What’s that shadow over there … they’re following you … runner No. five … they’re following you now … the swarm from the car park … RUN! And with the sound of zombie moaning in my ears, I picked up my pace and did just that — I ran.
Nowadays, we are all looking for a way to spice up our workout and make it more fun. A new playlist that boosts your motivation, TVs built into exercise equipment and intense gladiator training all exist but why did no one think of hiring zombies to get us to move more? Zombies, Run! does just that.
Welcome to Zombie Training
Zombies, Run! is a game that combines your music, an action packed storyline, missions, zombies and fitness together, making working out much more enjoyable. You are Runner 5, and via a series of missions that you listen to while working out, you’re encouraged to go that extra bit further with your workout in attempt to not be caught by zombies and to help rebuild your township.
Zombies, Run! started as a Kickstarter project, and their Kickstarter video is a great way to get a preview of the game and hear how it sounds. When watching, remember that the app has already been built and launched so you are free to ignore the pleas for funds.
Knowing What the Buttons Do
Within Zombies, Run! you’ll find the main screen with five buttons underneath. The Home button does just what it says on the tin, and returns you to the home screen whenever you feel the need to be there, including when you wish to continue the story. The Supplies button brings you to a scrollable map of the township. This is where you will allocate the supplies you pick up during your missions.
There are plenty of websites out there that talk about the best way to allocate supplies. If you prefer to figure the game out on your own, then it is probably best not to visit these but do know they are out there.
The Missions button provides you with a breakdown of all the missions you have completed (green check-mark), that are available to you (in bold) and that are not yet available to you (grey text). Tapping on any of the available missions will allow you to decide if you want to have your own music running during the mission, which playlist you want to use, how you will track your speed and if you want to activate the zombie chases.
The default view of the Missions screen is the story missions but you can also view the supply missions, race missions and turn on radio mode via the buttons at the top of the screen. From the top right hand corner of the screen, you also have access to your run logs.
The Codex button brings up a list of all the people, places, supplies and special items that you have come across so far in the game. Think of this as a mini-glossary. You can tap on each listing to pull up a small description. Last but not least, there is the Settings button. It is from here that you can log in and out of your ZombieLink account, share your runs (or not), adjust the run settings, find more information and reset/synchronise your progress.
Performance — The App’s, Not Yours
You really can’t fault Zombies, Run! for it’s performance. The app integrates your playlists smoothly, doesn’t stutter or freeze and with the ability to adjust the game’s volume, everything seems to run (no pun intended) just as it was meant to. Some people might find fault with the text to speech sounding item pickup messages, but if they really get on your nerves you can always turn them off.
In the past, Zombies, Run! had a pretty high $7.99 price tag, meaning you had to be relatively committed before parting with your cash. Luckily, once you did, you were unlikely to regret it. Now with the reduced $3.99 app price, there is no reason not to be hiring your own zombie trainer. With more than 30 missions, it will be awhile before you buzz through Zombies, Run! — but just in case you still want more when you are finished, there is a New Canton Race Missions in-app purchase for $1.99.
If you are a beginner or just aren’t convinced about your fitness level, you might want to start out with the Zombies, Run! 5k Training app, which is also available in the App Store for $3.99.
Does it Work?
When I first looked at Zombies, Run! there were three things that irritated me — no options for beginners who might not be able to start out at the minimum 30-minute workout, the price and the inability to use music from alternative apps (e.g. Spotify).
By reducing the app price and introducing the 5k Training app, the developers have managed to resolve two out of three of my gripes. There still is not option, however, to have my favourite music with me on the run without sticking it in iTunes and then onto my phone/downloading music from iTunes. This was my biggest gripe of them all and it looks unlikely to change as evidenced by this statement on the support page of the website:
We’re big fans of services like Spotify, Pandora and Last FM here at Six to Start, and we understand that it would be great to be able to use them in conjunction with Zombies, Run! Unfortunately, due to the nature of these apps, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be able to integrate them fully. We’ll be sure to provide updates if this situation changes.
Will this stop me from using the app. Definitely not! There are just too many good aspects of the game – from the zombie chases to the story-line that make deleting this one from my phone a no go and that’s saying a lot.
If you have been looking for a way to spice up your workouts or just want some motivation to work out in general, then Zombies, Run! is a great app to add to your arsenal. The app is well built, has a great concept and story behind it, is easy to use and is fun. I’d love to see it working with other apps like Spotify but in comparison to the pros, that is a very small con. So, even if you are one of those people who roll your eyes when someone mentions zombies, you are bound to get caught up in the drama of running away from them when their creepy sounds are in your ears. Good luck, Runner 5.