Sweat drips from your brow as you trek on through down a winding road. The sun looms low in the distance signaling that you need to return home soon or risk being stuck outside overnight. The forests on either side are peculiarly quiet right now.
No crickets chirping in the grass by the side of the road.
No birds squawking in the trees.
It would be quite serene if it weren’t for the fact that…what was that noise? You pivot to your left, the direction the rustling noise is coming from; only a plastic bag being blown down the street by the light breeze.
You stop for a second to catch your breath and grab a drink of water from your canteen. Sam has been sending you out on a lot of runs lately. With this hot summer, the homestead seem to be going through supplies faster than usual.
Just when you’re about to check an abandoned car a few yards from you, there’s the snap of branches and the distinctive moan coming from the tree line. It only means one thing…
What Is Zombies, Run!?
Zombies, Run! is a fitness app that puts you right into the middle of a zombie apocalypse. After your helicopter is downed by a mysterious attack, you join up with a local group and begin making supply runs, going on rescue missions, and other various tasks. Duly impressed with your abilities, the team gives you the operating name “Runner 5” and welcomes you into their group.
Zombies, Run!’s storyline unfolds through radio transmissions sent to you from the homestead as you are running. Your primary contact, Sam, will often speak with you, telling you pertinent information and sometimes just chat it up with you. Other times, you’ll accompany other runners or have additional people providing information to you over the radio.
As you run, you will pick up various supplies to support the homestead. Storyline missions provide both supplies and building materials (denoted by a wrench icon in game) while Supply runs only provide you with supplies.
How It Works
Zombies, Run! is a pretty straightforward app with some fun modes. Yes, it’s only for running/walking, but the various modes and the commentary keeps it entertaining. For the novice just wanting to get started, begin the storyline missions and get running. As you collect supplies, you’ll be able to upgrade your base and add new buildings.
With the free membership you have a few options to choose from. You’ll get access to new storyline missions every few days, supply runs, 5K/10K/half-marathon training plans, and races.
If you want to pay for the membership ($19.99 annual charge), you’ll unlock all the missions instead of having to wait for them as well as Airdrop runs (a destination that you must reach by GPS), and interval training routines.
At random times throughout your run, you will be notified that zombies are nearby and will need to pick up the pace to get away from them. If you fail to get away, you will lose some of the supplies you have gathered on your run. For those of you simply wanting to walk and/or enjoy the storyline without the stress of outrunning the walking dead, you can turn the chases off.
What They Got Right
I’m going to save some space here and make some quick bullet points of what I think the developers got right.
- Engaging storyline with pretty good voice actors.
- No need to stare at your screen like a dope as you play *cough*Pokémon Go!*cough*
- Can play your own music in between radio transmissions.
- Able to collect resources to build a base. Gives you a reason to keep playing.
- Multiple modes to choose from.
- Can track your progress either by distance walked or by steps taken.
What Can Be Improved
While this is a pretty solid app, I think there’s a few areas that could stand to be worked on. Nothing major, mind you, but it would add to the excitement and playability of the game.
- Make building your base actually mean something. There is absolutely NO reason to build or upgrade your base. It doesn’t assist you in the game whatsoever, nor does it unlock extra missions. It’s essentially eye-candy that serves no purpose.
- Silly supplies. “You just picked up a car battery and an axe.” How the hell am I supposed to run carrying this crap?!?
- The supply runs are pointless. You get both supplies and building materials from doing the storyline missions, but only supplies from doing the supply runs. Since both are needed to build/upgrade buildings, why would you ever do a supply run? Just repeat the storyline missions.
That’s really about it. Aside from a few trivial things that could easily be fixed, this is a solid app with plenty of stuff to keep you busy. Like I mentioned earlier, the biggest bonus this has app has over certain other apps is that once you press Start, you don’t need to ever look at the app again until you’re finished. Starting down at your phone while supposedly exercising is a safety factor, a health issue, and simply inconvenient.
Finally, one last piece of advice (or warning) is to immerse yourself into the storyline. Pretend you are Runner 5. Make your surroundings part of the story. This will add to the enjoyment of playing.
This can backfire however, depending on your surroundings. Playing a mission early Halloween morning when it’s dark, no one’s around, and your neighbor has a haunted park theme with murderous clowns all over the front yard? Yeah, I kept checking over my shoulder on that run. Heh.
Stay safe, Runner 5.