Sunday, 9 February 2014

App Review: The Walk


Look, you know as well as I do that it's difficult to get the motivation to go and exercise. Things get in the way: work, seeing friends, binge-watching Parks and Rec, and it's so easy just to put it off.

But developer Six to Start could have the answer in The Walk.

The developer has seen success in the past couple of years with Zombies Run, an app that works as an interactive audiobook while you're out running. You select your story mission or challenge, slip in the headphones and take in the story as you run. The more exercise you do, the more story unfolds and the more you can improve the makeshift town you live in.

Personally, I love Zombies Run but I also hate running, which is why I'm glad the developer teamed up with the UK Department of Health to create an experience not dissimilar from Zombies Run, but at a slower pace.

The Walk is a techno-thriller with the story centring around a terrorist attack on Inverness train station in Scotland. An EMP goes off cutting off all electricity. You're given a mysterious package that could save the world from the terror organisation called The Burn, but without electricity you're forced to walk the length of the UK to deliver the package.

Very soon you're put in contact with Charlie, your handler in Geneva, whose job it is to get you from point A to B alive. You meet up with a reporter and another agent and are soon traversing the roads and pathways of the UK, evading the military and any nasty people on the way.

As it stands, I'm only a few chapters in, but every time I use The Walk (which is every day) I want to walk that bit further to hear more story.

The app tracks the number of steps you do in a day and allows you to compare your progress over the past seven days. The top down map display shows your path, which can often be changed depending on whether you want a longer route (which comes with a bonus reward), and little boxes that can be tapped to find hidden features such as newspaper clippings, audio and even a comic.

At the time of writing, the developer has just updated the app so that each audio checkpoint plays automatically, which is leagues better than how it was before when it forced you to keep checking the screen to see whether you had passed a checkpoint yet so you could hear the next part of the story. Now all you have to worry about is waking.

There are also challenges that allow you to see how many objects you can find in a timed walk, which is a nice diversion, but as the story has 800 minutes of audio covering 65 episodes you probably won't be needing to use that for a while. Plus, that's only half of the game, with the second half being released this month.

Verdict

The Walk is a fantastic little ARG that can be used on a daily basis. The plot is good enough that it will keep you coming back for more and the new updates have really increased the effectiveness of the game. While fitness nuts might not get much out of it (which is where Zombies Run comes in) I'd recommend anyone who just needs to get off the couch more to pick it up.

Happy walking!

The Walk is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.