Mobile Apps: “Zombies, Run!” is Deadly Fun

Every now and then some new technology, story, or video game – or some combo of the three – sends me surging into a nerdalicious state of mania. The most recent case was probably Bioshock Infinite, which yielded not only one, not just two, but three articles from me that are all just me gushing about how great it is in various ways. My most recent foray in video game obsession is most certainly Zombies, Run!, which ranks up there with the likes of Wii Fit, Dance Dance Revolution, and Just Dance in the realm of fitness meets fun in video games. It might very well be the case that only Wii Fit is a worthy comparison as it also actually focuses particularly on fitness…rather than just dancing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlRgBvYFxTo]

Zombies, Run! was funded via Kickstarter in October of 2011 and went live on iOS and Android on February 27, 2012. Why it’s taken this App well over a year to grace my iPhone is beyond me. Zombies, Run! is an immersive running game in which you are both player and runner. While a GPS system similar to that of other Apps like MapMyRun tracks your location and speed, British narration guides you through a post-apocalyptic world on missions as the fabled “Runner 5” as you try and collect supplies to keep everyone alive. I’m only about 2.5 missions into the 23 missions of Season 1, and the story is more interesting than I expected and the characters that are featured are riddled with fun British idiosyncrasies. There’s drama and a sense of urgency, but it is largely simple and lighthearted, which is very necessary when your participation is physically active but intellectually passive. The basic premise of the beginning is that you are being flown via helicopter to a different town when your helicopter crashes and you have to finish the journey on foot. Once you make it to the town, you start going out on recon and supply missions to keep civilization going.

The App automatically tallies your fitness progress (i.e., distance, time, pace, and calories) and also keep tabs on the things you collect over time, which consists of typical zombie-fighting supplies like ammunition and pain medication, but also includes sports bras for some reason. With the supplies you collect, you can then build and develop your own personalized base, which adds a welcome non-exercising component to the mix that’s still closely reliant on your physical progress. In a very recent update, they even added a series of Achievements. All of this data syncs up with an online profile that you can share with your other Zombie Runner friends or through social media.

In between the narrations and notices of supply pick-ups, you can either listen to the silence cut by your ragged breath OR you can sync up your on-board music playlists to play a few tracks. It actually took me a bit of finagling to set it up correctly, especially when Zombies, Run! can’t include music from other Apps. So there’s no Spotify or Pandora or anything of that sort, which means that for iPhone users, you have to put music from iTunes onto your phone and create a playlist for it to work properly. A bit of a bummer but surely an easy hoop to jump through.

What I’m sure many Runners like myself consider to be the best part of the App is undoubtedly the Zombie Chase feature which can be toggled on or off in between missions. At certain points in the story and at random points during each mission, you’ll receive a warning that Zombies have been detected. If you don’t RUN fast enough (in pretty much any direction), then the radar beep will increase in speed until a robotic voice warns you, “Zombies 50 meters.” and then, “Zombies 20 meters!” Terrifying, exhilarating, and excruciatingly badass (in certain cases where your only options are to dash into oncoming traffic, wind sprint up a hill, or be devoured by auditory zombies). If you’re like me and you sometimes struggle to set a good pace while running and you need something there to give you the extra push, then Zombies, Run! might be the perfect option for you.

Whether you like running and are mortified of zombies, love running and tolerate zombies, or hate running and love zombies, then Zombies, Run! might be the perfect blend of fear and fitness to whip you into shape in no time at all! Download it on the App Store for $3.99 and consider the additional 5k Training App for only $1.99 extra! Check out their website at www.ZombiesRunGame.com.

But let’s be real: even more important is that you stalk my fitness progress at my own personal runner profile! Try not to make fun of my abysmal pace…and keep in mind that Runner 5’s #1 goal is to avoid being eaten at all costs!!

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