So you've heard about this running app that's incredibly expensive (about the price of a nice fast-food meal - I know, STOP THE PRESSES) but everyone is saying it's worth it, so you go ahead and fork out the change.
The title screen has this cleverly crafted warning sign that indicates that there are zombies present in the area, and anyone reading the sign should run. Or, to be precise:
So you lace up your shoes and grab a bottle of water and head either outside or to a treadmill (the app works either way). It also works just fine if your preferred method of exercise is bicycling instead of running; just make sure you set it to track you in GPS mode.
When the app opens, you'll see a bird's eye-view of Abel Township, the community you'll belong to as Runner 5 (more on that later).
To begin, simply slide the little silver runner icon from left to right. Doing so will reveal the level of detail and thought that's gone into this 'adventure game.' This will take you to the mission. When you start out, only the first mission is available to you. As you complete missions and distribute supplies to the different parts of the compound, the buildings will be improved, and new missions will be unlocked. You'll also attract more survivors, which you'll be able to keep track of on the 'population' sign.
Each mission begins with a story clip that introduces the situation. The app then pulls up your active playlist, and you get a song or two while you continue to exercise. In between songs (or, if you've got a track that's extra-long, it'll pause the track and then resume afterward) you'll get more clips that explain what's going on and updates you on your objective as a runner for the town.
If you're using external playlist support, listening to tracks from Pandora, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, some other service, or some other media player on your phone, the game has no way of knowing when a song will end, so it will simply pause the external player to interject story clips at specific intervals.
As your tracks play, occasionally they'll get quiet and you'll hear a computerized voice tell you that you've picked up certain useful items, such as medical supplies, food, bottled watter, weapons, or clothing.
If you are running with zombie chases enabled, you will also occasionally hear a warning that zombies are 100 meters behind you and closing fast—in which case, you'd best pick up the pace, runner! If they catch up to you, you'll drop some of the precious items you've picked up, and if they catch you too many times you'll fail the mission. The game display will show how far behind you they are (if you can safely look at it), and you'll get two more vocal notifications before evading them.
A typical story mission in standard mode lasts about half an hour, though this will vary somewhat depending on the length of the songs played during the mission. Some special missions, such as the Races, last longer. Other missions, such as Supply Runs or Radio Mode, will last for as long as you feel like running. You'll know when the story is over because you'll hear a beeping, and the same computerized voice you heard earlier will say "Mission complete." The game will then switch into Radio Mode and continue playing songs interspersed with story clips from Abel Township's resident music radio DJs for as long as you feel like running on.
You don't have to complete the mission, though. At any point, you can touch the 'stop mission' button to return to Abel Township ('base'). If you stop (or the app crashes) before completing the mission, next time you start you'll pick up with the next story segment. If you stop after completing it, the game will queue up the next story mission (or give you the option to download it).
You can also touch the 'pause mission' button if you need to stop for a short time (so you don't start being chased by zombies while you wait for the light to change, for example). This will also pause the playback of the story clips or music playing through the game, but will not stop music from external players (unless you paused in the middle of a story clip).
Note that pausing the mission will not stop a zombie chase that's already started!
Collecting supplies opens the second part of the game: resource management. In Zombies, Run! 1, supplies were color coded and could be distributed to various areas of Abel to increase their level. As of Zombies, Run! 2, the color of a supply no longer matters, and the system is more complicated, and base-building must be done in the app and not on the website.
Each mission you run in ZR2 and up gives you Supplies (satchel icon) and Materials (wrench icon). You get about 30 Supplies in one hour of running, and each mission you complete initially gives you 3 Materials. Re-running the mission gives you 2 materials for your second time, and 1 Material for your third. You will receive no materials for any plays beyond that, but you can still collect supplies. Materials are awarded for story missions only - Radio, Supply, and Airdrop missions will only give Supplies.
From the "Base" tab, you're able to see the current state of Abel, with several statistics about it:
- Population and Population Cap: The numbers by the person icon represent population and maximum population, where the number on the left is population, and the number on the right is your population cap.
- Defense: This is the shield icon and represents how well the base is able to defend itself from constant zombie attacks.
- Morale: The smiley face represents how happy Abel’s residents are.
- Supplies: How many Supplies you have.
- Materials: How many Materials you have.
Once on the Base tab, you can expand the borders of Abel, build new buildings, upgrade existing ones, and build add-ons for existing ones. You'll need both supplies and materials to build buildings on your base. Each building (or upgrade) will tell you how much it costs in the upper right corner, for example, 10 Supplies and 1 Material to build the Communications Shack. Certain buildings have requirements for building them, such as a specific Defense rating to meet, or a specific Population to have. Once placed, buildings can be demolished for 75% of all the materials spent on building, upgrading, and adding-on to them.
Upgrades increase the level of a building, and they also have requirements to meet before you can get them. Add-ons increase certain aspects of the building, like a boost to Morale or Defense. Certain add-ons can be unlocked by finishing missions.