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Have You Played... Death Road To Canada?

Oregon Trail with zombies but good

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Death Road To Canada [official site] sounds like a lot of other games: you’re on the road, trying to reach a distant destination, and along the way you encounter dynamic story events and procedural levels for zombie smashing. That doesn’t stop it being excellent fun.

These games are at their best when the balance of systems leads to cascading failures. That decision you made in that story encounter to accept that person into your car, to steal fuel from that stranded survivor, to risk the collapsing morale of your group in favour of finding more food, crashes headlong into the on-foot zombie fights. They’re mainly about crowd control against slow-moving shamblers, but as you progress the crowds become bigger and the zombies more aggressive, and as your ammo and equipment runs low you’re pushed to take more risks with an ever lowering chance of success.

I find that balance delicious in any games that manage it, but Death Road has the further benefits of being polished and funny. I like the story encounters, which always offer a little twist on the usual post-apocalyptic theme. I like the satisfying way the zombies burst into parts when killed, the huge range of items that can be wielded as weapons, and the ability to play as a well-armed dog walking on its hind legs.

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Graham Smith

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