Zombie Parkour Runner exceeds expectations in every way imaginable
When the title Zombie Parkour Runner for the iPhone came across the desk, the look given was questioning. Considering parkour, or free running, is far from easy, the concept of the undead doing seemed a bit odd. When it was learned that it was an automatically side scrolling platformer that just had zombies in it, the expectations were lowered further. However, Zombie Parkour Runner has proven to be one of the most fun iOS platforming games on the market, using simple taps and timing to do incredibly awesome things.
Kara is a free running girl who has had all of her belongings stolen by thieving zombies. In her quest to get it all back, she takes to the rooftops to collect all of her stuff that has been dropped by the undead culprits. Along the way, she ends up having to deal with everything from pitfalls and barbed wire to 50-foot-tall, nerd zombies. A side-scrolling platforming game, its basic mechanics work similarly to popular titles such as Monster Dash and Chop Chop Runner. That said, these basics are all that the developer uses.
In Zombie Parkour Runner, players must leap from rooftop to rooftop at a fairly high rate of speed. Unlike its inspirations, however, the levels are not procedurally generated and do not go on forever. It’s not about getting as far as possible. There are 24 levels, and players must overcome obstacles in order to finish. Bearing that in mind, it is these obstacles that make the application what it is.
In order to jump, players merely tap their screen. In order to jump farther, they hold the tap. Nevertheless, that single control mechanism plays into all the free running aspects of Zombie Parkour as well. The game fills its levels with many of the commonplace parkour challenges such as vaults, wall runs, and a few new and fancy tricks. With each obstacle, players must time the tap at a certain point to automatically perform a trick over it. Some, like vaulting over a crate, just require a single tap, while others, like a wall run, require a tap to initiate and a hold to stay on the wall (letting go causes Kara to run down the wall until she falls).
This applies to the zombies that litter the levels as well. These enemies move at varying speed, but are not much different than any other obstacle. Simply time a tap, and Kara will perform a trick over them and “defeat” them. The difference is that missing an object trick merely slows the player down. Missing a zombie trick, and touching it, results in a game over.
All of this works beautifully fluid as well. When levels become more advanced, players will hit several sequences of tricks, such as two vaults into a zombie, followed by a wall run, landing on a zip line, then moving into a slide. Because of these sequences, the visual is tremendously gratifying, and for each three tricks performed in a row, Kara cheers and runs faster. Moreover, the more tricks hit in a row, and the more zombies defeated, the higher one’s score at the end (there are also coins to collect). The higher the score, the more stars (up to three) the player earns as well.
As for any additional elements of merit, many of the levels have alternate paths that the player can take. They are not limited to one choice. Some are easier, some are not, but hidden amongst one of them are various items from Kara’s ransacked apartment, and collecting them will slowly fill it back up (there is a visual of it that acts sort of like a trophy room). Beyond this, the game comes with anime-style graphics and a good bit of comedy in its character design and periodic cut scenes. As an example, if players fail, their character gets dragged off by a zombie to get married in Las Vegas.
All in all, there is literally nothing to complain about with Zombie Parkour Runner. The gameplay is tremendously gratifying despite its general control simplicity, and the overall presentation and animations are phenomenal. A game that seems like it will initially be like any other automatic side-scroller, Zombie Parkour Runner is one heck of a pleasant surprise. The only negative — the only one — is that it is really short. That said, it ends with a “to be continued,” so expect more play in the future.
Zombie Parkour Runner is not just a recommended game, it’s a must have.