So in the past week I downloaded some new apps for my iPhone. Today particularly, I'll be talking about Zombies, Run! which is a game that game out over the past year or so
Zombies, Run! was released in the past year and is not the typical zombie game, let alone a typical mobile game. The app, oddly enough, is a fitness game, where you're motivated to run because you're being chased by the dead. When you first open the game, the basic directions pop up like most other games; a story unfolds around your running sessions using prerecorded radio messages to immerse you into this apocalyptic universe. While not listening to the messages, the app will allow you to listen to the music on your music player. The game uses GPS tracking on your device to detect zombie hordes and to pick up virtual items that you can use after your run to fortify your base (the app can also be run inside on a treadmill if you prefer the indoors to the outdoors). So the game starts out with you functioning as a government assistant traveling in a heli to a survivor sector called Abel Township. However, before you are able to land the copter, an anonymous enemy fires a rocket at your ride, and you are the only one left alive. You're left with a broken radio that only receives signal, and you receive instructions on how to make it to Abel Township. Eventually you are named Runner 5, and the world of Abel Township unfolds around you.
One thing I must say about this game is that it's really good at immersing you into the game's world, which it does in several ways. Almost always in missions there will be a sort of key item that you are expected to retrieve and bring back to Abel, and when you hear "Zombies Detected" in mid mission, you bolt for your sorry ass life (if you're caught by the zombs, they take all the sweet loot you've collected throughout your session). The voice acting is also just spectacular (and British); I remember many times during my runs where I saw a neighbor and was ready to beat the shit out of them or sprint away because I forgot I wasn't really in a zombie apocalypse The game does a pretty good job at motivating you to try harder and rewarding your effort with praise.
There are only a few issues I have with this game; I don't think directions are very clear when it comes to upgrading your base. Maybe I'm just an idiot, but it took me a while to figure out that you had to press, hold, and drag items you've obtained in your rounds to different regions of your base to upgrade them. Also, I feel like it could do a better job with motivating you to jog a lot of the time; on pretty much every single run I've had, my basic session cycle is: jogging for a lap, sprinting from living dead, being so tired I can barely move, walking most of the time, and lastly sprinting from zombs whenever I need to. I feel like the GPS tracker could do a bit more with the crowd of zombies behind and have them never truly be gone, and whenever you slow down, they start to catch up. Also I found many times when the radio message told me I needed to get the fuck out of an area because a zombie hoard was approaching, no zombies would ever be detected, and I'd wind up walking for the duration of the time between tracks. I also feel like the super monotone computer voice that announces when zombies are detected and when you pick up items is really annoying, and I feel like they could have assigned a regular voice actor for the part, even if it was a character from the game, it would have been better than Mr. Monotone. The last problem with this game is the price; I know this game started on Kickstarter. I know a lot went into making this game, and I know a lot of voice actors participated in making all of this a reality. But there is no reason this game should be priced at $7.99. I could understand $3.99, or even maybe $5.50, but once you hit that $6.00 mark, that's just too expensive. The only possible good side I can come up with for this is that I'm more motivated to use the app and get some exercise because I paid a shit ton of money on it.
All in all, the game is really good. While it may be overpriced and have some minor hiccups and a tiny list of improvements that should be made, it offers extremely immersible gameplay that makes exercising (somewhat) fun.
Peter, The Steamworks