road to Canada is a procedurally generated road trip simulator where you travel from Florida to Canada to escape the zombie apocalypse—that is, if you can make it to Canada! You’ll lead an ever-changing team of up to four characters in their quest for asylum, and along the way, you’ll bicker amongst yourselves, recruit new weirdos, and fight hordes of zombies. Search for supplies like food, medicine, fuel, and weapons, and control any teammate you like at any time. But be careful: if everyone in your team dies, it’s over, and you’ll have to begin again!
You’re pretty much guaranteed to lose teammates as you travel, since zombies are not the only danger you’ll face. Other hazards include bandits, rough terrain, and starvation. But you can lose teammates and keep playing, so long as you still have at least one traveller left alive! As you play, you’ll want to keep recruiting teammates to increase your chance for survival, and if your team is full, you can kick someone out to add a new companion if you like. Each character has their own personality, and most have drawbacks as well as perks. Like everything else in Death Road, these characters are randomly generated, but you can also create your own stock of up to 99 kooky characters that can pop up at any time. You can customize their looks, quirks, and personalities, so design yourself, your friends, your foes, and anyone you like to make this game your own!
You’ll start with two characters of your choice in a car traveling north. As you travel, random events will happen via text descriptions that appear on your screen, including mechanical breakdowns, running out of gas, encountering potential new teammates, and much, much more! You’ll also encounter random situations where you’re presented with several options, and you must make a choice. For example, perhaps you’ve found yourself in a town with a sporting goods store and a Y’all Mart (a silly play on Wal Mart). Will you search the sporting goods store for weapons, loot the Y’all Mart, or sleep safely in the car? The choice is yours! But be careful: every choice has its consequences. If you enter one of the stores in search of supplies, you might be killed by zombies, but if you stay in your car, you could possibly starve!
You’re also pretty much guaranteed to lose your car at some point: maybe you’ll run out of gas, or blow a tire, or suffer vandalism at the hands of zombies. If you lose your car on the road and can’t find an immediate replacement, you’ll have to walk to your next destination, and yes—walking to Canada amidst a zombie apocalypse is even more dangerous than driving through it! But there’s always a chance you’ll come across a lot of abandoned cars, and if you do, you’ll want to search for a good replacement. Of course, if you have a teammate who’s good at tinkering with cars, you can have them upgrade your vehicle to make it last longer—but even the best mechanic can’t prevent you from running out of gas, so pay attention to your fuel level and try to make choices that minimize fuel consumption.
When we say everything about Death Road is randomly generated, we mean it, and we guarantee you’ll never have the same experience twice. This makes for infinite replay value, a huge selling point for this title. Plus, you can even play with a friend, with each of you controlling one teammate. Worried about having only the two Joy-Con that come with the Switch? Worry not! The controls are simple enough that you and your friend can easily play with one Joy-Con each. Co-op mode boosts the replayability factor even more, but if you don’t have a friend to play with, rest assured that the AI is excellent in Death Road, and the CPU-controlled characters will be really helpful for you. On top of all this, Death Road is fairly family-friendly for a zombie apocalypse game, and it’s easy enough for kids to play—that is, if you think it’s a good idea!
Death Road to Canada has a perfectly retro feel. With its hi-bit graphics and chiptune soundtrack, it plays like a genuine old-school PC game. Although you’re fighting zombies and your teammates are dying left and right, the violence is quite tame and there isn’t much blood or gore, yet the graphics still make you feel the tension and excitement inherent in facing a horde of flesh-eating zombies. While the traveling scenes are visually similar, they always manage to look quite different: the scenery changes as you continue north, and you’re never with the same car or teammates for long. Complementing these graphics is a zany and up-beat soundtrack, which creates a playful and campy atmosphere that we don’t often encounter in new retro-style indies.
All in all, we love Death Road to Canada, and it’s easily one of our favorite new indies this year. For just $14.99, you get an awesome one-of-a-kind road trip adventure with infinite replayability, killer graphics, and a toe-tapping soundtrack. Plus, Death Road is hilarious: it’s jam-packed with silliness, pop cultural references, and just plain old insanity, and you’ll have to play this game yourself to know exactly what we mean. If you like what you’ve seen in our review, we definitely recommend checking out Death Road to Canada on Nintendo Switch when you have a chance.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher –Ukiyo Publishing
Developer –Rocketcat Games / Madgarden
Genre –Action, Adventure
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.