New Game Review

Review – Death Road to Canada (Switch)

Zombies and zambonis

Death Road to Canada has one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen in games recently. Mixing The Oregon Trail with zombie survival with characters created by the player in 8-bit graphics and procedurally generated RPG elements is, at the very least, a unique concept. Being able to create pixelated versions of your friends and seeing them struggle against hordes of zombies and dying of good old dysentery is slightly enjoyable, if not a bit psychotic.

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Meet the 8-bit version of the WTMG staff.

The premise of the game is simple: you need to survive a zombie apocalypse tearing America apart by going from Florida to Canada in a supposedly 15-day trip. You have a lot of supplies to manage, such as food, ammo, gas, medicine, weapons and morale. On your way to the White North, lots of randomly generated events occur, from bandit ambushes, new allies showing up (you can create your own friends in the game, making the experience a lot more personal and hilarious) to mandatory dungeon crawling segments. Each playthrough is completely different from the other due to the randomized events.

Despite the variety of events, they mostly revolve around your supply count. Scavenging events are basically a top-down beat-em-up in which you have the opportunity to collect food and gasoline. While bandit ambushes and the like are text-based events in which all you see onscreen is the amount of resources you either win or lose. It might sound unenthusiastic, but it perfectly fits with the game’s retro aesthetics and it’s insanely fast pace.

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This is not going to end up well…

I was actually ready to lambaste the game and give it a very low score prior to a pre-release patch. You see, the game was originally running at an abysmal 10 frames per second, resulting in a nearly unplayable experience. I played it for a few hours in this state and was nearly sobbing out of disappointment, until I found out I had to restart the Switch. For some reason beyond my comprehension, the framerate hopped from 10 to 60 frames a second after that, and I could finally play Death Road to Canada like a normal human being. Not all issues have been fixed, though: the collision detection is still very faulty, for instance, and there is still a slight input lag as well.

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Kyle regretting his decision in 3, 2, 1…

Death Road to Canada is a blast. It might suffer from a bizarre framerate glitch and its collision detection is problematic, but being able to partake in a hilarious retro version of a Walking Dead episode with your own friends in a virtual world is addictive. The Switch turned out to be a great platform for the game due to its fast pace and arcade-like structure. Watching your real life friends die of something stupid in the middle of a chaotic zombie apocalypse has never been so accessible and hilarious.

 

Graphics: 7.0

Charming 8-bit graphics and a ton of characters onscreen. The framerate was downright abysmal before rebooting the Switch. It jumped to a steady 60fps afterwards.

Gameplay: 7.5

Downright unplayable when you play the game for the first time due to its weird glitch. Fast-paced and enjoyable afterwards, though the hit detection is still a bit wonky.

Sound: 8.5

Comprised of a mix between MIDI guitars and chiptune melodies, most songs are catchy and well-composed.

Fun Factor: 9.0

The Oregon Trail mixed with some good old arcadey brawler segments, RPG elements and a nice sense of humor. This game is an absolute blast.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

A copy of Death Road to Canada was provided by the publisher.

GameStop, Inc.

About Leo Faria

Founder and mastermind behind Way Too Many Games, hailing from the southern swag that is São Paulo, a Sega widower who considers the Dreamcast to be the greatest console ever released, the greatest Guitar Hero and Tetris player you’ll ever meet. My favorite games include Perfect Dark, Banjo-Tooie, the Guitar Hero series, Bioshock Infinite and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II. I also own an Ouya. Never turned it on.

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