Death Road to Canada is part survival game, part rogue-lite, and part action. You may not have heard about it, but you definitely need to play. Although it has some minor issues, its addictive gameplay, clever writing, and fun mechanics kept me jumping back into a new game after every death.
No one likes the zombie apocalypse, because it’s a real downer. Friends and family are gone, and life is terrible. Death Road to Canada is a breath of fresh air at the end of the world. What if you combined the ideas of The Walking Dead with a road trip?
The story is very simple. The zombie apocalypse happened as we all knew it would. You hear that things are safer in Canada, so you hop in your car for a chance to live.
Life on the road is tough. Each day has you encountering a series of random events, some looting, and interactions with your fellow travelers. A random event presents you with a choice, such as whether to give in to the demands of bandits or where to stop for supplies.
There are strategic components to every decision. You will eat and use gas everyday, and people are a resource. If you have more people in your group, you can handle a bigger group of zombies, but you will consume more of your food supply. You will also need more medical supplies to keep everyone alive.
The car is its own set of choices, and there is a lot of variety. If you pick an SUV, it is durable and takes more damage. It also uses a lot more gas than a more fragile but fuel-efficient electric car. When you run out of gas, you have to walk. This makes you more likely to become someone’s prey, and it slows down your progress.
Always Be Looting is your slogan for every stop you make. If you need some weapons, a gun store may be your ideal location. If your group is running low on health, the hospital is the best place to pick up some medical supplies. Every choice may be your last, so think carefully.
Your car will pull into a small area with homes and businesses to loot. Each is randomly generated, so you never know if a side room will be full of food or a tiny room with one zombie. Zombie density, aggression, and time of day can make looting easier or more difficult.
- Developer: Rocketcat Games
- Release Date: May 8th
- Price: $14.99, €14.99, £11.99
Each location will have random weapons lying on the ground, and Death Road to Canada gives you plenty of variety here too. Starting with a steel pipe or even bare hands, you can pick up knives, guns, lawn equipment, and explosives. A steel pipe is powerful, but you will tire more quickly if your survivor has less strength.
The stats of your team dictate whether they are a help or hindrance. If you send someone with a low loyalty in to collect supplies, they may take the food and run. Someone with a bad attitude may ruin the team’s morale and cause others to desert or fight.
To build your dream team, you can customize your starting characters with unique traits and perks. The perks can be physical, such as more strength or fitness, give you more medical ability, or give you more control over your looting locations. The perks can be upgraded with Zombo points you earn or find in the world.
Traits are usually a plus with a potential negative. You may have someone with greater physical ability, but they make everyone else unhappy. Both are a great way to tailor your starting team to your preferences.
Since people can leave or join your group, there are some standard characters to meet, including the now mandatory canine companions, as well as special acquaintances such as “Lank”, a magical sword wielding character just different enough to not cause a lawsuit.
All of these factors combine into a very interesting game that could last one day or until you finally reach the safety of Canada. I have had my entire original group killed off, only to keep going with new people. Even a dog can keep driving the car at the end of world, and, if you have a chance to recruit a dog, do it.
Every time I died, I used my Zombo points for unlocks, and jumped immediately back into a new game. Despite the common events repeating frequently and sometimes heavily weighted negative random events, I couldn’t wait to start over and try my luck again.
The game’s writing had me smiling, even as terrible things kept happening to my shrinking group of survivors. This is not a bleak Walking Dead game from Telltale. There are far too many feral cat attacks for that. This is meant to be a light-hearted tale of death on the road, and it really succeeds.
There are a few things that pulled the game down a little for me. First, the visuals are nicely pixelated, and normally they look great. That changes when the ground is covered in zombie guts, and it is difficult to see where a zombie horde begins and where you need to run to avoid being tapas. I died more than a few times this way.
The other minor problem was in the attack direction. The controls themselves are solid, but my attack direction was not always consistent for where I was headed. During a crisis, I could be swinging my pipe away from the zombies, instead of into their mushy skulls. It didn’t seem to happen when I used the d-pad, but I lost some of my mobility.
Neither of these things should keep you from playing. Death Road to Canada is addictive. I had to jump right back into the game and make a better decision or hope that my random luck was better.
I have enjoyed many hours with it so far, and I look forward to more. After beating the normal mode, additional modes unlock, so despite it being a very small game, there is a lot of finely tuned replay here.
Death Road to Canada is a brilliant combination of multiple genres, and it begs to be replayed. It’s filled with strategy, while appearing deceptively simple. Despite the setting, it never takes itself too seriously. I really enjoyed my time with it. Bottom line, Death Road to Canada is the most fun you will have in the zombie apocalypse.
Death Road to Canada PS4 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8.5/10
Death Road to Canada is a game bursting with replayability. The random events and environments, good writing, and customizable characters pulled me into game after game, trying different strategies to keep my poor group of survivors alive for just one more day. There are some minor issues, but there is enough fun here to overlook them. I really enjoyed my road trip to Canada, and I think you will too.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using a PS4 Pro.
Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.