Review: Live Your Robot Apocalypse Fantasies While Getting in Shape With Battlesuit Runner App
Run with me if you want to live.
I’m pretty unmotivated when it comes to exercise, but I would like to be ready for an alien invasion or the rise of the machines. That’s why I love the Battlesuit Runner app. It simulates a sci-fi robot/alien attack story to gamify your workout. It’s more fun to run when you think you’re going to get torn apart by robots if you don’t.
Battlesuit Runner certainly isn’t the first app of its kind, but it’s a damn fine execution of the gamified running app genre. I found myself getting more into the narrative of it than I thought I would on my literal test run. Admittedly I didn’t get very far into the story yet, and I’m not entirely sure what’s happening in the narrative. What I do know is that I am “Delta Suit” and that if I don’t keep running the robot/alien Xenopod things will win, and I can’t let that happen.
The specifics aren’t really what’s important here, which makes the first training mission you go on seem like a pretty big info-dump of exposition. I started the first mission last night and got about a mile in before the characters in the game stopped talking and my playlist started. The idea that you have to run from alien robots, or in some cases run at them to attack is simple and appealing enough that I don’t think the story needs to be as fleshed out as it is, but maybe that’s just me.
The story integrates into the playlist of your choosing. It works really well if you listen to Anamanaguchi while running. I’m assuming this is pretty standard in other running apps, and if it’s not, then it should be. There is also some in-game music that plays in the background while characters talk to each other or you. I’d prefer it just have voices play over my music, but besides the first briefing the cut-ins are usually short enough to not be too distracting, and if you get into the story it’s a little exciting every time your music cuts out and you know something is about to happen.
You control the events in the game with your speed. Speeding up, slowing down, or maintaining your pace can have different outcomes, and between workouts/missions you can actually upgrade your character to better deal with thing like enemy attacks. To unleash a power-up at certain parts of the run you’re instructed to sprint, and you can adjust the sensitivity based on what percentage speed increase you need to unlock it. The default is 30% and I found that to be a reasonable goal to achieve.
I currently use a running app that’s not story-based, but cuts into your music to tell you to speed up, slow down, or when to stop based on pre-programmed workout routines. I haven’t used Battlesuit Runner long enough yet to notice if the attacks follow a similar pattern, but I imagine they’re on some kind of structured plan.
If you hate running like I do, but still want to be ready for a robot uprising, then Battlesuit Runner is a great app for getting off your duff and hitting the streets. After each run you get your distance and time, and you can post your progress to Facebook. If you’re a more serious runner, you might feel like you’re missing out on some of the metrics offered in other apps out there, but I think the target audience for this is going to be looking for something more casual.
Battlesuit Runner is probably the best option for geeky running motivation, at least until the actual robot uprising.
There are free and paid versions of the app in both iTunes and Google Play. Happy running, everyone.
(via Battlesuit Runner, image via Battlesuit Runner)