Now as for the trip itself, you have 15 days of driving until you make it to Canada, indicated by the number next to the clock in the top-left corner of the screen. Resource management is the most important aspect of the game. You’ll need to search for food to eat, gas for the car, meds to heal up when you take damage, and a steady supply of weapons and ammo. Most weapons are breakable, so that’s another thing to worry about. Scavenging is a necessity. At regular intervals, you’ll be given a choice of areas to investigate. The areas get more dangerous as you progress, with zombie hordes getting larger and more aggressive. You’ll get a notice telling you the size of the horde and how active they are. Up to 500 zombies can attack you at any given time, so things can get very tense, considering how fast they can kill you when you get surrounded. They also get more wound up at night, so you have to pay attention to the clock at all times. To exit an area you will need to get back to your car, which can get surrounded and damaged by zombies. While driving around you’ll also run into a variety of random events that require skill checks. These can result in good things happening, like characters joining you or acquiring valuable supplies. However, sometimes your characters can end up being injured and sometimes killed outright. It all depends on choosing the right person for the right job, which brings us to the next paragraph: skillz to pay the billz.
Death Road to Canada goes for the retro game-type aesthetic and pulls it off wonderfully. The pixels are not overly rough, so they’re fairly nice looking, probably closer to the 16-bit era than the 8-bit. The soundtrack is a lot better than I would have expected. It’s made up of a series of incredibly upbeat and catchy chiptune tracks, though there are a few more serious tracks to ratchet up the tension in the appropriate places. Still, it’s an infectiously groovy thing to listen to while busting zombie skulls. I was really quite surprised by this game, overall. I wasn’t expecting the depth of the mechanics and character customization, combined with the thrill of gathering supplies as fast as you can to avoid certain death at the hands of the zombie hordes. All the elements of Death Road to Canada come together to form an incredibly addictive experience. I can’t recommend this game highly enough!
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 9/10
+Gameplay mechanics have lots of depth
-The luck element can be frustrating