App Review: Zombies, Run!

I’m not one who stays up-to-date on app fads (or any fads for that matter). Eventually word about apps like Angry Birds and Words with Friends just happen to get around to me. I say all that to say, Zombies, Run! was the exception. I found out about this app about a week before it released after a friend posted a link to a news story about it on Facebook and I knew I had to have it. As a person who strives to enjoy running, I knew if the app was as cool as it was in my head, it could completely change the way I run.

Price: $7.99
Fitness level required: Beginner

Overview:
Zombies, Run! is a fitness and game app all in one. The story unfolds as you are dropped into a camp that is in need of help from “runners.” Runners collect supplies that you distribute to the survivors in your camp – Abel Township. You survive, they survive. There are currently 30 missions available, but developers will release more missions in the near future. Missions last between 25 – 30 minutes depending on your soundtrack.

Zombies, yay:
Personally, my main problem when running is that I think about what I’m doing too often. Me running without music? Forget about it. I wouldn’t make it down the block. I have to be distracted. Zombies, Run! is the perfect solution for me. By the time the first section of dialogue was over on my first mission, I had already knocked out 1/4 of my run without even realizing it.
One thing that works in my favor for this app is my active imagination. If you can’t play along, this app will be of no help to you. The people on the radio will say things like, “You should see the hospital in the distance on your left.” I can easily look up, decide what object “the hospital” is and push myself to get to that mark as quickly as possible.
If you have a problem pushing yourself, make sure you turn on the zombie chases feature. Nothing will motivate you to keep running than a horde of zombies ready to devour your brains. Don’t worry, the chases only last 1 minute max. You can handle it.
For those of you who have been long-time users of other running apps like Nike+, you can run both apps at the same time. However, I would suggest turning off the audio cues in the other app. It’s much more motivating for me to hear that the work I’m doing is going to save lives rather than hear some athlete I’ve never heard of patronize me anyway. (No offense, Nike+. I love you.)
Another thing to keep in mind, this app will work for any level runner. The mission isn’t based on any set speed. Whether you choose to run or walk the entire time, when a zombie attack occurs, all you have to do is speed up. You’re not required to pull a Usain Bolt or anything.

Zombies, boo:
I’ve discovered very few drawbacks to Zombies, Run!, and the flaws it has aren’t significant enough for me to not recommend it.
It would be nice if I could change my distance from kilometers to miles. I’m assuming this will be a fixed soon. (If it already is fixed and I’m a dummy, tell me how to change it in the settings, please.)
This is my own problem, but I hate iTunes. I lothe it, so I don’t use it. I choose to listen to my music through Spotify. It’s my understanding that Zombies, Run! is programmed to pause your iTunes playlist while the narrator is taking, but of course, this does not apply to an outside app like Spotify, Lastfm, Pandora, etc. Not only does it not pause the playlist, there’s no way to even control the volumes separately making it difficult to hear the mission at times. I’m not pinning this as something the developers missed and I don’t assume it will be fixed. It would be too difficult to work with so many outside companies. I’ll just have to bite the bullet, put my workout songs on my phone and pray syncing it doesn’t delete everything I have. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

Conclusion:
Yes, $7.99 is a lot for an app, but in my opinion, Zombies, Run! is worth the cost. I find myself thinking, “Man, I really don’t want to run today, but I’m really curious about what happens next in my game.” The motivation to get off my butt and workout is definitely worth $8 to me.

Rating: A

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