When you really think about it, Canada is truly the safest place to be when it comes to the supernatural. Where else would you find a country that had protection from the likes of WolfCop, The Kids In The Hall, and the ghost of Leslie Nielsen? So once the zombies start popping out of graves and eating the brains of the idiotic, consider our neighbors of the north for the finest save haven available. If you need further proof, look to Rocketcat Games and Madgarden's latest zombie apocalypse "simulator" Death Road to Canada.
Taking place more than likely in the not-so-distant future, Death Road to Canada will have players trekking the long and corpse-y trail from Florida to the land of maple syrup and the finest hardcore punk scene you could ever ask for. As you drive, you will be tasked to find weapons, supplies, fuel, and other survivors that may aid in your quest for safety. However, as it's very much an every human for themselves sort of situation, some of your so-called comrades may wind up stabbing you in the back, resulting you in less reserves if they decide to do so. It's a game that acts on the flip of the coin, where sometimes good things happen and other times...well, let's just say you'll be starting all over again on many occasions.
Unlike most recent games, the zombies in Death Road to Canada are classically sluggish. They're slow, don't act as much of a threat when in the single digits, and they can be taken care of with a couple blows to the head. When their numbers are increased, that's when you need to run and kill as much as you possibly can, as they act like pesky mosquitos seeking your body as food. The more allies you have with you, the better the odds, but survival depends on what everyone is armed with.
Throughout the levels, you will thankfully find many weapons lying around at your disposal. At times, they can be very handy, such as with metal pipes, powerful guns, and the occasional board with a nail in it. Then there will be moments where you'll find yourself trying to kill a zombie with a spatula, which I personally found out the hard way does jack shit! Thankfully, how the game is presented keeps it from being frustrating, and is instead an entertaining ride to Moose Country.
Not only does Death Road to Canada present its gameplay in a brawl-like setting, but you'll also be greeted with various text adventure-styled what-if scenarios. All of which can be pretty funny, as this game has a tone that's more akin to Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland rather than 28 Days Later. These moments will also let you be introduced to new characters and possible allies, as well as some dangerous foes that you can either bribe away with food or attempt to run over with your car...if you have a vehicle, that is.
There's a certain level of strategy to be had when it comes to playing a zombie game such as this, but it can get a bit stingy as most of the outcomes are placed on random luck. Rarely was I personally greeted with a positive take on any of the text-based scenarios, as my survivors constantly got injured by other people, zombies, and random objects. (In one instance, I somehow caused the car I was driving in to explode, killing everyone and ending the game!) Needless to day, this is one title that won't let you just choose willy-nilly a decision and have you walk away unscathed. Instead, it forces you to look at your supplies, read the situation, and choose what would be the best means of moseying along to the next destination.
Although there is quite a good amount of fun to be had in Death Road to Canada, I couldn't help but notice that its gameplay slowly becoming repetitive. Even though there's a great amount of challenges that are thrown at you, I couldn't help but feel like my brain was slowly going into auto-pilot mode after a few hours. With that being said, this is definitely one of those titles that is a lot more fun when playing couch co-op with a friend. A lot of the more tedious elements of the game disappear when you're laughing and shouting together as the massive amounts of zombies sauntering their way over towards your lively flesh. (Sadly, there's no online mode to be found as of this review, which I hope does get added on later down the line.)
Reaching the homeland of Ryan Reynolds and Dudley Do-Right will take you just a few hours to do, but Death Road to Canada is all about repeat playing. Since no two gaming experiences are the same, you can discover new areas, people, and other goodies with every go-around. New modes can also be unlocked, giving you the chance to try your hand at experiencing the pixelated nightmare on different difficulties and settings. Plans are also in place to keep updating the game with new content for the next couple of years, meaning you won't have to worry about running into repeated scenarios for a good amount of time.
- Zany retro visuals
- A good amount of challenges
- Great couch co-op mode...
- ...but lacks online multiplayer
- Can get repetitive after awhile
Death Road to Canada is one road trip that's fun with your closest pals rather than treading solo. With a great assortment of modes and goodies to go through, this collaboration with Rocketcat Games and Madgarden aims to have wicked time with their players rather than slice them into Canadian bacon. Put together your finest Barenaked Ladies mixtape, and set out with your buddy on this gore-ifically retro take on the zombie game genre.
Promotional consideration provided by Jeffrey Matulef of Plan of Attack. Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.