I'm going to start this post with saying that I don't use this app like it is intended- to run with. Instead I walk to it. I am getting a little faster (yay!) but I can't push myself too much right now as I could put myself back even further if I do. I was right on the cusp of being able to job for a minute when things went a bit topsy turvy in my life and my health responded by getting worse, of course. I took my time, managed to get off most of most of the medications I ended up back on with the flair and even managed to leave behind some of my supplements over the past year or so. Now it's time to exercise again... slowly. So I pulled out my old standard cardio app and realized they had completely revamped the entire app! That was interesting but pretty cool. I had already paid for seasons 1-3 before they redesigned it to be an annual subscription which was a little sad because new players will have paid less than me when it is all said and done but that's ok... I was there back when it started and supported it's growth so I don't mind too much. The app is called Zombies, Run and is by a UK based company called Six to Start. They have a few other apps that I will be reviewing later this month as well that are along the same lines: game meets radio show meets exercise app.
The game's website says the following about the game: "Run in the real world. Become a Hero in another. Only a few have survived the zombie epidemic. You are a Runner en-route to one of humanity's last remaining outposts. They need your help to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their home. And you have another mission- one they don't know about..."
That's a pretty general but accurate plot line... at least for the two and a half seasons I have worked my way through in the past. I restarted the series so I am back in season one working my way back to where I was in the story before. There were plenty of details I missed the first time through so feel free to re-run missions. They don't get boring.
If you look in the settings area you will see that you can change the units to Standard or Metric, input your weight, change the volume of the game clips and etc. but there is also a section called 'clip spacing' that allows you to decide how often you would like a story clip to play... effectively lengthening or shortening your run. It is taking me about 20 minutes to get through a mission at 'clips play every 2.5 minutes' so if you want a longer mission then perhaps make it every 5 minutes or so. It is very easy to personalize your runs. I suggest checking this screen out fully before your first mission so that you know what your options are.
Click on the mission and you are brought to a screen that allows you to choose the playlist that you wish to run to from your phone, chose how ZR will track your movement/pace/run, and decide if you want zombie chases (more on this later). When you start a new episode there is a recap to start with, similar to a TV series, and then the new 'mission' begins. For the majority of season one, as I assume that is where you will start, your comms operator is Sam Yao. He briefs you on your missions, warns you of incoming zombies he sees on his scanners, provides humor and generally just watches your six while you are outside the gates. Once you have been briefed you head outside the gates for the day's mission.Your chosen playlist will be interspersed with story clips that keep you in the alternate world of ZR throughout your run... I don't suggest you run at night as those zom noises can get a tad creepy. And there's a reason we don't send scouts out at night... just sayin'.
If you selected to have zombie chases, which you are also able to customize when it comes to frequency, then you will also hear a warning about incoming zombies throughout the mission at various points. There will be tones that warn you how far away the zombie is as well as a voice that will tell you if you outpaced the zombie or needed to throw an item at it in order to escape. In order to escape you have to put on a burst of speed for about half a minute if I recall (I can't do these right now so have the feature turned off)... basically you sprint as fast as you can. If you throw an item at the zombie then you have lost an item that you 'picked up' on your run. These items can be used to rebuild Abel Township... where your character lives and works. This portion of the game has really grown over the years compared to what it started as.
That pretty much covers the story missions... there are other types of missions you can chose to run as well. You can use Airdrop mode to retrieve supplies from Mullin's airbase at a location you chose in the real world, run a supply mission that is general and doesn't affect the storyline (so you can skip them or run them again and again... like we used to do in between seasons), do interval training that you customize yourself in the app, run with Radio Abel instead of a mission, or run in race mode. Radio Abel is basically a radio show that takes place within the world of ZR. These aren't missions but rather you just out running but getting to also hear about the world of post zombie apocalypse and learn more about the world your character resides in. They are a good change of pace and I find the hosts quite humorous. Race mode is exactly like it seems. There are 2 sets of 3 races- a 5k, 10k and 20k race with story lines all their own that take place either in the world of Abel Township or New Canton, the militarized quasi-enemy township not too far away. Abel and New Canton's powers that be to not see eye to eye but the runners will generally help each other out in a bind if they can... it is, after all, the fate of the world at stake.
If you want to get really into the alternate world you can go into the game and read about the various things you pick up... some are supplies like water and sports bras (yes, sports bras... it's a running joke actually) and some are 'artifacts' that give you details about the developing story such as a CDC box or a newspaper clip about Netrophil. These items can be read about in the Codex tab. You can also go online and download the Abel Runner's Guide for free to get more into the mythology of the game.
Just recently they have added a store where you can make purchases related to the game on their website if you are interested. There are also fans who have etsy and similar shops for "Runner 5" gear. The big news though is that they just launched the first ZR virtual race. I signed up even though I won't be running it... I'm hoping to get a few short jogs in by then though, we'll see! This was big news in the ZR community and spots sold out fairly quickly.
Finally, you can sync your runs to the cloud, use health kit with the app to track your workouts and, of course, share your runs to social media. This is by far my favorite exercise app of all time and it doesn't surprise me one bit that it is now an award winning app... it rocks.
(Once I am able to restart and complete the 5k training app that is a companion to ZR I will write a review of it as well but from what I recall it wasn't as in depth as this game is but it was still quite good. It takes place between episodes 1 and 2 of the original ZR game and is a C25K program so you go from walking to running/jogging a 5k by the end if you follow the program.)