Death Roads: Tournament – Review
Follow Genre: Rogue-lite, Deck-builder, Tactical
Developer: The Knights of Unity
Publisher: The Knights of Unity, Surefire.Games
Platform: PC, Mac, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

Death Roads: Tournament – Review

Site Score
Good: Manages to put down a solid game with a clear theme
Bad: Lacks deck-building choices and some excitement.
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(0 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Do you remember those crazy wasteland scenes from post-apocalyptic movies where absurd homemade cars go after each other with speed, explosions, and gunshots? That’s pretty much what Death Roads: Tournament replicates in a top-down, turn-based, deck-building, rogue-lite game. So rev up those engines and leave a trail of dust, ’cause we’re goin’ to show ’em what skills with cars we got!


The story of Death Roads Tournament is a little vague but gives you enough context to guess what’s going on. People changed since something apocalyptic happened, which is described in the intro as “when the moon blew up”. Wastelanders have been driving in their custom cars for a while now, and there’s even a competition of sorts going on called The Death Roads Tournament. For a tutorial level, an old woman tells you the story of how she was there, during the first edition, as a participant in the year 2066. Winners of the tournament apparently get promised entry to “the city”, but the old lady tells you the entire tournament is rigged and winning by itself won’t do you any good. The game alternates gameplay with graphic-novel-like cutscenes on key moments, such as the start where the old lady tells her story, which feels like a classic story set-up for video games.


Visually, Death Roads Tournament feels a bit like a board game with moving parts, which is not uncommon for deckbuilding games. You have a top-down moving road with cars on it, which gives you the illusion that you are in a race. Regarding the combat animations on the road, it’s quite easy to understand what’s going on, but the game also feels like it’s missing some special effects. After a while, however, you’ll have seen it all, and the game does lose its edge a bit. The icons and HUD interface also leave a bit to be desired. It’s just not that clear what certain icons mean, and it takes a bit to get used to the game because of this. We did really enjoy the cutscenes though, as they looked very professional.


Musically, the game gives off a lot of 80s-90s vibes with some rock, synths, and a variety of songs. The sound effects enhance this music, where sometimes a movement or event is accompanied by a small riff that’s in tune with the musical arrangements. If it’s not a riff, then there are still sounds such as brakes, glass shattering, cars crashing, guns rattling, and more. When you are “just driving” though, there are remarkably few car sounds present, and all the interface interactions sound rather futuristic for self-made cars that look like they smell of metal and oil. Overall, the sound works for the style and gameplay the game has.


Death Roads: Tournament is a rogue-lite game with board game elements. A wide grid represents a road with multiple lanes that you and your opponents move spaces on, trying to take each other out. You attack opponents like you would play any other basic deck-building card game: by drawing/using cards to fight the enemy. You can also collect new cards to improve your deck as you continue down a pre-generated road of troubles with a few branching paths, visualized by a map that offers you fights and events. Some events might be chance-based, as there is the possibility of getting more resources and special stuff, and other events give you the option to repair your car. We haven’t discovered anything else on a map so far.

The game gets increasingly harder as you progress over the world map, and the idea is that you swap your weapons and gear for newly found or bought ones to compensate for that. This does, however, also give the game a bit of a monotone deck-building feeling. There’s not that much to build your deck from, you just need to keep upgrading your weapons and movement capabilities. The battle moves you can use try to mimic car movements where cards will react differently via the gear you drive in, the range of weapons and other cars surrounding you matters, and you have handling and car health. When your health gets to zero, you lose the game, but if a car’s handling goes to zero, it starts moving random spaces, possibly crashing itself or damaging others around it. It’s a game of creating tactical advantages and a bit of luck, as handling also decreases by the (number of) cards that you play, so sometimes doing less equals a better outcome.

While we rather liked the game and think the concept of a card game translates well, we also felt that something was missing. This game could have just as well been an actual card game. We found that Death Roads lacks a proper incentive to keep playing. The game lacks secrets, or perhaps some real advantages and unique attacks your enemies can’t also get.  Whatever the case is, while we appreciate the game for what it is, it’s not in the top tier of deck-builders out there.


Death Roads: Tournament is a solid game with well-translated mechanics, but the game as a whole is missing some excitement. It’s one of the hardest things to build into a deck-builder, and with inanimate, emotionless objects such as cars, this counts double. The story is okay, and the music fits the game well, but we would have liked to see something more than what the game is right now.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for since 2017.

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