“Zombies, Run!” running made fun with this Android app with positive health promotion implications

Purpose of the Review

This app review will strive to see how useful “Zombies, Run!” can be to induce working out routines on patients.

Introduction

Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since the year 1980. Back in 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults were overweight. Of these, over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese. Almost 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. The sad thing is that obesity is a preventable condition which can be helped with proper care.

Keeping the aforementioned issues in mind, we can safely say that finding ways to stimulate our patients to work out can be beneficial to our role as healthcare providers.

“Zombies, Run!” is a gamified jogging app that let’s us slip into the skin of a post-apocalyptic runner who needs to keep his legs moving if he wishes not to be eaten by the walking dead.

User Interface

The idea behind this app is that each jogging session is presented as a survival mission of sorts where story segments are interwoven with music from the phone’s library until the mission is over.

While running, the app will alert us through a computerized voice that we have picked up some items along the way: USB Keys, bottles of water, batteries, clothes, etc. These items can be used to build a bigger base and unlock new missions.

As we launch the app for the first time we encounter a brief tutorial explaining how to run this app. The app’s main screen is an image of a secure door and five tabs on the top side of the screen. These tabs hold icons for the Home, Missions, Supplies, Codex and Settings screens.

On the Missions tab, a list of the missions appears and we can choose which story segment we want to “play” this time. Missions are varied, ones would require us to keep a steady pace while others will have us rushing all the time.

The Supplies screen is where we see a visual of our base and we can drag and drop the items we found to expand and improve it. The bigger our base the better. Information about the items picked up during our run is available on the Codex tab. Reading these descriptions can help us  decide where to apply  them  to help build up our base.

We can set up the distance units and log into our ZombieLink account from the Settings tab. This ZombieLink is a web based network where runners can compare their bases and achievements.

Price

  • $7.99

Likes

  • Really fun to use
  • Voice acting is great
  • Story is enticing

Dislikes

  • User interface needs to be more friendly
  • Tutorial is quite short and doesn’t really explain things
  • Needs more medical information about the purposes of each run

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  •  Residents, nurse practitioners, medical/nursing students, MD/DOs,

Conclusions

  • “Zombies, Run!” is a great app which can provide a whole extra level to running and can making working out more fun. The user interface could use more work as there’s virtually no information on the “meta” side of the app. Also, zombies are not everyone’s cup of tea. All in all, it’s a good app and for the right patient it can sure make a difference.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Yes

Google Play Link

Rating:
Overall: 4/5 Stars
User Interface: 3/5 stars. The UI is easy enough to use.
Multimedia Coverage: 5/5. Voices are amazing and the narrative is great.
Price: 3/5 Stars. For almost 10 dollars one expects not to have to read a user manual to figure out how to use it.
Real World Applicability: 4/5 Stars. I can see physicians recommending the use of this app to some patients and encourage them to work out.

Author:

Guido Giunti, MD

Healthcare IT Research Associate at the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires on the subject of gamification and games in healthcare. He teaches Internal Medicine and Physical Examination at the University of Buenos Aires.

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3 Responses to “Zombies, Run!” running made fun with this Android app with positive health promotion implications

  1. Davo January 22, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Thanks for the review. You might want to mention that this app is also available on iOS (iPhone), and has actually been out on iOS for quite a while. Personally I found it to be a little kitsch and some of the voice acting is a little overdone, but certainly while away the time if you’re not the jogging type but want to get fit.

    • Guido Giunti January 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      Indeed, I’ll see if we can edit the article to add the iOS version. Thanks!

  2. JPO January 22, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    This fantastic app is also available for iPhone.

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