Virtual training assistant apps on the iPhone(s aapl) can really help add much-needed motivation to a workout, and one recent Kickstarter project wants to pump you up even more. Zombies, Run! is an app designed to help you get fit using the virtual threat of a zombie outbreak, and a rewards system based on accomplishing tasks throughout your run to help you “survive.”
Zombies, Run! is a game in that you have virtual goals to accomplish, which will help you further the cause of your virtual persona. But it’s a training app in that to accomplish those goals, you have to get out and run; doing so will let you collect items like supplies, medicine and ammo, which you can then put to use back home at your “base.” The app is designed for all levels of fitness, so you should be able to play whether you’re just getting started with an exercise routine or gearing up for a marathon.
The app provides you with “missions,” which take around 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and which feature radio messages and pre-recorded voice communications that provide feedback on what you’re doing as you run. Don’t worry if you prefer running to music, either; your own custom playlists integrate just fine with the mission audio. In Season 1 (the first content pack), you’ll have 30 unique missions to accomplish, and more seasons (with additional mission packs) are planned as future updates.
Zombies, Run! looks simply but smartly designed, without overly elaborate graphics (you won’t be looking at your screen while you’re playing, after all) and a flexible mission system that works with routes and paces determined by runners, not by the game. It also doesn’t need any special equipment, just an iPhone, and works equally well on the treadmill or on the park path. The app keeps track of your distance, time and calories burned, and you can hear notification of those stats throughout your workout.
This is a clever spin on a category of apps that already pretty much represent a perfect match for the iPhone’s capability set, and adds in a gamification element. Location doesn’t seem to play as integral a role as in something like Shadow Cities or Please Stay Calm, but it could play a more significant role in the final shipping product. The concept of home bases that you can stock with things collected on your run is a good idea for extending the app’s appeal beyond just an exercise session, too.
Having already blown away its funding goal of $12,500 with a week left to go, Zombies, Run! has expanded planned availability to Android (s goog) for later in 2012, and says it will go after top-tier voice talent for in-game mission recordings. Can’t wait to check this one out when it arrives next February, but for now the video trailer will have to do: