Yesterday, I survived a helicopter crash, escaped from two zombie mobs, and searched an abandoned hospital for vital supplies to help the survivor’s colony–all during my run! In case you’re curious what the heck I’m talking about, this is all thanks to Zombies, Run!, “an ultra-immersive running game and audio adventure for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android” created by London-based company Six to Start and writer Naomi Alderman. For a quick summary of the story behind the game and an overview of how it works, see my earlier post here. Today, I’m excited to report that Zombies, Run! is available for download on iOS. The base game costs $7.99. Because I pre-ordered the game, I was able to access an advance copy on Friday and did my first run with it yesterday. I therefore wanted to take this chance to share a few initial thoughts with you.
Even after just one run, I can tell that this is going to be a fantastic motivational tool for people. I completed the first mission today, and I am already chomping at the bit to run again so I can find out what happens next! Currently, there are 13 missions associated with the game, each one lasting approximately 25-30 minutes depending on the length of the songs in the playlist you choose to listen to during your run. More will be will be available in future updates and a total of 30 is currently planned. Each mission works by giving you audio updates about the mission/story before and after each track in your playlist finishes playing. Note that the game will continue to record your distance/pace after the mission ends and your playlist will continue to play as “Abel Township Radio”.
In addition to the between-song updates, you will hear short announcements during your music letting you know when you’ve picked up supplies or, heaven forbid, that zombies have been detected! I was faced with two zombie mobs during my run, which meant that I had to run faster for up to 60 seconds in order to escape them. When they say run faster, though, they really mean it. When I met up with my first zombie mob, I didn’t speed up enough and unfortunately got caught. This doesn’t mean the mission ends, though, it just means that you drop a few supplies to distract the zombies long enough for you to run away. The second time I met up with the zombie hordes, I was better prepared and took advantage of a downhill stretch of road to sprint away to safety! If you are uninterested in having to sprint during your runs or if you are walking your missions and would prefer not to have to start running, you can turn off zombie chases in the settings.
There are a few key things missing from this initial version of Zombies, Run!, but a quick email to their support crew assures me that these features are imminent or in the works. The most noticeably absent features at the moment are updates on your pace/distance during your run and, while all of your run data is being stored by the app, there is currently no way to view your run history. The latter feature will be available in the next update, and the former is in the works for future updates. In addition, the app does not yet sync with any other run tracking apps, such as RunKeeper, but word on the street is that RunKeeper will run successfully in the background and integration for RunKeeper is planned for the future. [UPDATE: Nike+ will also run in the background!]
Steven or I will be doing a more thorough review of Zombies, Run! in the next few weeks, but I hope that this summary will encourage you to download a copy. It is truly an innovative approach to motivating people to run and is so much fun to use. As always, please let me know if you have any questions in the comments. Good luck avoiding the zombie hordes and building your colony of survivors!
Meagan is a geochemistry research lab manager, runner, Netflix binge-watcher, and Mom to a rescue dog, a bunny, and a human child. She started running in May 2011 and ran her first half marathon in October 2012, followed by her first marathon in October 2013. In July 2018, she joined the triathlon world and completed an Olympic-distance race. After an extended break (pregnancy/maternity leave), she is making a long-overdue return to running and is preparing for a high-elevation half marathon at Crater Lake National Park in August 2020.