Would Apocalypse Survival Guide help keep you alive?
Are you prepared for the upcoming zombie apocalypse? Okay, so you believe in zombies, but are you prepared for the apocalypse in a more general sense? Let's presume for a moment that you don't have a massive stockpile of weapons, food, and water just in case society falls apart. When the neighbors start chewing on each other for nutrients, what is your game plan?
Apocalypse Survival Guide is an iOS that aims to aid you in your quest for making it through the bad times alive so you can start rebuilding society. Right out the gate, the app gives you two free scenarios, a zombie outbreak and the more likely global warming. There are more scenarios available as in-app purchases, but presumably the iTunes store won't be working when the crap hits the fan. If you think there's the potential for a volcano/UFO/meteor strike in the future, you can make those purchases now.
Once you pick your apocalypse situation, the app provides you with a set of reading material, checklists, GPS options, and a quiz to help see how survival-ready you are. The supplied reading materials are well done, taking a real world approach to some of the app's more ludicrous ideas. Rather than tell you about zombies in pop culture, the reading focuses on whether or not a zombie outbreak could actually happen, including listing actual diseases that might bring about similar effects. The readings aren't particularly long, but by keeping the focus on real world possibilities there's some interesting meat to be found.
The tips for each of the two provided scenarios are hit and miss. Guess what? You'll need a weapon if there are flesh eating monsters outside. Also, did you know food spoils? These are just some of the killer hits you'll be given by the app, or by watching a single episode of the Walking Dead ... or any zombie movie ever made.
Next up is the "Check Your Surroundings" portion of the app. Utilizing your GPS or Wi-Fi, the app tells you where the nearest sources of food, medicine, shelter, weapons, hardware, or gas are. It's selection success depends on what you're looking for. Once you have a route or list of addresses planned, the app allows you to print them all out via the "Look. Listen. Learn" page.
The map search results are mixed. I live in the middle of Atlanta, yet most of the returns when I searched for food were all the various Quick Trip's in the area. It doesn't show me any of the Walmarts or local grocery stores, but I'd be covered on Ding Dongs. When I search for where to find weapons, all of a sudden the app knows where every single Walmart in the Atlanta region is. The app also adds in Chuck's Firearms for a more authentic Southern experience.
Once you've checked your surroundings, it's time to build your survival kit. The zombie and global warming plans have many of the same basic suggested supplies, so one plan will largely cover the other. Once you've checked off the items on your list you should go ahead and use the included print feature because if society falls apart, your iPad battery isn't going to be useful for long.
It's a silly app that actually provides a few useful tips for surviving in hostile situations; maybe not a zombie outbreak, but a riot or weather disaster to be sure. There's just one major hitch that sort of ruins that app: the survival quiz.
At the top of the each situation screen is a stat that shows your survival percentage for the scenario in question. Underneath that is little box that says "Update Your Chances of Surviving _________." Here you'll find the survival quiz that allegedly wants to help you find your survival percentage, but the quiz is completely broken. Here's what you see when you try and answer a question in the drop down menus for each answer:
There's nothing worse than when you have to guess the surrounding population of your area only to discover all the suggestions are "?". This happens every time you click a question. Terrain? All question marks. Weight class? All question marks. Do you wear glasses? Ok, that's not a big issue, but it's still all question marks. This would just be an annoying quirk of the app if it allowed you to easily change your answer.
Apocalypse Survival Guide, however, knows the end of the world doesn't come with second chances, so you'll just have to guess the right answer. If you get it wrong, you have to then select the text of your wrong answer, manually delete it, and guess again. If this feature was around in an actual zombie apocalypse, I'd leave it to be eaten alive.
There are some really solid ideas in this app. The art design is beautiful and it's a fun way for parents to start talking about disaster planning with their kids. Sadly, solid ideas don't matter if they're wrapped up in a frustrating user interface. Currently the maps aren't useful enough to rely on when your lives are in danger, and even if they were, the broken quiz makes it impossible to tell how prepared you actually are for the end.
How can I survive without my survival rate percentage? I'd be a dead man feeling all cocky because I think I've got a 78% when I'm really working with a 45%. Apocalypse Survival Guide is worth a fun afternoon of time killing, but when it comes time to form your post-apocalypse posse, this is one hombre you should probably leave at home.
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