We don’t normally post on Sundays, but here’s a fun game review we did today over at Miketendo64. Be sure to check it out over there and let us know what you thought of the game if you’ve played it.
Developer and Publisher: Toby Fox
Platform: PC, Playstation 4, future release for Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Sept 2015 (PC), August 2017 (PS4), 2018 (Switch)
How I got the game: I bought it on Steam.
When this game first came out a couple of years ago, I really wasn’t sure what to think of it. It’s popularity surged, but it wasn’t until we saw a Let’s Play of the game last year that I was actually interested in playing it. I finally got the game on Steam a little while ago and then, lo and behold, the game got announced for the Nintendo Switch this year!
Undertale is a role-playing game where you play as a child who has fallen Underground, a dark place filled with Monsters. It’s in a top-down perspective, and you move about the overworld, navigating the land while interacting with other characters and, usually, solving puzzles. Depending on how one solves the objectives of the game determines the kind of ending one will receive.
When encounter enemies, the battle mode will trigger. The battle mode involves controlling your character’s soul, which is represented by a red heart. In each battle, as the heart, you must avoid attacks from the enemy that attack you similar in a bullet hell shooter. Various elements to the battles are introduced further in the game, such as different obstacles to dodge and conditions for controlling the heart.
Players have different options in battle. You can either choose to attack, act (such as talking to, mimicking, or even flirting with an opponent), use an item, or mercy, which allows players to either flee from the battle or spare the opponent if the time is right to do so. Depending on the players actions will sway the battle and, ultimately, the ending of the game. It is possible to beat the game without harming any enemies.
Undertale also employs metafictional elements. When a player replays the game, dialogue and certain sections of the game will be altered depending on the previous play through. How the player interacts with the game’s characters — by slaying, sparing, or befriending them — determines how the end of the play through will go. A player can achieve a True Pacifist run, Neutral runs, or a Genocide run, and subsequent play throughs will be effected by the ending of the previous play through.
Undertale’s graphics are pixel-y and charming, reminding me of older video games from the NES and SNES days. Despite that, every character — whether they were major, minor, or just background — was distinct in its looks, dialogue, and even sound. When characters spoke, their words typed out to distinct sounds, giving the characters voices without voice actors.
The game, being set in a place called the Underground, was filled with dim colors, dark blues, grays, and some red-hot areas. Some spots were a little spooky, or tried to be, but the music was always coupled well with the areas, such as a relaxing waterfall setting or the snowy town at night. I was very impressed with the quality of music and sound effects, especially since the composer was also the developer and publisher.
Undertale’s story opens up with a child falling into Mount Ebott, which brings them to the massive Underground that is populated with Monsters. The first character that the player encounters is Flowey, a sentient flower that explains the basic mechanics of the games before attempting to kill the player. The player is then saved by Toriel, a kind, goat-like, maternal monster who teaches the player how to navigate through puzzles and how to end battles without killing.
Once the player leaves Toriel’s home, you explore the vast Underground while meeting many other new characters, such as Sans and Papyrus the skeleton brothers, Undyne the Head of the Royal Guard, and Alphys the royal scientist. The player’s main objective is to get home. Along the way, you learn about how the Monsters came to be Underground.
Long ago, there was a war between humans and Monsters. Humans, with their stronger souls, pushed the Monsters Underground, sealing them with a barrier. Despite their magic, Monsters are not strong enough to break the barrier. However, if the Monsters collect enough human souls, they will grow powerful enough to break the barrier. As the child, you learn that that is what Asgore, the King of the Monsters, intends to do.
And you are the last needed human soul.
As you explore the Underground and meet other characters, your interactions with them will determine the outcome of the adventure. Many Monsters will want your soul for their king, and it is up to the player to either befriend or kill them. When it comes to escaping the Underground, it is up to you on whether or not you want to help the Monsters… or just yourself.
With the charming graphics, awesome music, and quirky characters, Undertale is a game that I would boot up multiple times just to visit the characters over and over. Along with the fact that there are different endings with metafictional elements, Undertale has some great replay value.
