Boxing is one of those sports that is great for cardio but intimidating for newbies. No one really wants to set themselves up for a potential punch to the nose, so VR is a great way to get the adrenaline from boxing without the potential for concussion.
The best kinds of games for fitness people are going to be the room-scale games, the ones that allow for movement within your space. They can be difficult to set up for apartment dwellers, but fitness centers may have greater access. Boxing games take full advantage of that room scale that VR can tap into, and here are some of the top titles available now.
The Thrill of the Fight
The Thrill of the Fight is a fantastic VR boxing title that really gets the blood pumping. More like real boxing, it will take a significant amount of blows to topple most opponents. Over time, the action does get a bit repetitive, but the benefits and physical fitness potential are real for this title. It also helps that the game does a good job rendering the force of your attacks. We reviewed Thrill of the Fight, complete with a breakdown of workout potential.
Virtual Boxing League
Virtual Boxing League allows you to dive right into a freeform boxing style game that isn’t as technically demanding as The Thrill of the Fight. It’s also not as rigid and arcade-like as Knockout League, landing squarely in the center of the virtual boxing spectrum.
There are five opponents and five “ladders” of difficulty to run through before you’ve bested all the game has to offer. Mini-games that simulate ping pong boxing, and a pseudo BoxVR experience, provide even more playability and challenges.
But the biggest draw of VBL is undoubtedly the promised multiplayer upgrade that is incoming. The game will offer eSports betting and a true multiplayer boxing league with rankings and events.
If you want to know how much your workout burned, and you want some fun while you’re doing it, then Box VR is a good title to check out. Box VR’s strength is pacing. You switch stances frequently, and you perform different activities so you’re always moving and testing a different part of your body.
The first few sessions adjust speed and intensity so you find the sweetspot for your workout to get the results you want. The only question is what the threshold looks like at higher levels.
Were you a fan of Punch-Out on the Wii? If so, Knockout League is your new jam. It has a cast of zany characters, and easy to master mechanics with 1:1 movement to register punches. You really need to exaggerate your movements in this game, which has led to some complaints from some players.
For exercise lovers, that means more work for your hips, legs and core as well as the benefits that come from throwing punches. We covered some of the game’s recent updates here.
More rhythm game than boxing title, Sound Boxing is a fun little game that uses some of your favorite songs to create a target practice style game. You don’t need to have amazing form to get good at it, but you will get a decent upper body workout from throwing punches.
With YouTube integration and voice search, it’s straightforward to find a song you love and the odds are someone made a beatmap (map of targets) for it.
Another rhythm game, Beat Boxer is integrated with your favorite sources for music. Rather than simply striking targets, you must also dodge incoming attacks, which adds a degree of physicality to the experience.
The game also tracks scores on a worldwide leaderboard, so you can maintain your standings on your favorite songs.
The Fastest Fist
If you genuinely want to improve your punching speed and get a workout, then Fastest Fist is a good option for you. This game isn’t really for fun, but it is a good workout that passes all the basic tests. You will sweat, you will feel tired and you won’t notice the time pass. It’s a tad repetitive, and it can sometimes annoyingly fail to register a punch when you’re really in the groove (killing your combo score).
The content is brief, but the price point is only $10.
Did you watch Gladiator and think “why not me?” Gorn was made for you. It’s a very silly game with obscene amounts of gore, but it challenges you to use your body in unexpected ways. You might impale an opponent with a mace and spin yourself in a circle to try and fling their body at someone else in the arena.
Dodging and attacking essentially amount to flailing, but Gorn is a great way to show off your VR, and get your friends moving. Just make sure you give everyone lots of space. Check out our review.
Drunkn Bar Fight
Drunkn Bar Fight’s typo title should provide a clue that it’s not the most serious boxing title. You can grab potions that make you huge and punch people through windows. It’s a multiplayer bar fighting experience where winning isn’t so much the point as causing a ruckus and having a good time.
If you’re a fan of wonky physics, which Gorn players will enjoy, Drunkn Bar Fight offers some structure to your chaos. There are actual rounds and you compete against real people. The developer even hosts special nights where he and others participate with players.
It’s a moderate workout that gives you the cardio of boxing without the seriousness of competition. Win or lose you will have a great time playing Drunkn Bar Fight.
Sort of a modern-day Wii Sports, VR Sports has lots of titles to choose from. The controls for getting up after a fall are even the same (shake those Wii-motes). It’s got a sleek presentation, and a wide variety of games to choose from, so it’s definitely a casual title with potential for a workout. We dove into the suite of games here.
ARMS is a fighting game for the Nintendo Switch that is more AR than VR, but will work up a sweat nevertheless. Users choose among many different characters with varied abilities and stretchy limbs. Pickups and special powers shift the momentum of each match, so things never get too repetitive. Like a true fighting game, you’ll come to understand matchups and look for ways to defeat your opponent’s gimmicks.
ARMS had a limited demo earlier this year, so you’ll have to take the plunge on this one to sample it out, but it’s a decent title for fans of fighting games.