If you think about it, there are really only two good reasons to run – free bacon and a zombie holocaust. This game isn’t about free bacon. Technically, it’s not about a zombie holocaust either, it’s more like a pretend zombie holocaust, but you can think of it as practice for the real thing.
You! Are! Runner 5! The new Runner 5, mind you, because the old Runner 5 ran into a bit of trouble back at the old hospital, and swapped running for shambling. Permanently.
Anyway, your mission is to, basically, run. Run, run, run. And pick up stuff and keep running, because there are zombies coming up on your six, and Abel Township really needs those sports bras you just put in your backpack. Think of those poor women with no adequate support! Just when the post-apocalypse couldn’t get any worse.
The game is dead simple. Using your iPhone’s GPS tracker, the game keeps tabs on you – including where you are, where you were, and where you’re headed – and from time to time, dispatches a zombie mob to make sure you’re not slacking off. When you hear the brain-eaters breathing down the back of your neck, run faster.
A story of sorts plays out in between the zombie mobs and your special customised zombie holocaust playlist, with a bunch of people talking to you and telling you what to do via radio transmissions. I assume some shocking conspiracy involving the government, the military, and an experimental bioweapon accidentally leaked from a subterranean silo somewhere will be uncovered during the course of the game, because it wouldn’t be a pretend zombie holocaust without one. Again, it’s just practice for the real thing.
Random items are collected automatically at intervals along the way, including medical and communications gear, weapons, food, and even undies. When you’ve completed a mission (or even if you’re taking a mid-mission break), you can divvy this loot up between Abel Township’s buildings, which eventually levels them up and presumably makes them more effective at… undies. There’s not really much point to this, but it’s nice to know you’re doing your bit for zombie resistance.
But does it work? Fitness games don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to, you know, actually getting people fit. The thing about Zombies, Run!, though, is that it doesn’t take rearranging your entire lounge just for a 20-minute workout – you put on your joggers, jack into your phone, and go-go-go, even if it’s just a few laps around your flat. It’s brilliant. I had no idea I could even run, but it turns out zombies are a super incentive – and after less than two weeks, I’m already pushing 1.5km at a time. Look at me, mom! I’m all ready for the real thing.
Zombies, Run! is currently available on iOS, but will apparently see release on Android as well very soon.