DEATH ROAD TO CANADA
This roguelike is a no-brainer
This cross-country, stateside tour looks pretty sweet at first glance. However, as with every road trip, it’s your companions who make or break the randomly generated RPG work.
Let me tell you one from the road: I pick up a sweet little puppy dog for company during a supply run and soon encounter a grumpy, anthropomorphised ginger tabby. He tells me he hates Mondays and I figure “Right on! What’s the worst that could happen if I bring him along?” After days of grumbling on the road, he turns to me, takes off his head and says, “THIS IS WHY I HATE MONDAYS.” We’re then plunged into a nightmare zombie siege that wipes out my entire party. 1
The retro pixel art style, charming on the surface and even cute at times, complements Death Road’s sense of humour; when zombies surprise you with their ever-grasping hands you begin to get a sense of something darker ahead. The enjoyable unpredictability of its tone perhaps is a suitable match for the Random Number Generator Gods you’ll fall afoul of. Even as playing falls into a familiar rhythm, from searching similar town buildings to visiting trader camps to text adventure-y roadside situations to those siege stages, there’s a good deal of variance in these core setups.
Frequent death promotes experimentation with an impressive collection of weaponry and party member traits, 2 making this great for a quick trip and less something for lengthy sessions. Playing it the latter way, especially when I found myself at the mercy of a difficulty spike thanks to the RNG Gods, only made me ask, “Are we nearly there yet?” Jess Kinghorn
FOOTNOTES1 Yes, me and my little dog too! 2 These can be upgraded with persistent experience points gained from most runs. However, this too leaves you at the mercy of the RNG Gods…