I can’t wait to get on the road again.
With multiple zombie games hitting the scene every year, the shambling undead have become so prevalent in the industry that it’s starting to become more and more difficult to find a genuinely unique entry to the genre. Thankfully, amongst the endless survival games currently on the market, Rocketcat Games has come along with something a little bit different, and a little bit brilliant. Enter Death Road to Canada, a gloriously over-the-top blend of action-horror and text-based adventures that proves you can find inspiration in even the most over-saturated game genres.
At its core, Death Road to Canada is a spin on the classic text adventure games in which you’re given multiple options to drive the short and sweet storyline to its conclusion. As such, if you find copious amounts of text a bit of a turn-off, then you’re not going to get on with this game. For everyone else, get ready to take a perilous journey towards Canada, filled with kooky characters, deadly bandits and, of course, lots of zombies.
In the basic game mode, you can choose from a generous selection of characters to play as, from middle-aged mechanics to nerdy teenagers. You can also choose whether or not to bring a buddy along with you for support, which you can again customise before you set off. The bulk of your adventure takes place within a car on a long stretch of road – the text comes thick and fast, and you’ll need to keep a close eye on your car’s gas level, your characters’ morale and the number of supplies you currently have in your possession.
You’ll frequently be given choices to make along your journey, and you’ll need to take a look at your characters’ strengths and weaknesses in order to determine the best course of action. A lot of it can come down to sheer chance, and you’ll be surprised when the game suddenly throws a deadly scenario at you and strips you of your supplies and morale at the drop of a hat. But this is where the action-horror sections come into play.
At regular intervals, you’ll be given the opportunity to stop off at various locales in order to resupply, recruit new characters to your squad and rain justice down on the hoards of zombies. It’s presented in a top-down view not unlike Enter the Gungeon – you control your character with both analogue sticks, using the left to navigate the environment and the right to look around. You can switch between melee weapons and guns at will (provided you have enough ammo), and whilst it’s reasonably good fun to whack a few zombies to gooey bits and pieces, I often found myself rushing through these sections so I could get back to the car and continue with the text adventure side of the game.
I have to give a very special shout-out to the game’s music – straight from the start, the bonkers, catchy tunes immediately set an unexpected tone and will stick with you long after play sessions, and it genuinely elevates the experience to new heights. After all, the game doesn’t take itself seriously, and whilst death comes frequently, both on the road and off, I can’t help but come away from the experience feeling uplifted, and thankful to Rocketcat Games for trying something a bit different.