Danny and I have been running together four days a week for a long time now. We’ve got a few favorite routes, and we know how long it will take us to run each one. Danny’s the kind of dog who prefers routes he’s familiar with. New routes have SO MUCH NEW STUFF. New smells, new people, new dogs, new houses, new plants to pee on … It’s overwhelming, so we keep that to a minimum.
Danny may find repetition comforting, but it gets kind of boring for the human at the other end of the leash. You know what’s not boring? Being chased by zombies.
Zombies, Run! is an app for smartphones that gives you, Runner 5, missions to complete in a rather involved story. Every few minutes, the radio crackles over your headphones and someone delivers the next part of the plot. You have to get supplies, rescue a family, suffer the suspicions of another runner … who may have been bitten by a zombie herself. You can set the missions to take a half hour or an hour; it just changes the spacing between transmissions.
If you are a normal runner, Zombies, Run! works with a playlist on your phone and plays songs between the transmissions. If you are me running with my crazy dog, you skip the playlist function. It’s more important to me to hear what Danny hears and to react before Danny does (if that’s even possible), so I just let the blank spaces be blank. But if Sam tells me I need to pick up the pace to make it back to Abel Township before the zombies catch up with me, I do. I look at the dog and say, “Danny, zombies!” and we take off. Added bonus of this app: if zombies ever come to my neighborhood, Danny is already prepared to outrun them on command.
I use it with my Android phone, and there are quirks. It doesn’t work with Google Play, which is where my music is stored on my phone, but as I said, that’s not a big deal for me. Its synchronization with the online version of the game is spotty, as are the Facebook updates, if you choose to use them. The app was originally developed for iPhones, and the screen that should display the layout of the base doesn’t on an Android phone. You have to access the web site to move around the items you pick up during your run.
The last drawback is that you get what you pay for: this is a super fun way to perk up your run, especially in spooky October, but it’s not free. I paid $7.99 for the privilege of being chased by zombies, but I think it was well worth the price, even with its quirks. There are no ads (whew) and the voice actors who walk you through the story are fun and deserve to be paid.
Let’s go, Danny — zombies!