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Mobile Apps

Zombies, Run! app now free to play

The popular horror-themed run tracker has adopted a freemium model.

Six to Start

Running for the heck of it can get pretty boring. Running to escape a roving horde of zombies? That sounds a little more fun. Maybe even a lot more.

For the past couple years, Zombies, Run! has delivered on that idea by mixing a RunKeeper-style exercise tracker with a "Walking Dead"-style mission-driven story. It originally sold for $7.99, but as of this week, Zombies, Run [Android|iOS] is free.

For those unfamiliar with it, I'll share my recap from the version that was released as Zombies, Run 2 back in 2013: "Each mission has a basic goal (fetch supplies, rescue other humans, carry news to another base) directed by radio operators, with occasional shout-outs from other runners. It's all very virtual; there's nothing tied to your exact location or speed or anything like that. Basically, it's theater for your ears."

The just-released version 4.0 adds a wealth of new features, starting with Season 4 and 40 new missions. It also improves support for Google Play Music, Pandora and Spotify; lets you adjust the frequency of story-clip occurrences and the difficulty of zombie "chases"; and provides the option to "binge-run" by playing multiple missions in a row.

But the most notable change in version 4.0 is the switch to a fully freemium mode: The first four story missions are included, along with one new mission per week. If you want more content, a Pro subscription ($2.99 per month or $19.99 annually) unlocks all 200 missions, as well as Interval Training and Airdrop Mode.

Already own Zombies, Run? You'll get full and unlimited access to Seasons 1-3, along with all other paid add-ons. You can also play one Season 4 mission per week for free, or unlock all Season 4 missions by upgrading to a special Pro membership ($7.99 per year).

If you read the aforementioned recap, you'll see that as much as I loved the idea of Zombies, Run, I wasn't a huge fan of the execution. But based on most of the reader comments and the app's very high average rating (for the previous versions, anyway) in the App Store, I'm very much in the minority.

The good news is, now you can see for yourself if evading virtual zombies is just the motivation you need to lace up your shoes -- and sprint for the finish.