…Although, because I enjoy the characters so much, I’m not sure if I really want to do a Genocide route! I prefer the happier endings, haha!
4 out of 5 lives.
Title: Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness
Developer: Marvelous Interactive
Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: August 2008
How I got the game: I got it as a gift years ago.
I’m usually a sucker for the Harvest Moon franchise — they’re my go-to relaxing games. The older games tend to have a basic story and simple goals, and I feel that the newer games are trying a bit too much in having overarching story lines and encompassing goals. Island of Happiness is one of those games that was in between, still simple enough to be relaxing but with a few gimmicks that, in my opinion, were not needed.
Island of Happiness is similar to other games in the Harvest Moon franchise in that it’s premise is you, as the main character, starting a ranch from scratch. One of your main objectives is to raise crops and animals as best as you can while also befriending the villagers in the town. Wooing potential spouses and raising a family are also staple aspects of the Harvest Moon games, and Island of Happiness is no exception.
Harvest Moon games tend to give you free range when it comes to customizing your ranch, allowing you to grow whatever crops you want (in season, of course) and raise whatever combination of animals you wish. Want all chickens? Go for it. Want to have your field covered with tomato plants? You can do that. There’s no one telling you what to raise. Selling the crops and animal byproducts is the best way to earn money for your ranch, and some products are more profitable than others, so most take that into account. Products are also used in cooking dishes and gifts to friends and romantic interests as well.
With that said, Island of Happiness was on the Nintendo DS and, as such, Nintendo thought it would be best to utilize the touch screen as much as possible. It was more of an annoyance rather than feeling innovative. You move your character with the stylus on the touch screen while the D-Pad buttons was used to equip tools. This was rectified in the immediate sequel, Sunshine Islands.
Island of Happiness also had a more complicated method of growing your crops. In early Harvest Moon games, the best way to grow crops was to plant them in-season and water them once a day. Weather plays a part in helping crops grow and, unless there is a storm or blizzard, most days granted enough sunlight to help your ranch. Island of Happiness had some hidden mechanic where each type of crop needed a number of water and sun “points” in order to grow as quickly and strongly as possible. Later in the game, it is possible to build a Greenhouse to help control the weather. However, considering all of the possible crops that are in the game, trying to figure out and remember all the needed points was an unnecessary mechanic.
The graphics of Island of Happiness took a little getting used to. When I first saw the 3D models, I wasn’t too sure of them. However, the graphics grew on me, with the areas of the island being vivid and fun to explore, and the villagers all being distinct (with the exception of the minor NPCs).
Music in the Harvest Moon series was always enjoyable to me, even if the tunes do tend to make me sleepy. They’re relaxing and calming as they play in the background while you farm or explore, being perfect in matching the mood of the genre and game play.
Island of Happiness opens up with your character on a boat heading toward a new land. However, the boat gets caught in a bad storm, resulting in your character and a couple of others being shipwrecked on an island. Worry not, though — your fellow island refugees are a small family that has connections and experience with farming and shipping products.
Your character and the family, consisting of a brother and sister, their mother, and their grandfather, decide to stay on the island and work to make it habitable. You agree to be the rancher while the family runs a shipping business, helping to incite trade between your island and the mainland. Your goal is to really build up and clean the island to tempt other people to move in so the island can continue to flourish.
The more people that move in, the more relationships you can develop. Building up friendships can lead to new events and festivals, new areas to explore and, if you wish, romance that can lead to having a family.
Island of Happiness, despite some of the gameplay mechanics, is one of my favorite Harvest Moon installments. Developing the island and luring new characters to move in is enough of a challenge so farming doesn’t become so routine. There’s always something to aim for, which is why this is one game that gets plenty of use.
Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness gets…
4 out of 5 lives.
Title: Sonic Forces
Developer: Sonic Team
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: November 7, 2017 Worldwide
How we got the game: Received it for Christmas for the Nintendo Switch
My interest in Sonic the Hedgehog grew mainly from comics rather than the video games. Growing up, my main source of Sonic the Hedgehog video games was from an arcade cabinet in my childhood dentist’s office. I would be able to zoom through the first couple of levels of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 before I got called for my turn in the dentist’s chair. Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for the GameCube were some of my favorites after that, even if they haven’t aged that well. Since then, Sonic games have been… meh. Sonic Forces, though, wasn’t that bad.
