It’s midway through summer, and with nothing much to do, I decided to do some jogging and keep healthy. That didn’t last very long, the appeal of going out and running without anything to do seemed like a real drain on time for not much entertainment value. That’s when I stumbled on Zombies, Run!
Zombies, Run! is an Android and iOS app along the lines of Endomondo or Runtastic with a nice twist. Alongside the sports tracking features, it features audio tracks that tell a story as you run. It’s no ordinary audiobook . You are Runner 5, responsible for foraging supplies, luring zombies away and passing messages for what little remains of humanity. The story ties in with your running and you pair it along with your own music tracks.
How this works is you select a playlist and the next chapter of the story. When you go out for a run, they begin briefing you on a mission or with a nice friendly one-sided chat. In the story, you head out the gates and your music starts playing. Between each track of your playlist, you get a one or two minute audio message to update you on the storyline. The story is done entirely as dialogue from the control tower that is watching over you as you go about trying to help. You get the occasional curveball thrown at you when you find a child lost in the forest, or find discarded weapons nearby. Despite being scripted in advance, they tell you to speed up at certain intervals to avoid the zombies and nothing is more alarming that some of the grunts that sound like they are just over your shoulder.
The stories were engaging, the characters are slowly developed and you find yourself running an extra half hour to find out what will happen next. My criticism is that the story goes at a glacial pace and doesn’t seem to try to bring itself to any conclusion. It’s clear they want to drag this out, but it also keeps enough content to last over the summer. It’s fairly quick to get through missions and there’s really no reason to replay.
The sports tracker side of things is a bit sparse. I found that with the same or similar run, I get different readings on Runtastic, but it’s close enough. It also has a bit of extra game goodies where you try and build up a base, but I can’t see anyone realistically trying to use those features. Overall, I had a lot of fun with this app, it got me running longer and more often than if I just decided to go out with an audiobook or some random music.