VR Fitness Games 2

09 Jun 2020

In these housebound times, I'm leaning on my VR system much more than usual as a way to stay active.

I wear a heart-rate monitor while playing, which has revealed that a lot of things that feel like exercise really don't count.

From what I can tell, even moderate leg movements will really drive your heart rate up. Arm movements alone appear to do basically nothing unless they are at sustained maximum intensity, like punching as fast as you can.

I've looked at using weighted controllers as a way to increase the intensity, but apparently that's a good way to hurt yourself.

Beat Saber

I played this in a VR arcade and it caused me to buy my own VR rig. A classic must-have, even with the irritation of constant forced updates and DLC. The huge modding scene gives it lots of replayability.

Fitness-wise, it's best as a warmup. Incredibly intense songs, on Expert or Expert+ level, deliberately played with more movement than necessary (huge swings, unnecessary jumps), will just about get you into the zone.

Box VR

I loved the concept of this; it's designed as a fitness app, not a game.

Unfortunately, all the levels I tried were way too easy; comparable to Beat Saber on "easy" mode, with a punch every couple of seconds. Refunded, with regret.

Until You Fall

This game is gorgeous and unusual - swordfighting combat that actually works in VR. I'm really enjoying it. But it's barely raising my heart rate at all.

Racket NX

Maybe OK as a very light warmup, but barely moves my heart rate. Still fun.

Holopoint

I have to move the couch for this one. You need to fully commit to the gameplay, sidestepping, ducking and dodging constantly. If you play as a "static turret" with slight head movements, nothing much will happen.

But with full commitment, this is the most physically intense game I've ever played. Even a two-minute time-trial puts me into the red zone. It's possibly even too intense, in that I can't play for more than a few minutes at a time.

Space Pirate Trainer

Perhaps with similar commitment to Holopoint it could be made to work, but I didn't find I got much of a workout from this. It's still really fun.

Audioshield and Holodance

I tried these, but found that Beat Saber was superior in every way.

Knockout League

This is my exercise staple. It is stylised rather than "realistic" boxing, and very good fun once you get used to the mechanics. Because it forces "flurries" of punches, it's very intense exercise, and the block/dodge sequences provide enough recovery that I can play for 30-60 minute sessions.

The "reflex training" mode alone is one of the best VR games I've played.

Adonis Creed

Another boxing game, but with a more "realistic" view. Perhaps less intense than Knockout League because there's no cause to throw 50 punches in 20 seconds at any point - and in fact the game's Stamina mechanic penalises you for doing so - but still a good workout.