Sonic Forces consists of levels that star Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, or the Avatar. There are a few where the Avatar teams up with Modern Sonic as well, allowing you to use the skills of both characters. Levels with Modern Sonic consist of the 3D game play style while Classic Sonic is mainly side-scrollers that do well inducing nostalgia within the player. Most of the Avatar levels are similar to Modern Sonic’s.
It was pretty simple to get into the game control-wise, yet I will admit dying more often than not because I decided to hit the Stomp attack button rather than Jump/Homing while flying over an abyss. The levels in general were decent, but most were not very challenging. In true Sonic form, zipping through a level was usually enough to reach the goal, even if a few levels had a couple of hiccups when it came to moving on.
The Modern Sonic levels were probably my favorites just because they’re Sonic. He’s the guy the games are named after, the reason why we pick up the games in the first place, however misguided the past few Sonic the Hedgehog games have been. His levels emphasized speed and were awesome to just breeze right through! There were a couple of issues when he went too fast and ran right off a cliff once or twice but, overall, they weren’t bad.
I didn’t mind the Avatar levels. There were a handful of weapons that you can unlock for the Avatar to use in the levels, such as a flamethrower and one that throws around lightning, and each were fun to use, that allowed you to create plenty of strategies in how to best the level, but there could have been more variety. The Avatar had a grappling hook-like tool that allowed them to mimic Modern Sonic’s Homing attack, which was useful. They were, however, extremely similar to Modern Sonic’s levels.
Classic Sonic was… eh. It was fun seeing him appear and completing his levels, but he was definitely slower than Modern Sonic and had no Homing Attack. On that hand, his levels were more challenging than Modern Sonic’s and the Avatar’s, but being a Sonic game, I wanted to go fast. Aside from that, I don’t think Classic Sonic really brought anything to the game. He had a bit of a narrative part to Tails’ part of the story, but another established character could have played that role (or, hell, let Tails stand on his own for once with the ability to carry out what Sonic would have done).
The graphics in this game, especially on the Nintendo Switch, were amazing. Honestly, the Switch has yet to let me down when it comes to the graphics and designs of the games on the platform, and Sonic Forces is no exception. The character designs, while familiar, looked great on the Switch (even if the Avatar’s facial expressions sometimes looked dorky enough to be funny).
The music, though? The music was so much fun to listen to during the levels. Both vocal and instrumental tracks were awesome, reminding me that the music tended to be my favorite part of the games. The songs got you pumped up for the level, especially the boss themes, but didn’t distract you enough from the level to mess you up. The game was fully voice acted as well, which was a delight to me. The voice acting and writing were well done, even if there were corny lines about friendship and love being the ultimate reason as to why the heroes prevailed.
The story starts out a little darker than most Sonic the Hedgehog games. We begin with Dr. Eggman and some of his “allies” — antagonists from previous games — taking over the world. Eggman’s newest partner Infinite is a creature able to create illusions via virtual reality, having power enough to enable the virtual reality to harm the protagonists. Infinite takes out Sonic, leaving the world defenseless enough for Eggman’s robots to swarm.
With Sonic feared dead, a resistance is created by Knuckles, one that includes Amy Rose, Silver the Hedgehog, and the Chaotix. Rouge the Bat plays the role of spy for them, while Tails is too busy mourning the loss of Sonic to be of much use to the resistance right away. The Avatar — nicknamed Rookie — joins the resistance as well and plays a crucial role in freeing Sonic and, ultimately, the world from Dr. Eggman and Infinite.
It’s a standard story to go along with the game. Sonic is freed fairly early in the game and joins the resistance, as does Tails and Classic Sonic when the pair figure out the weakness in Dr. Eggman’s plan for total world domination. While playing the three main characters, you’re immersed in the story as important pieces to freeing the world.
