Product Review: Zombies, Run!

Product Review: Zombies, Run!

What: Zombies, Run! by Six To Start

Where: iTunes

Cost: $3.99 (half off as of this writing) – or $7.99 for the season pass plus

Six To Start also makes a Zombies, Run! 5K training pack for $1.99

Rating: 5 Zombie Heads!


Zombies, Run! is an immersive run tracker for the iPhone or Android. I have the iPhone version so my review will be based on that platform.

Why do you need an ‘immersive’ run tracker? Well, let’s face it; running can get boring. No matter what kind of scenery you run through, or the terrain you have at your disposal, running is essentially putting one foot in front of the other for roughly 2000 steps per mile. Sometimes you need a little variation.

I should pause here and let you know that if you don’t use headphones when you run, this application will not be for you. Using headphones is really a pre-req. You can use your own playlists and music, so that is a plus.

Having said that, I use headphones on pretty much all my runs (we’ll be doing a review of some bluetooth headphones shortly). There are a lot of different thoughts on the safety issues associated with wearing headphones while running, so only you can make the decision on whether or not it’s right for you. Assuming it is, let’s move on.

Zombies, Run! is a serial story about the zombie apocalypse set in the English countryside, and it starts with a bang…well, with a crash, really, a helicopter crash which your character survives. You were on your way to Able Township to supplement their supply runners. You play Runner 5, and your job is to go out and forage for supplies and anything that may be useful to the base and it’s residents (which in season one includes a disturbing number of sports bras that for some reason just litter the English landscape). Each mission starts with a briefing from Sam Yao, the communications director for Able Township. Sam lays out the parameters of your missions, which sometimes will be straightforward and other times go horribly awry. During the mission you’ll get a voice prompt when ever you pick up an item (a robotic voice will say “collected a sports bra” or “collected a box of 9mm bullets”) and different characters will pop in about every two songs or so and add to the plot. There’s intrigue, deception, and oh, yeah, ZOMBIES!

The game has an algorithm that tracks your speed and when a zombie horde appears, you have to speed up to avoid the horde. This is where the run gets fun. The game ducks the music and you hear a beeping, like a blip sounding off on a radar screen. The closer together the beeps are, the nearer the zombies. The voice will tell you “zombies – 50 meters!” (yes, it’s English so they use meters) or “zombies – 20 meters!” The first horde I encountered actually made me look over my shoulder when the moans came in my left ear. If you run fast enough you evade the horde (I have to practically sprint for the 60-120 seconds of the horde chase). If you don’t, the horde catches you, but don’t worry – you throw some of the items you’ve picked up at them to distract them long enough for you to get away. As a tip, when you hear that first beep, start moving faster immediately; the longer you wait, the lower your chance of evading the horde. Also, once you’ve picked up the pace, keep it there all the way until the voice tells you “zombies evaded.” I’ve let up in anticipation of evading the horde, only to get caught and lose some of my collected items.

If you don’t like having to sprint every mile or so, you have the option to turn off the hordes, but really – why buy a zombie themed running game if you’re not going to have zombies? In terms of the other settings you can turn the item pick up notifications off, you can activate mileage notifications, set the mission length (30 minutes or 1 hour) and set the game volume. If you run past the end of the mission you go into ‘radio mode’ where two guys come on every couple of songs and talk about life in the post apocalypse world. You will continue to pick up items and run into zombies in radio mode.

When you’re done running you can go and build your base. You can do this either in the app itself or via the Zombie, Run! website (registration required). I’ve found the website to be easier to navigate, but be sure to sync your app first, or they can get out of sync with each other. I make it a habit to sync before and after each run.

So the big question is – is the application worth $7.99? In my mind, yes, with a couple of caveats.

  • First, you’re getting all of Season 1 (20 missions) plus Season 2 (40 missions) plus 20 side quests. That’s a lot of writing and voice acting for $8.
  • If you want to avoid the hordes, you have to move. I run between a 9:30 – 10:00 minute per mile pace. To avoid a horde I have to get up to a 7:30 pace for about a quarter mile. If you’re not wanting to do intervals, you either don’t want this app, or you accept getting caught by more hordes than you escape. My hard runs are Thursdays, so I will typically use the game only once per week.
  • As mentioned above, you MUST use headphones for the game to be effective.
  • Also, you need music or you’ll have looooong dead spaces between scenes in the missions. So, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t use headphones or listen to music, this probably isn’t the game for you.
  • It’s more accurate with GPS.  If you use your iPod Touch it will still work, but you’re limited to the accelerometer tracking your speed and that’s not the best or most accurate way to measure your speed and this could affect your ability to outrun zombie hordes. Your distance can also be affected by using the accelerometer vs GPS.

So, if you’re like me and you always run with music, hence you wear headphones, and you use your phone to track your runs with GPS and you don’t mind sprinting to get away from the hordes, then this game is an absolute steal for what you get out of it. It was a perfect fit for me, so I give it 5 Zombie Heads.



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