In a rather interesting turn of events, Zombie Runaway places you in the shambling shoes of a lone Zombie that is on the run from a horde of angry humans. Apparently, the zombie is the last remaining one on Earth and it is your job to keep him undead for as long as possible. The zombie is not the brightest creature, however, and is sprinting at full speed through a graveyard, so instead of having to worry about the humans in hot pursuit it is actually the gravestones that pose the biggest threat.
There is already a ton of “runner” games on the Android, but zombies are very much in favour at the moment, so here we have one more featuring a surprisingly nimble specimen. In this game, you only have to worry about moving left, right or jumping. There are no turns to navigate or power-ups to activate like in other titles. The graveyard through which the zombie is sprinting is only three lanes wide, but is littered with tombstones that can bring your mad dash to a rather abrupt halt.
While your zombie starts out at a leisurely jog, things quickly speed up giving you less time to react to the upcoming hazards. Scattered throughout the graveyard is also coins, which can be collected to boost your score. However, more important are the purple power-ups which, when collected, gives you a huge speed boost in the form of an inflatable horse, bicycle or jetpack. These will propel your zombie forward at a greater speed, but more importantly make him indestructible so that you can smash through all the tombstones without having to worry about damage. You start out with only three hearts but can pick up more along the way. Smacking into a tombstone will cost you one heart, but eventually you will encounter spiked stones, which causes instant death if you run into them. This game is free to play, but features ads at the top of the screen and Com2uS tries their best to entice you to open these by offering extra hearts for the act. I did not have any problems with the ads apart from the fact that they sometimes cause slowdown as new ones are loaded which can make the gameplay trickier.
Visually the game looks pretty good and features some colourful 3D graphics. The zombie you control is rather pudgy but he leaps around like a ballerina with some very humorous animations. Your viewpoint is behind the zombie as it is running into the screen, which makes it easy to see upcoming hazards. I like the way that achievements are handled in this game as each one unlocks a new item for the zombie. These can be anything from a dinosaur head to a bucket for your zombie to wear. These items are not just there for cosmetic changes either as each one bestows some type of bonus during the game. This provides some extra motivation for playing the game and unlocking all the items. You can also post your highscores to Facebook to show your friends how much than them you are at the game.
You control your zombie via the touch screen and I found this method to be very responsive. The audio is rather repetitive and your enjoyment will depend on how much you like to hear fart sounds during a song. The game only has two modes of play with the first requiring you to see how far you can get without killing your poor zombie. Besides ordinary graves and spiked walls, you will also encounter larger graves that cannot be jumped over and graves that span all three lanes. Get far enough and you will even have to deal with a huge spiked ball coming at you from behind. Blitz Mode, on the other hand, gives you one minute to reach a high score. Once again, you can get a few more seconds by opening an ad at the top of the screen. In this mode, you can freeze the clock by collecting the purple power-up and smashing tombstones. It is ideal for when you only have a minute or two to play but want to try to set a new record.
Zombie Runaway is a lot of fun to play and certainly addictive, but longevity might become an issue. The small touches like the game over screen showing you the name on the grave that caused you to lose is quite cool but the novelty soon wears off. The same goes for the visual changes offered by the unlockable items. The fact that the game takes so long to load up is a bit annoying, but to be fair this could depend on what device it is being played on. The fact that it is free should make it worth checking out at the very least.
*Review originally published in 2011.