I just finished my first half marathon this month, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Zombies, Run! app for my Nokia Lumia 900. By now, you’ve probably read an article or two about the app, which storytelling company Six to Start launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2011 to fund. The app takes the normal tropes of GPS fitness apps–your route, distance and speed–and adds, you guessed it, zombies and some pretty great voice acting.
The game is set at Abel Township, a fortified farmhouse in England with about 60 residents and few supplies–think of it as a friendlier Woodbury or better-protected Hershel’s farm from The Walking Dead. As one of what the townsfolk call “runners,” you’re sent out to pick up food, weapons and fuel, to rescue some survivor in distress or any other number of tasks. Along the way, you’ll receive radio transmissions (apparently FM still works in the zombie apocalypse), get chased by the walking dead, and hear tunes from your smartphone’s library.
The setting, features and zombies are all great, but the thing that I really love about Zombies, Run! is the way it turns running into a videogame-like experience. You have to finish missions to unlock the next ones, and along the way you collect all sorts of items that you can use to level up different areas of Abel Township. I’m not entirely sure why I need to level up the town, but I enjoy doing it nonetheless.
Zombies, Run! just released 50 more missions and extra features for its Android and iOS offerings, both of which can be unlocked with in-app purchases. Sadly, those updates won’t be coming to my Windows Phone app, which the Six to Start stopped supporting almost a year ago. In any case, pick this app up if you are a runner and have even a passing interest in zombies–it’s worth more than twice its weight in brains.