Death Road to Canada describes itself as a ‘Randomly Generated Road Trip Action-RPG’ which sums it up pretty well, actually. It sees you controlling a group of eclectic characters as they make their way from Florida to the safe haven of Canada, in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.
If you’ve played Organ Trail, then you have a reasonably good idea what to expect – in a general sense. But this is a little more in-depth than that in a few ways. You can create your own character with a number of personality traits. These effect the character’s many stats and the choices you have in certain situations. So for example, having a character with a good mechanical skill will help if (more like when) the car breaks down. So because of this, you’re very unlikely to get to Canada first time. It takes a few attempts to learn which skills do which, and which characters to take.
There’s also an element of item management to consider. You have vital supplies like food and gasoline, but these can also be traded. And do you scrounge the zombie infested town for the last slither or gas? Or risk breaking down in a worse spot further on? As well as these things to consider, the game is randomised. Meaning that even if you take the best character types, conserve gas, collect enough food, and stock up on bullets – the gang might still get robbed by bandits or fall in a puddle.
The game has a surprisingly detailed combat system (in comparison to Organ Trail at the very least). There’s a myriad of cool melee weapons and a range of guns, and you can pick up objects to throw. But there’s also a stamina system. So when you’re mashing the button to hit, make sure to watch your character’s face and see how red he/she is getting. It makes the brawls against the undead a very tense thing, and every room needs a certain amount of planning.
On the plus side, to help you with these difficulties, the game offers shared screen vouch co-op! Truthfully, this was the selling point for me. And true, the AI companion is far more capable than me, but mowing through zombies as a pair is twice the fun. And deciding on the choices is a laugh. There’s a ramp up ahead. Do you slow down? Or speed up and do a sick jump? It might lead to arguments when the car is destroyed, but it’s a less lonely apocalypse.
The game is also gorgeous, with the cartoony art and gore giving it it’s own style. And the soundtrack is great, switching between heavy beats or some genuinely relaxing melodies. The thing that ties it all together is that it’s funny – whether that be banter between the group or a certain character trait leading to an hilarious outcome in a random encounter on the road.
Overall, for the price I have no qualms with Death Road to Canada. It is tough but the addition of co-op means it’s never dull and always a laugh. A definite buy for split screen and shared screen gamers. Or at least the dozen of us that are left.
Reviewed by Jack