Thursday, February 28, 2013

Zombies, Run!

Okay. I'm basically always the last person to gain interest in trends, so I'm sure 10 million other people have already told you about the slice of pure awesome that is Zombies, Run! I vaguely remember hearing one of my friends raving about it last year when I was lazy and led a sedentary life, so I didn't pay much attention. However, with "developing healthier habits" being one of my 23 Before 24 Goals, I decided to suck it up and purchase the app to help make the tedious task of working out just a little bit more fun (the fact it was 50% off also helped. I'm a sucker for a sale).

First off, I recommend approaching this app with an open mind and a willingness to at least try to use your imagination. While it's marketed as a game -- and for all intents and purposes is -- there are no sparkly graphics or Ooo shinys to be found within Zombies, Run!. Honestly, it's more of an audiobook -- an audiobook with occasional appearances of imaginary zombies at your heels, that is. I've always had a pretty active imagination, so that format is perfect for me, but if you're more on the square side, you might not like it unless you really, really like running.

From the moment you plug your headphones in and start a mission until you finish it, you're expected to run, though I'm pretty sure walking is okay too. The game uses your GPS if you're running in the real world or something called "experimental accelerometer technology" if you're on a treadmill to track how fast and far you run (I personally didn't have much luck with that setting). At the start of each mission, you have the option to enable or disable zombie chases (more on that shortly). If you plan on walking the entire time, I don't recommend enabling this setting, though honestly, I think the game would be really boring without it.

Left: Mission home screen // Right: Mission "Start" screen 
So basically, the format of the game is this: You start a mission, and listen to a short story segment of about two minutes in length that sets the scene for you. Then, music from a playlist on your phone will start playing as you run, and then it cuts to another story segment. This alternates back and forth for anywhere from 30-45 minutes depending on how long the songs on your playlist are. During the story segments, an assortment of different characters will give you instructions, describe scenes, tell you stories about the background of the zombie outbreak, and ultimately send you on missions to collect supplies to better the little settlement you're staying in called Abel Township. During the music times, you "pick up" collectible items (bandages, ammunition, bottled water, clothes, etc). You don't have to stop or go out of your way for these; a robotic version of Mr. Moviefone will simply announce over your music that you snagged them. After your run, you put them to use upgrading your settlement and leveling up your buildings. It's also during this time that the infamous zombie chases ensue.

My township is growing!
While you're busy running through the halls of an imaginary hospital or making your way across a field to inspect a strange item hanging in a tree, zombies can smell your fear from a mile away and will begin to converge on you. When they get a little too close for comfort, robotic Mr. Moviefone will unenthusiastically announce in your headphones that zombies are about to turn you into an afternoon snack, and that's your cue to pick up the pace. Normally, a thirty second sprint is enough to shake them, but alas, zombies can be persistent when they're hungry and Mr. Moviefone might announce that they're getting closer, so you'll need to whip out an extra burst of speed or risk being eaten alive and having to start the mission over. Assuming you successfully evade the mob -- the game will tell you when this happens -- you're safe to walk, jog, crawl or move at whatever pace you want until the next mob strikes.

So that's pretty much all there is to the game. After each mission you unlock the next and the story moves forward. There's also optional supply gathering missions, a 5k mission and a 10k mission outside of the main story. I wanted to write an overview for people considering buying Zombies, Run! because, while I absolutely love it, I'll be honest and say it is very different from what I expected. There are also a few minor things I dislike -- specifically the lack of ability to skip songs and the fact I have to log on to a website outside the app to view my map and stats -- but the developer says many changes are in the works so this could change in a future update. More missions are also going to be added.

On a parting note I thought I would share the playlist I jam out to while I'm dodging the zombie hordes. Personally, I think the music you have sets the stage for the game and makes it easier to really get into character. I imagine the illusion of being chased by the living dead would be slightly diminished if say, Ke$ha kicked on while you were attempting to escape a mob. All of these songs, in my opinion, are great for post-apocalyptic ambiance. You can find and purchase any of these songs on Amazon or iTunes if you like what you hear. Hey! Then we can outrun zombies together in musical spirit!
Zombies, Run! by bronwyn judith on Grooveshark


  1. Looks like so much fun! I'm also always late to get interested in things that are trendy, just because everyone is talking about and enjoying it I end up losing interest, just to be contrary :P haha

  2. I have to agree - I tend to steer clear of current 'trends'.

    This game seems quite cool actually and I love your track listing : )


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