It has now been a little over a month since the release of Zombies, Run! for iOS and I wanted to follow-up on my initial review to offer a few more insights, as well as address some FAQs I’ve compiled. Overall, I would say that my feelings towards Zombies, Run! have not changed in the past month. While I don’t use the app every time I run (I’m trying to stretch out the available missions as long as possible!), it is still a fun and motivating addition to my workout.
One of the best parts of the game is that Six to Start has done a really great job making the audio clips and story feel real. If the game refers to a “red windmill to your right”, I often find myself looking to the right to try to find what they’re talking about! It’s particularly awesome when there is something around you that matches the description of a feature mentioned in the game. I was once told to look for a castle off to my left, and when I looked, I was greeted with a view of the Wisconsin State Capitol building. Very cool! Another great feature of the game that many people may overlook is the “radio mode” that kicks in if you continue running after your mission is completed. It is definitely worth it to continue walking or running for a couple songs in radio mode if you have the time and energy. Not only can you pick up additional supplies, but the sound clips for the “radio DJ’s” provide some great comic relief for the game. Watch out, though, because you can still encounter zombie mobs in radio mode!
The most recent update for Zombies, Run!, released on March 22, brought with it a few key features that have greatly improved my experience with the game. The list of updated or added features can be seen in the screen shot to the left. One that is not listed, but I swear has been added, is an increased number of zombie mobs. Before the update, I would encounter one, maybe two, but often zero zombie mobs during a mission. I have used the app twice after the update, and encountered four zombie mobs in my first run and five in my second. This turns running with zombie mobs into a random form of interval training and, as I’ve mentioned before, you really have to sprint to evade them, so it will definitely get your heart pumping.
We had a lot of great questions from people following my initial review, so before I sign off, here is Technically Running’s list of Zombies, Run! FAQs for you to refer to:
1. Is Zombies, Run! really worth $8?
The short answer is yes, it is. I understand that it is on the expensive side for an app, but isn’t it worth it to have something that motivates you and makes running more fun? The app itself is well-made, stable, and easy to use. Six to Start also has many updates planned that will introduce new features and even better functionality, making an already great game even better. You already spent $200 on your iPhone (and probably another $100 on your running shoes), so what’s $8 more?
2. What do you get for your $8?
For $8, you get 30 missions, totaling 40+ runs. Currently, 22 missions are included with the game. The rest will be released in future updates. Keep in mind that you must complete missions and use supplies to level up your base in order to unlock all of the missions and move forward in the game.
3. What add-ons will be available in the future?
Planned add-ons to be released in future updates and available for in-app purchase will include programs such as beginner 5k training and interval training.
4. Are any of the missions re-playable or meant to be played multiple times?
You can redo a mission as many times as you would like and your data will be saved separately for each time you repeat it. Testers for the beta version of the game had the opportunity (or were forced, depending on how you look at it) to redo many of the missions multiple times. One, who is a commenter on Reddit, reports that the missions definitely have replay potential. I could see myself repeating missions in the future to collect more supplies or pick up on information about the story that I missed the first time.
I haven’t encountered any missions that are meant to be played multiple times, yet, but I assume that I will in future missions. The 30 total missions noted above account for 40+ runs, suggesting that some of them will take more than one run to complete. Additionally, I believe some of the future add-ons will include missions that are meant to be repeated. [UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Dan for letting me know that supply missions are meant to be re-playable and can be run as many times as you’d like if you want to avoid using up your available story missions.]
5. Can you pause missions and come back to them?
Yes. If you pause a mission and come back to it, the mission will start again at the most recently played chapter (you can think of an audio clip/song pair as a “chapter”).
6. Can RunKeeper or Nike+ run in the background?
Yes. I haven’t personally tried RunKeeper, but Nike+ GPS runs great in the background (or foreground, if you prefer for Zombies, Run! to be in the background), and can be allowed to give you audio updates on your pace/distance without affecting your Zombies, Run! mission.
7. Can you use apps like Spotify or Pandora to listen to music?
Unfortunately, no. This is because Zombies, Run! relies on being able to pause your music between every song to play an audio clip for the game. The app does not have access to other apps in order to pause music playing within them. It’s possible that these music services will be integrated in future updates, but for now, you’ll have to settle for using playlists of your own music.
8. What happens if you get caught by zombies?
You do not fail the mission if you get caught by a zombie mob. You do, however, lose a significant amount of the supplies you collected so far for that run. Supplies allow you to level up various parts of your base, thus increasing its population, and unlocking new missions. In addition, some supplies that you pick up give you clues pertaining to the cause of the zombie apocalypse, so you definitely want to hold on to everything you find by outrunning the zombie hordes!
9. What is the difference between GPS and accelerometer mode?
Accelerometer mode is still an experimental feature for the app, so the accuracy of your pace/distance will not be as good as if you were using the GPS mode. Because of this, zombie chases do not happen in accelerometer mode. In GPS mode, the app is capable of running in the background and/or with the screen off. In accelerometer mode, the app must be in the foreground and it will not work if the screen of the device shuts off.
10. Do you need anything outside of the app for it to run (e.g. a sensor)?
No. However, if you are going to use the app in accelerometer mode, you will need something to hold your iPhone or iPod touch on your person. This could be a pocket, an armband, or, my favorite, the SpiBelt!