However, the only character in my opinion that is truly “needed” in the story is Modern Sonic. Classic Sonic appears very conveniently to rescue Tails and appeared to just be a catalyst in bringing Tails back into the story line, considering he ran off in his grief about Modern Sonic. If they needed another character as a partner for Tails, the developers could have easily used E-123 Omega, the robot character that Tails was fixing when Classic Sonic appears.
As for the Avatar… it was fun, I’ll give it that. Fifteen to twenty years ago, I would have been wicked excited about creating my own character to join the heroes on their adventure to save the world, and it was great to do so this time around. However, the Sonic universe has plenty of unique characters that could have been in that third “main character” slot if it needed to be filled. Being able to pick your character before each level, a character from the resistance force, would have been an interesting twist to the story.
Let’s infiltrate the Death Egg as Rouge. Let’s destroy the power core as Amy Rose with her hammer. Let’s rescue civilians in Park Avenue as members of the Chaotix. The story could have been more intriguing with different takes on the levels with all the characters the Sonic universe already has.
Sonic Forces has some replay value if you enjoyed it enough to turn it on a second or third time. There are daily missions and plenty of challenges for you to continue playing, as well as the ability to create more avatars to explore the levels with. There is also the free Episode Shadow DLC that launched with the game that acts as a bit of a prequel to the main game, and gives a bit more insight to the new antagonist’s, Infinite, origins. And, honestly, the music in this game is enough to make me want to turn it on again.
Sonic Forces was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. It was fun to see these characters again in a game that I enjoyed, for the most part, playing.
Sonic Forces gets…
3 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Title: Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon
Developer: GAME FREAK, Inc.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Category: RPG, Adventure
Release Date: November 17, 2017
How we got the game: We preordered physical copies
Of course we’re going to buy and play the newest core Pokemon game! Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out almost literally a year after their predecessors Sun and Moon, and… were extremely similar to their predecessors, in my opinion. They were still a lot of fun to play!
Story-wise, super similar! However, I felt as though they added a good amount of side quests as well as other things here and there to make the game enjoyable. In my opinion, more enjoyable than Sun and Moon.
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon play much like every other core Pokemon game. Your main objective is to travel the land, catch and raise a team of Pokemon, and aim to become the strongest trainer in the region, all the while having the world’s fate rest on your 11-year-old shoulders.
It’s easy enough since the game, in a way, holds your hand throughout. Your Rotom Dex is also the map on the bottom screen of the 3DS. There’s an arrow that shows where you are and where you’re going along with a red flag for where you’re supposed to go. Not to mention in Pokemon battles, if you’ve battled a Pokemon before, everytime you battle it again, your Pokemon’s moves will tell you if it’s effective or not. Though, none of this is different from Sun and Moon.
Thus, the gameplay itself is fairly linear, with clear goals in mind and your opponents always being around a similar level as your Pokemon team. While there is plenty to explore, you always know where you’re supposed to go. A strategy is usually involved when it comes to battling — with type weaknesses and strengths, using items effectively, etc. — but it becomes a bit of a moot point when your Pokemon’s moves tell you if they’re super effective or not against Pokemon you’ve already fought. It helps to speed battles up and is great for newer fans, but some challenge is taken away.
Yes, they definitely catered it to younger players or first-time players. It is a cool feature, but I’d still like to learn it myself. A new gameplay mechanic was added and that was going through the Ultra Wormhole. It uses tilt controls on your 3DS to gain speed and head towards or away wormholes. You should always see how far you can get, but there are things in there that’ll slow you down. It’s one of those things that takes getting used to.
Using motion controls was a bit odd in a Pokemon game, but I didn’t mind it the few times I did it. I think I would have enjoyed the Ultra Wormhole aspect more had they been given more of a purpose. They seem to be just extra “pockets” of areas to catch rarer Pokemon. I would have liked to have more land to explore, such as the Ultra Megalopolis city. It was interesting to see and a great battle took place there, but that seemed to be it — granted, I’ve played enough to beat the main storyline, so perhaps there’s some post-Champion aspect of Ultra Megalopolis that I haven’t seen yet.
