Put on your headphones and step into a fairy tale with Run!Alice [Review]

“Are you a runner?” If you asked me that a few months ago, I probably would have told you that running seems like punishment, and I only run if being chased. And while there are apps that help with that (Zombies, Run! in particular), I needed something a little less stressful to get my feet moving.

January in Chicago isn’t the best time to start running outdoors, but with Run!Alice, I could put in my earbuds and be transported to a mysterious and magical place (read: it took my mind off of the below-freezing temps). Unlike other Couch to 5K apps, Run!Alice uses fantasy and gamification to get you moving.

Run!Alice map

The premise is that one night, Princess Alice is playing in the garden of her castle when a cyclone brings her to strange new valley and robs her of all of her jewels (don’t worry about the logic). You’ll then spend nine weeks exploring new worlds, escaping evil monsters, and unlocking a lot of achievements. Oh, and you’ll get Alice’s jewels back — assuming you’re running three days a week.

In addition to the story, which unfolds as you run, the app also provides you with tips about how you’re running and breathing. That’s certainly a welcomed feature for beginners. Granted, this app isn’t for everyone — intermediate and advanced runners might prefer their own tunes to the mystical melodies of these magical places. And not everyone will care about Alice and her jewels.

Run!Alice complete

But if you’re a beginner looking for an app that’ll make running fun (or more tolerable), give Run!Alice a try. My only complaint about the app is that it could potentially hurt your battery life. It’s not a dramatic drop, especially since you’re only walking/running for about 30 minutes. But this might be a concern for people who let their phone dip below a 40 percent charge.

[iTunes]

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