Season 2 of the wildly popular running app Zombies, Run! may have been officially released in April, but the apocalyptic game’s recent update has been what users have been waiting for (even if they didn’t know it). Last week brought a massive overhaul of the old interface, revamping the base upgrade system and also incorporating several new features. Conditions have never been better to train for a zombie apocalypse, and Zombies, Run! 2’s story and new features will keep you motivated to stay active, whether or not you end up needing these skills to outsmart a pack of zoms. But I’m just going to say right now, if you’ve never exercised with this app, I’ve got a better chance of outrunning hordes of shambling undead and surviving an apocalyptic pandemic than you do. Also, my workouts are a lot more fun. Just saying.
The most noticeable difference is Abel Township itself, and the new customizability of one’s base. Users now have the ability to manually place buildings, upgrade said buildings, and even expand the actual area of the township itself. This is done by paying a certain amount of supplies (collected on runs), as well as new “materials,” which are acquired much less frequently. The only complaint I have with this is that, while most of my data did transfer over and I was reimbursed with all the supplies I had collected up to that point, the buildings on my base returned to level 1. I understand that the change was necessary, and since I retained all of my collected supplies it is a nonissue, but it still makes me sad to see my hard-earned building levels drop back to square one. The switch is worth it for the new features though, and in the long run it is for the best. Also, syncing with ZombieLink allows you to see your old base online.
But with more options comes more responsibility, and runners now need to watch out for zombie attacks during the night that weaken the integrity of their bases’ defenses. Long story short, you’re going to have to keep running frequently in order to collect supplies to repair and build up your base. Clever, that. And it works, too. But since when is being encouraged to exercise a bad thing? The player also receives gifts from outside of the township while not running, making the burden of protecting a refugee camp (and running every day) that much easier to bear.
In addition to the new 60+ missions in story mode, our favorite radio hosts Jack and Eugene are back with all of their antics and more in a brand new season of radio broadcasts. There are some new voices as well, and even special broadcasts on certain days of the year. Another new feature in season 2 of Radio Mode are situational broadcasts that change depending on the overall condition of your base and the happiness of its refugees. And in the case that you do run out of broadcasts, you can always start over to see if anything’s changed. But with all of the new unlockable content in both story and radio modes, you can rest assured that you will be kept busy for quite some time.
There are also functional updates that, for those familiar with the first season of the app, make the experience a whole lot smoother. Menus have been streamlined, and missions are now accessible from the home screen. For me, one of the more significant changes to the game’s mechanics is the ability to input distance following a mission, which is particularly nice if running indoors on a treadmill, since the pedometer is not always entirely accurate. This way you can still track your stats and improvement over time without the hassle of accounting for inaccuracy. Other changes are minor, but welcomed, such as the option of multiple users, easily accessible statistics, and tutorials. I only wish the creators would make the app more Spotify-friendly, but you can’t have everything during a zombie invasion, I guess. Still, this is probably the most significant update the app has seen since its initial February 2012 release, and it does not disappoint.
If you have yet to play Zombies, Run!, there has never been a better time to start. Not a regular runner? Not to worry; settings and duration of workouts are customizable, and there’s even a 5K training app that can be downloaded separately. The full game can be purchased for iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, or Windows Phone for $3.99, and it’s worth every penny. Now get out there and outrun some zoms!