It’s utterly amazing how far the graphics and music for the Pokemon series has come since the original Blue and Red versions! Animated cut-scenes and battle stances, both for Pokemon and people, are fluid and crisp, and the scenery in the games are so pretty!
While this is also in Sun and Moon, I love how they added actual backgrounds to the Poke Refresh as well as the battle sequences depending on where you are. They updated some of the music for certain battles where were upbeat and a lot of fun to hum to; especially the Rainbow Rocket music. It was very nostalgic.
I noticed the Poke Refresh backgrounds as well, and was impressed — I wonder how much data and programming it took to be able to create so many individual backgrounds like that? Some of my favorite music was the Champion and Elite Four battle tunes, having come much farther than the original games.
Yes, they did such a great job. It really makes me wonder what they’ll come up with next. Though, I will admit, they should have let your Pokemon follow you. I’d rather that than the backgrounds changes. But I’ll take what I can get.
I do miss that from HeartGold and SoulSilver! I don’t know how it would work with the different graphics style of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but it would have been a nice aspect, especially since Hau always seemed to have his starter Pokemon out with him, haha!
As far as story goes, it’s not much different from Sun and Moon. You help Lillie and Gladion stop their mother, Lusamine, from opening the Ultra Wormhole. Of course, you fail, but then you end up getting to go into the Wormhole itself.
It took much longer for the Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon stories to appear different enough from the original Sun and Moon than I thought it would, and I was a little disappointed at that. I thought it would be a brand new adventure rather than a rehashed version of the original story, and I honestly wasn’t sure if the money was worth it. The wormholes have more of a purpose in these versions and there are a few more post-Champion events for you to do, but they seemed as if they could have been DLC for Sun and Moon rather than an entirely new game.
It definitely seems like just an “updated” version of Sun and Moon, but I found it different enough. I enjoyed collecting the Totem stickers (even though I didn’t really care for the Totem Pokemon, but I like collecting things). I expected Team Rainbow Rocket to be part of the story instead of an afterthought. I enjoyed their time, but I wish they had a bigger part.
It’s Pokemon. Of course we’re going to keep playing these games. With how many creatures you can raise, each with customizable move sets, as well as being able to set your own challenges as you progress throughout the game, the Pokemon games generally have a high replay value.
I will not stop playing until I raise every single Pokemon to level 100. Then there are shiny Pokemon, of course.
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon gets…
4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Title: Fire Emblem Warriors
Developer: Omega Force, Ninja Team
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available for the 3DS)
Category: Hack-and-Slash Action RPG
Release Date: October 20, 2017 worldwide
How we got the game: Pre-ordered a physical copy
Fire Emblem Warriors is a crossover game between Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series and Intelligent Systems’ Fire Emblem series. It’s the second such crossover since Hyrule Warriors — using characters based on the Legend of Zelda franchise — for the Wii U back in 2014. I had enjoyed Hyrule Warriors and playing with some of my favorite characters in a new game style back then, and being a sucker for the Fire Emblem series, I was looking forward to Fire Emblem Warriors as well.
Being a hack-and-slash game, the gameplay consists of the player taking control of up to four characters on a given map and demolishing the opposition. Each character attacks by the player more or less button mashing, but if you wanted to be more precise, there are combo attacks that you can trigger by pushing buttons in a certain order (generally the Y and X buttons). The more enemies one defeats, the quicker one can unleash a special attack that can be particularly devastating on hoards of enemies and even the sub-boss characters, such as Fort Captains. The controls themselves were fluid and responsive, which is excellent considering how quickly one is dropped into the fray of the battles, even if there were times when it seemed my character was running too quickly for me to make a turn!
Characters can be given orders on the battle map, such as directing one person to fight a certain enemy or to guard a teammate. While the player can switch between four characters, there is usually four additional teammates on the map to aid the playable characters. The AI of NPCs was well-done, in my experience, as the majority of them were eager to complete the goals and sub-quests that popped up with the map.
The majority of the characters in Fire Emblem Warriors are sword-users, but there are a few who use lances, axes, magic tomes, bows, and dragonstones, which are a special item to some unique Fire Emblem characters to transform into a dragon. Like the Fire Emblem games, characters are able to level up in their weapon rank, allowing them to use stronger weapons and attacks as the game progresses. In Warriors, this is achieved by crafted crests, which are used for attacks, defensive purposes, and enabling special skills. Crests are crafted with materials that enemies drop as well as collecting items from characters themselves when they increase their Support rank with one another. The more two characters fight together — by being on the same map, helping to guard one another, healing each other, or by literally pairing the two up as a support pair — the higher their Support will be. A Support Conversation between the two characters can be unlocked once they reach an A-Support rank.
The major flaw with the gameplay is how little diversity there is amid the weapons and characters themselves. Slashing away at enemies with swords is fun and all, but having more variety would have definitely helped me explore the maps of the game multiple times and giving it more replay value. Daggers and shuriken, lance-users on the ground instead of being regulated to Pegasus Knights, more axes and magic, beaststones for laguz from the Radiant series…
To go along with the lack of weapon diversity is the character roster. It mainly focused on the cast from Awakening and Fates, along with Marth as one of the Fire Emblem series’ first protagonists. Fire Emblem Warriors stars a pair of twins who both use the sword as their preferred weapon. The Heroes that we must track down as per the story mode all use swords as their preferred weapon. While I have nothing against any of the characters that are on the roster, I would have loved to see characters from more Fire Emblem games.
Let’s get Ephraim from Sacred Stones as a lance-user Hero. Hector from Blazing Blade can be the axe-wielding Hero. There are laguz characters from the Radiant series — Ranulf, Lethe, Tibarn, Naesala — who could be Heroes in their own right. Lilina from the Binding Blade as not only a mage Hero but also another female.
Perhaps it would have been a little too much to throw so many different timelines into Fire Emblem Warriors, but there was so much more weapon and character variety that could have been packed into the game!
One of my favorite things about the Nintendo Switch is the graphics. The graphics of every game we’ve played so far on this little console have been crisp, clear, and beautiful, and I loved seeing the dynamic Fire Emblem Warrior battles on the Switch. The animated movies were fairly well-done, being on par with most of the animated scenes in most of the more recent Fire emblem games.
I’ve always been a sucker for Fire Emblem music, and Fire Emblem Warriors would be no exception… except for most of the, erm, “suggestions” that continued to pop up in the first half of the game. Since everything on the battlefield happens quickly, so do character dialogue boxes popping up with someone talking about someone else being trouble or telling you of a new quest that has arisen. The cacophony of the battle was interrupted much of the time for the game to continue on, which threw me off a bit at times. It was tolerable especially when I reminded myself that it went hand-in-hand with the chaos that was supposed to be the battlefield. It was quick and exciting, even if the voice acting had me rolling my eyes once in a while.
Like most Fire Emblem games, the story was a bit cliche, with it being way too focused on bonds and support among one another, and you defeat a dragon at the end.
The story opens with the royal twins of Aytolis, Lianna and Rowan, sparring with their friend Prince Darios of Gristonne. Monsters appear from Outrealm portals, attacking the castle, separating the twins from their mother, and starting the twins on their journey to protect their homeland. They journey across the land to find Heroes that have been displaced in time, Heroes that have Gleamstones to power up the Shield of Flames to defeat the evil dragon Velezark.
The characters spend much of their time focusing on friendship and their bonds with one another, which is a bit corny but sweet message. The twins work and grow together with the help of the other heroes to ultimately succeed in the end. The story itself had a few plot holes or threads that could have used more closure — such as the Darios subplot — but it wasn’t too bad for game.
Fire Emblem Warriors has the story mode and a history mode. The story mode has about 25 “chapters,” or battle campaigns, in it while the history mode allows players to battle in scenarios from past Fire Emblem games that were re-imagined for Fire Emblem Warriors. Each has different levels of difficulties and goals, giving one a few more challenges if one wishes to replay the game.
While I wish that the roster wasn’t so sword-user heavy — really, seeing a thief character or more axes and lances would have been wonderful — and had characters from more Fire Emblem games rather than focusing mainly on Awakening and Fates, I did have a lot of fun with Fire Emblem Warriors. There’s something so satisfying about the hack-and-slash aspect of the game, and I know I’ll pick it up again.
