We’re running low on food. We might have enough for about two days but that’s it. I knew I shouldn’t have picked up that Valkyrie back there. Waste of food. We’re also running low on gas. It’s going to last us for one more day. After that, we have to walk. At least we have ammo and medical supplies. As I’m sat brooding about how to solve the situation, an argument erupts in the car. Someone has farted, and it is up to me to deduce who did it.
The above is pretty much how every playthrough of Death Road to Canada is going to go. There will be moments where you will be fighting for survival and moments where the stupidest things will happen. There are also times that these two things happen simultaneously, and these are the best times. The basic plot of the game is that we are a bunch of US citizens in the zombie apocalypse, trying to make our way to Canada, where it’s supposed to be safe.
When we start the game, we have a few options. First, we can create custom characters, giving them distinct appearances and traits. Afterwards, we can modify some things on the game itself. For example, we can make it more likely that rare characters appear in our path. After we configure these variables as well, we can choose whether to start with a random or a custom character. Lastly, we can choose whether to start with a buddy or not.
When the game begins, we always start out with 100 units of gas and 8 units of food. Death Road to Canada’s gameplay is split into two parts. The first is the road trip. Every day that we spend on the road we consume food, burn gas and use medical supplies if someone needs to be healed. Moreover, we also come upon random events that can either be good, bad, or something in between. Depending on the traits our characters have, we can also get some special responses to most events. For example, if our car breaks down and one of our characters has a good mechanical skill, there is a special choice in the event that almost certainly will fix our car.
As we proceed on our road trip, we will get many chances to go into towns and loot them. This is the second part of the game, where it turns into a top-down action game. While looting, we can find better weapons for our survivors and also a lot of resources. Usually we are presented a choice when we go looting. For example, we might have to choose between a rest stop and a police station. If we go to the rest stop, we will almost certainly find lots of food, gas and maybe even some medical. However, it’s highly unlikely that we manage to find any good weapons. On the other hand, going to the police station means tons of weapons but little of everything else. This means that sometimes we will have to make some tough choices when it comes to resources.
Lastly, a different kind of looting is the siege missions. Basically, sometimes we will get put into some very difficult situations where we will have to hold back the zombies for about and hour on two in-game. While there will usually be some loot available in these missions, it is the last thing we will be looking for, as staying alive is much more important. Siege missions are usually the missions where zombies are at their scariest, as they can easily gang up on you and kill you.
Apart from this gameplay hybrid, the other reason Death Road to Canada stands out it its humor. The dialogue between survivors is usually absurd in a hilarious way, just like many of the events we see. Moreover, there are a lot of special interactions in the game that improve it a lot. For example, we can drive in a hot dog car, meets a Valkyrie sent by Thor to protect us, save Gordon Freeman and release a Genie from a toilet. Since story and plot in the traditional way is absent from Death Road to Canada, it is these interactions and the feats of our characters that make the game memorable and fun.
In terms of graphics, the pixel art in the game is amazing, with the gore being the best part for me. Even more amazing is the game’s music. Death Road to Canada has perhaps the best main theme I’ve heard in 2016. I’ve pretty much had it playing on repeat for the last couple days.
Another great thing about Death Road to Canada is how well the game runs. I found no bugs in the time that I played and moreover, the game can run on anything, since it only requires 60 MB in storage, a 1.3 GHz processor and 128 MB of RAM. I’m willing to bet money that this can run on a laptop from the early 2000’s. Really, the only issue I had with the game was its difficulty spike in the last day before Canada. I was doing just fine even the day before that, but the last day was absolutely brutal. I get that I was in what in other games would be the final bossfight, but even so, I think it was a bit too hard.
All in all however, Death Road to Canada is a fantastic game. Its randomness in terms of events and missions combined with its great humor means that you will get hundreds of hours out of it, and you will enjoy all of them.
You can find Death Road to Canada on Steam for 15 euros.
Death Road to Canada is a very polished game, full of hilarious characters and unexpected events. Its addicting gameplay will keep you company for a long time.
+ The great mix of gameplay.
+ The graphics and sound.
+ The humor and characters.
– Maybe a bit too hard near the end.
– Philip “Snowchill” Alexandris