An app funded by the Department of Health has been launched that encourages people to walk themselves fit by fleeing a fictional bomb attack.

The app, called The Walk, begins with an attack on Inverness Rail Station, after which users are given a package that could save the world. However, to stay alive they need to walk the length of the UK.

The aim is to help players incorporate more walking into their everyday lives by using gaming techniques to create a journey that takes around three months to complete.

It has been developed by game developer ‘Six to Start’ together with the DH as part of the Technology Strategy Board’s Small Business Research Initiative.

Adrian Hon, chief executive of Six to Start described The Walk as a unique app that provides motivation for players to “literally go that extra mile.”

As the player walks during the day, they’ll progress through the games’ maps, unlocking immersive audio story clips and mysterious clues.

The NHS funding has been used in part to develop a special energy efficient background motion tracking system to monitor players’ daily walking.

Naomi Alderman, lead writer and co-creator of the app, said it adapts to the player’s fitness levels. “I’m particularly proud of the immersive world we’ve created in The Walk,” she said.

“[There are] engaging characters and a gripping story, but also a host of maps, newspaper cuttings, audio artefacts and even a comic strip to help you work out who did plant that bomb in Inverness station, and why. The Walk is designed to be addictive, in the best possible way.”

Six to Start also created ‘Zombies, Run!’ which features in EHI’s feature, ‘Have yourself an appy little Christmas time’, published today in Insight.