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Product Review: Zombies, Run app

Whoops, it appears I have been distracted by life and whatnots and haven’t updated in quite a while.  But I do have something awfully neat to share for those who enjoy running, or even those who hate running but still push themselves to at least WALK.

ZR1I recently discovered Zombies, Run! (technically Zombies, Run! 2) which is a fitness app that works on both iPhones and Androids.  It’s been around for a while, but it costs money to download and I am so cheap when it comes to buying apps.  After reading a lot of reviews, I decided to give it a shot.

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Just one of the items you can bring back to Abel Township.

The basic idea is that you download these “seasons”.  Season One includes 23 “missions”, the first of which establishes the world you are entering.  There has been a zombie outbreak, and you are on your way to a fortified town called Abel Township.  You are labeled “Runner 5”, and become an important person to the town.  Characters speak to you through your earpieces, telling you what they see, or explaining what they need you to do.  Along the way, you may “pick up” items that will help you.  Each mission unveils more of the overall storyline, introduces more characters, or adds to the scenery.

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Yep, RUN FASTER!

All the while you are listening to this, the app is tracking your time, pace, and even mapping the route you are taking (if you are an outdoor walker/runner, make sure to have your GPS on, or you can use the Accelerometer to count your steps if you use a treadmill).  The app can be set to 30 or 60 minute sessions, and you can have it play songs from a specified playlist to keep you entertained between the story.  Additionally, if you download their Radio Mode, you can continue running for a while and listen to two guys chattering away in between songs.  If you’re an outdoor person and have the GPS on, you can even elect to have zombies randomly chase you…  if this happens, you must increase your pace (kick it into high gear!) in order to outrun them.  It’s a fun option that keeps you on your toes, makes you sprint for a little bit, and adds a sense of panic.

For Season 1, Mission 1 (S1-M1), I did not have music playing in between the storyline, which was fine.  I really wanted to see how the app worked without much distraction.  I went for a fast walk in my neighborhood, but kept having trouble outrunning the zombies when chased.  Part of it was that I hadn’t figured out how the program calculated your pace increase, and part of it was because my neighborhood is very hilly and I was ready to fall over and die if I had to sprint up a steep hill.  Since then, I have figured out what to do, but have mostly stayed inside and ran on my treadmill which doesn’t offer the zombie chase option.

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I know what I am going to be for Halloween this year!

I am now about halfway through Season One and can say that I would pay double…TRIPLE what I paid for this app without hesitation.  In 11 days, I have increased my runs from a half hour to a full hour, and improved my pace by over 2 minutes per mile!  I am so confident in my stamina that I have taken the leap to sign up for my first 5K, taking place in just about 2 weeks!

And the story…  it’s hard not to get sucked in.  Even on the treadmill, I may glance to the side before I can catch myself when a character warns me of zombies coming at me.  And I’m not ashamed to admit I have emotionally reacted to some of the story, particularly S1-M9 and S1-M11.  Every day, I wake up sore and tired, but I still get on the treadmill because I want to hear more of the story.

So if you’re in the market for something to keep you entertained while you walk, jog or run, I highly recommend checking out this app.  🙂

Movie Review: Warm Bodies

I usually go for blockbusters if I am going to see something in the theater.  Let’s face it, going to the movies is expensive.  I usually go for the sure thing, something I am certain will entertain me.

But then I saw the trailer for Warm Bodies and I just couldn’t help myself.  My daughter and I went to see it opening weekend, and we both LOVED IT.

Warm Bodies is Romeo & Juliet of the zombie world.  So much so, that characters were created and named based off of Shakespeare’s play.

R (“Romeo”, Nicholas Hoult) is a very slacker zombie who can barely form a single word, but has an extensive internal dialogue.  He’s extremely self-aware, feels guilt and sadness, and clings to what he imagines his “alive” life was probably like.  He has an affection for music on vinyl, collects memorabilia, and tries desperately to be smooth in front of girls.  He even has a friend, M (“Mercutio”, Rob Corddry) he often exchanges moans and grunts with.  When he meets Julie (“Juliet”, Teresa Palmer), there is an obvious shift in his world.  Rather than wanting to eat her brain, he has the unusual urge to save and protect her.  Julie is terrified and confused by this turn of events, but by the time she is able to return to the area where unaffected humans are (and her friend Nora, “Juliet’s ‘Nurse’, Analeigh Tipton), she finds she has grown fond of R.

WBshotThe rules in this zombie apocalypse universe are slightly different than previous versions, but are still close enough to take the leap and be entertained.  This is not a heavy, dark movie, despite the theme, but rather a comedic story of hopeful redemption and love.  I found a few weak points in the film, and sadly John Malkovich was one of them.  His part was cliche and rather dull for an actor of his caliber.  But overall the movie was entertaining and worthy of at least a couple of more viewings.

Anyone else get a chance to see it yet?

Where would YOU be for the zombie apocalypse?

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