App Review: Zombies, Run!

The gym has always been the Claw to my Gadget, the Wicked Witch to my Dorothy, the Gideon to my Ramona Flowers. I got a membership last year, and I try to go a few times a week, but can barely stand to drag my ass to anything but yoga. I ran competitively for years, but stress fractures took me out of the running for a while and since leaving derby, my cardio ability has plummeted. I took to the App Store in search of a way to make the treadmill more fun (does that even exist?), I came across Zombies, Run! (Android, iOS, Windows Phone), an exercise/game app hybrid.zombiesRun

Zombies, Run! is based on a fantastic concept: You complete “missions” as you run, listening to a story and retrieving items on the missions that you can sue to build your base at the end of the workout. You start out as a passenger on a helicopter on the way to drop supplies to Abel Township, a human base, in a world overrun by the undead. Your helicopter is mysteriously shot down and you have to run to the base and earn your keep by becoming “Runner 5”. Your job is to collect supplies and investigating zombie attacks, where you find out more about the place you’ve landed and the people who live there. You have to option to turn on zombie “chases” where you’re encouraged to sprint and not get eaten by the hoard. The app also has an online component where you can register and track the distance and time of your runs.

Running has become more enjoyable now that I have the goal of investigating Abel Township and collecting items to increase my base size and population helps me complete my goal of a 30 minute run every other day (you have to option of a 60 minute workout as well). The missions last about 30 minutes and after that you get transmissions from Abel Radio, where you learn more about the world you’re in. The missions incorporate music from a playlist you select on your device (I currently use my Hunger Games playlist- the mood is fitting) and alternate between transmissions and songs. There are other ways to play, including 5k, 10k, and 15k modes, and stories from New Canton, a neighboring township, that can be purchased.

The downsides of the program are few and honestly probably have more to do with user error or the fact that my phone is really beaten up (the case literally holds it together). The apps states that you can either track your distance using GPS or your pace with the accelerometer only one can be used at a time, which is annoying. Neither work very well on my phone, but the GPS probably can’t get a fix because I run inside and there’s a good chance that the accelerometer in my phone doesn’t work properly.

The one problem that I would attribute to the app is that it occasionally crashes mid-mission and doesn’t always restart from where you left off. This interrupts mission completion and can be pretty annoying. It hasn’t happened that often and really isn’t a major problem.

Overall, Zombies, Run! Is a fantastic app for those who enjoy gaming and need some motivation while working out. You don’t have to be a runner to use it; walkers are welcome too and I believe it would work ok on the elliptical or bicycle (the GPS and accelerometer features may not work the best on an elliptical). I haven’t explored all the online features yet, but they seem to be a promising addition, if I can get the accelerometer or GPS feature working.

Overall, I would give Zombies, Run!: 8/10


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