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Zombies, Run! is a 2012 iOS (soon to come to Android) app that falls somewhere between a game, a fitness app, and a Radio Drama. It also has zombies.
The game is set around Abel Township, a small settlement that's sprung up around an old farmhouse. A few motley survivors have banded together, but the secret to the town's success are the runners; the people whose job it is to head out into the wilderness and track down supplies, leads, and at least sometimes just draw the zombies' attention away from the town. You are Runner 5. (Though you're not the first Runner 5.) You were going to be dropping government supplies to the town, but when your helicopter was shot down by a rocket launcher, you found yourself stranded. And if running's all you can do, then you might as well do it. A lot.
But that rocket launcher... who had a rocket launcher in the area? And why would they shoot down a supply chopper? Also curious: Why were you notably understocked, carrying only half the supplies you were meant to? And what is Project Greenshoot?
The actual gameplay is actually fairly minimal; as you run, a radio play will begin sounding in your ears, interspersed with music from your playlists. This radio play tells the story of the town and draws you into the twists and mysteries of the setting. However, as you run you'll also pick up supplies that can be used to build up the township, developing key locations such as a hospital and radio tower. Doing this in turn unlocks more missions. At other times, the game throws zombie hordes at you, and you'll need to speed up 20% in order to evade them, or drop key supplies to distract the zombies and get away.
In addition to genuinely being a fun and entertaining motivational tool for exercise, the game has the distinction of being an early success story in using crowd-funding to create a video game. The game was floated on Kickstarter and raised $72,627. At the time, this was considered quite remarkable.
- After the End
- Awesome Yet Practical: The game itself. It's good entertainment and helps you get in shape. Think about it - you run and collect items, the items allow you to level up parts of the settlement, and unlock more missions, allowing you to play through more of the story, and what a story it is! Fine motivation if it ever was needed!
- Abandoned Hospital: Becomes a key location.
- AFGNCAAP: Runner 5.
- Alternate Reality Game: Has elements of this. Certain in-game items reveal real-world email adresses, phone numbers and Twitter accounts that can be contacted for further backstory.
- Arc Words: Almost any permutation of "Just keep running", "Run!" or "Start running!"
- As You Know: Janine is a big fan of this phrase. Sam lampshades this at one point.
- Badass Bookworm: Runner 10, Chris McShell. Better zombie killing through statistical analysis!
- Big Heroic Run: In almost every single damn mission. The game is built around it.
- Bland-Name Product: Demons & Darkness.
- Breather Episode: Mission 14, "Virtuous Circle", comes right after one of the most emotionally gruelling sequences of the story, and instead concerns itself with lighthearted attempts to pick up games from a nearby toy shop while letting two of the main characters bond.
- The post-mission radio mode can be seen as a recurring example of this.
- Crazy Survivalist: Discussed. Janine De Luca is suggested as being one, but she's staggeringly level-headed, keen to share her resources within reason, and hopes to save people. Still, you have to wonder: Why does her farmhouse have a massive concrete bunker?
- Creator Cameo: A variation - one possible item to come across is an iPhone with a "Chipotle Labs App" installed on it. Chipotle Labs, of course, are one of the developers behind the game.
- Driving Question: Who shot down your helicopter, and why? And what caused the outbreak, and who's trying to hide it?
- Government Conspiracy: There are a lot of signs that the government is not your friend in this universe.
- I Call Her "Vera": Eugene named his trusty zombie-bashing cricket bat "W.G.".
- Immortality Seeker: One interpretation of what started the plague.
- Possibly. The ending of Mission 22 (along with various supplementary material) seems to imply that the zombie apocalypse stemmed from an attempt at mind control/turning humans into easily-controlled soldiers.
- In Medias Res
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: And the more you run, the more of the puzzle you collect.
- Leet Speak: ROFFLENET.
- Mission Control: Sam, of course.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Type P. Early missions in the first series revolve around trying to find a vaccine.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Sam Yao's geeky little interests come up enough that it's clear he's deliberately trying to project a geeky image. Dr. Maxine Myers, on the other hand, isn't proud to be a geek, but she's very matter of fact about it if it comes up. Which surprises the hell out of Sam.
- Shout-Out: Frequent. One example includes Sam Yao comparing another runner to Ace Rimmer.
- Synthetic Voice Actor: Your other Voice with an Internet Connection which points out what items you just collected, if any zombie hordes are coming, or when the mission is over.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Despite there being no real internet, Sam Yao fills the role nicely, using 'scanners' and security cameras to give you information on how many zombies are around you and where they are.
- The Radio Abel hosts, Jack & Eugine, receive e-mails from members of the Township via "ROFFLENET".
- You Are Number Six
- Zombie Apocalypse