Gear Up: Dungeon Runner

Yesterday, while lamenting how much I was sweating, I made reference to adding some aerobic exercise to my workouts. Because I’m a huge nerd, that aerobic exercise takes the form of an app called Dungeon Runner. It’s a video game, with graphics reminiscent of old 8 and 16-bit RPGs (Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda and similar). To play, you have to exercise.


Well, you have to put your iPhone (it’s only available on iOS devices right now) on a level surface with the forward camera facing you. The app uses that camera to watch your motions as the game plays, and successful repetitions let you attack an opponent, or push a block, or jump over a hole. You don’t get to pick the exercise you perform, though – as you approach an encounger, the app tells you which one you are going to do. So far, the exercises consist of:

  • Punches
  • Squats
  • Side-to-side shuffles
  • Power squats
  • Burpees
  • Ski jumps

I’m not honestly sure what the difference between a squat and a power squat is, and my internet searches for “power squat” turned up nothing but weightlifting results. Fortunatly, the app seems to accept “squat” when it declares “power squat”. And a “ski jump” turns out to be crouching like you’re skiing, leaping to the left, and then leaping to the right.

So far, and I’ve only gone as far as level three, the app only requires 3-5 of a particular exercise to overcome an encounter. However, each level lasts about five minutes, so it ends up making you do multiple reps of each exercise. At no point does it tell you what any of the exercise are, though. If you don’t know what a “power squat” or a “burpee” is, you either have to stop and go look it up or fake it and see if the app will accept it. So far, the “faking it” option has worked for me.

Does it work? Well, it sure seems to. It’s about five minutes a level of vigorous punching, squatting, and jumping, so I’ve averaged about 10 minutes a day using this. As a supplement to my usual routine, it’s fine. I wouldn’t recommend it as your sole source of exercise, however, as the available exercises (on the free version, at least) are fairly limited. But it does make the exercises fun, which helps quite a bit.

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