Exercise Gets Eerie with the “ZOMBIES, RUN!” App!Books/Art/Culture,Game and Toy Reviews,News Josef Luciano
Looking to burn off some of that Halloween candy? This election season got you down? Why not cheer up by getting ready for the oncoming Zombie apocalypse! How, you may ask? With the ZOMBIES, RUN! app.
ZOMBIES, RUN! works like many health and fitness apps for iOS and Android platforms, such as RUNKEEPER or MAPMYFITNESS. Players can run, jog, or walk wherever they like. But what gives ZOMBIES, RUN! its edge is that it pairs mobile health (mHealth) with amazing transmedia storytelling. From the second you put on your jogging shoes and walk outside, you can hear the undead hordes chasing you. You become a hero in your very own zombie adventure where you must run not only to save yourself, but to uncover the mystery behind humanity’s last chance for survival.
Like most running apps, ZOMBIES, RUN! records one’s distances, pace, and calories burned through the phone’s internal GPS tracking. Players complete a series of missions, such as collecting supplies to benefit the base camp of Abel Township, a lone sanctuary in a soundscape ravaged by the living dead. Runners can listen to music from their own playlists, or enjoy the superb voice acting and sound design interwoven between dreadful periods of silence. Items are automatically collected at specific intervals, an element of gameplay that lends itself to real dramatic intensity. In contrast to POKEMON GO’s interface which forces its players to stay glued to their phones, ZOMBIES, RUN! works largely hands-free, something that allows for a truly immersive experience.
Started originally as a Kickstarter project, the campaign for ZOMBIES, RUN! earned more than five times their funding goal. Word traveled fast and ZOMBIES, RUN! quickly made headlines after becoming the highest-grossing Health & Fitness app on Apple’s App store within just two weeks of its initial release. Shortly thereafter, the developer Six to Start released a spin-off app, ZOMBIES, RUN! 5k Training, designed for the “couch to 5k” users. This app is said to work best with those committed to a rigid 5k training regiment, and is less spontaneous than the original ZOMBIES, RUN! app which features randomized challenges and chase missions to really keep users on their toes.
Co-created with award-winning novelists Naomi Alderman and Rebecca Levene, the game’s fantastic storyline also features notable contributions from sci-fi writers Margaret Atwood and Andrea Phillips. While the game draws you in with its cool concept and excellent audio design, the story keeps you running. Whereas some zombie-themed programming (‘that which shall not be named’) drone on and on, ZOMBIES, RUN!’s storytelling craft really shines in many of the game’s small touches and powerful moments. So much so that the makers have even issued a pre-order for a DUNGEON AND DRAGONS style board game aptly titled ZOMBIES, RUN! THE BOARD GAME.
Having just wrapped its fifth season, Six to Start promises some transformative upgrades and redesigns next season, as well as a completely new Apple Watch app with new readouts, notifications, and settings. Let’s hope more phenomenal literary voices are added to their list. For more information about ZOMBIES, RUN!, check out their website HERE.