App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
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Death Road to Canada is a surprisingly deep game about escaping the zombie apocalypse by making it to the Canadian border. It's a kooky premise that's matched with a good sense of humor and ridiculous procedurally-generated events and characters. Though it does have it's issues, Death Road to Canada is a really special game that you really shouldn't pass up.
The organ trail
Death Road to Canada's gameplay borrows from a lot of different games and genres, but the most immediately apparent comparison you can make to the game is The Oregon Trail. The game starts out with you, and perhaps one other person driving a car on their way to Canada. Since it's the zombie apocalypse, things can (and will) go wrong, forcing you to make stops for supplies, rescue new survivors, and even fight your way through zombie herds.
Some of these events play out in true Oregon Trail fashion, with you simply choosing what to do from a menu and seeing the consequences. Other events–like scavenging for supplies–give way to gameplay sequences where you have direct control over your party of survivors as you wander into buildings, attack zombies, pick up loot, and more. This is all controlled using a highly customizable virtual button control scheme that works, though can be a bit awkward at times.
It's a long and death-y road
For the most part, Death Road to Canada doesn't make surviving in its world very easy. My first dozen or so playthroughs of the game resulted in death. Dying in the game means you have to start your road trip all the way from the beginning again, but this generally doesn't feel frustrating because no two playthroughs of the game feel similar.
Things in Death Road to Canada stay fresh thanks to a huge variety of procedurally-generated content in the game. Almost everything in the game can be randomized, and all of these things have a way to reacting to each other that can make even very similar-looking situations play out very differently. You can even get different outcomes from the same events with the same characters depending on how you might have upgraded their skills differently.
As you die repeatedly though, you'll learn how to adapt your strategies to specific situations to make it a little further on each run. And, even if you don't plan on learning things between runs, you can mix things up by playing a new game mode or creating custom characters.
If Death Road to Canada were merely a roguelike with an impressive amount of procedurally-generated content, it would be great. What really makes the game special though is its humor and attention-to-detail. These things make even the more frustrating aspects of the game a lot more tolerable.
I would be a lot more frustrated by death in Death Road to Canada if it didn't occasionally involve accidentally blowing myself up because I touched a bomb vendor's wares or by recruiting a mysterious survivor who turned out to be a serial killer. I'd also be bored if menu-based events for finding items didn't sometimes involve me debating whether to touch dog poop or telling people to “COOL IT.”
That said, touches like these have their limits. As much fun as Death Road to Canada is, its controls are something that you may struggle with, even after adjusting them to your liking. Apparently, there's MFi controller support for the game on the way, but for now all there is are the touch controls, which leave a bit to be desired.
The bottom line
I generally have a low tolerance for control issues in games, but Death Road to Canada is just so fun that I want to keep playing it even when I don't love the way it feels. That goes to show just how great this game is. Death Road to Canada is a fantastic game that you shouldn't miss.