Fire Emblem Warriors gets…
4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Title: Death Road To Canada
Developer: Rocketcat Games
Publisher: Rocketcat Games
Console: PC (Steam)
Release Date: July 2016
How we got the game: We bought it
Death Road to Canada was one of those insanely popular games when it first came out last year. Rachel and I were skeptical of it, especially since many of our favorite YouTubers were playing it around Halloween, thinking that it was some horror game. However, it’s actually rather silly, even with the slightly gruesome thought of your character being eaten by zombies.
In Death Road to Canada, you take control of a character trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. The levels of the game are trying to maneuver around and survive against zombies while looting houses, buildings, and other areas on your way to Canada. In between the levels, your character is in their car (or walking if the car breaks down), allowing them a brief moment of respite to attempt to heal any wounds, chat for a moment, and for random events to play through.
As you’re looting, you want to be on the lookout for various weapons, as they can break and some swing harder than others, as well as food, gas for your car, and medical supplies. The various scenarios that play out are random chat snippets, but can also sometimes be multiple choice. For example, you may come across a cabin in the woods. Do you have a member of your team stay on watch all night? Or do you all go to sleep? Or maybe you just keep driving.
Characters can also have different perks and traits that will affect their personality, which can in turn affect the consequences of events and multiple choice scenarios. Perks also affect the characters with their starting equipment and stats, such as morale, loyalty, fitness, and mechanical. Many of these effect how hard your character can attack, how many hits it’ll take for them to fall, and how well they can use certain weapons.
In a way, it helps you strategize, but it’s hard to strategize for a game that’s completely random. You can certainly determine which character in your party would be better for the decision ahead, but it might not always work. Still, it’s fun to customize a character as yourself.
Even as yourself, however, you never have full control of their stats and personality. There was one play-through that Rachel and I were playing where Rachel thought it was a good idea to steal not once but twice from random NPCs. Due to that, my Kris character got fed up enough to leave during a random event, taking half of the food with her. The two-player mode turned into a single-player game without our input! It was definitely a unique gameplay element.
Both the graphics and the music are rather quirky. The graphics are pixel-y, which is paired nicely with a game about zombies. Despite the setting of the game being the zombie apocalypse, there isn’t much gore except for some cartoon-like zombie brains and guts. Being a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously at times, the graphics don’t seem to take it too seriously either, and it works.
If this game had realistic graphics, I probably wouldn’t be playing it. It adds a certain charm to the game, though it’s hard to customize your character. There are face, hair, and clothing options, but they’re hard to see because everything looks grainy. And it’s also easy to lose your character in a swarm of zombies all the same size as you.
That may be the point, actually, to give the game an extra challenge. You’re fighting in a zombie apocalypse, you’re not supposed to look pretty, haha! The music and sound effects go well with the graphics, keeping the tone of the game generally lighthearted despite the situation. It’s easy to focus on the game and not get too distracted by the music which, considering you’re trying to survive against zombies, is a plus.
This game is pretty simple when it comes to a “story.” Zombies have overrun the United States, but Canada seems to be zombie-free. You’re trying to travel from Florida to Canada without dying.
Ideally, you’ll have a car to help shorten the travel time and to get to abandoned houses and buildings to loot for weapons, food, and gas. You can meet up with and help strangers and companions alike, but while they’re useful in helping against the zombies, they may stretch your resources thin.
It’s like a “choose your own adventure” kind of game where every decision you make can either make or break your chances to win.
This is a fun and, oftentimes, ridiculous game. With so many random events, traits, perks, and character attributes, no game is alike. It’s difficult, but not frustratingly so, making you want to keep going rather than rage quit. It’s a game that I don’t mind picking up for a quick round at any time!
Yes, this game is easy to say, “One more round!” as it makes you so determined to win and get to Canada! It’s a fun game to pick up at any time and doesn’t take too long to play (unless you actually win).
Death Road to Canada gets…
4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!