Panoptic. Credit: Team Panoptes

VR fitness is contagious, and it’s common for friends and family to want in on the action. Passing around your headset is one way to play, but those who take the plunge can bring their setups to your space (and vise versa) for some interesting options.

We’ve looked at a few fitness titles, and some casual titles designed to get friends and family moving. First, we’ll look at the types of multiplayer you have to choose from, then a rundown of the games to find some fun fitness experiences you can share with those around you.

Multiplayer is coming to VR in a big way, but these early titles are available now and show off what VR can do.

Various Kinds of Multiplayer

There are a few kinds of multiplayer when it comes to VR. Each offers its own unique experience, so it’s worth checking out which is right for you and your space.

Asymmetric Multiplayer

With asymmetric multiplayer, one user dons the VR headset, while the other uses the PC. This kind of setup allows the PC player to influence the VR experience in various ways. In Super Virtual Invader, a light and casual game that can be played from the couch, the PC user is the system’s “Overseer” who needs to stop the VR player from invading using various traps and gadgets. Common examples are hide and seek or maze games, where one player helps or hinders the other.

Hotseat Multiplayer

The concept of hotseat play should be familiar to anyone who has ever been to summer camp, but for the rest of us, it’s about passing the baton (or in this case the headset). These games tend to focus on score competitions and often use short minigames that focus on a single gesture or action. A great example of this at work is Schlocks, which uses 10-second mini-games to try and trip you up. We’ll cover some fitness titles in a moment that utilize this concept as well.

Online/Local

With online or local play, you need two setups (typically computers) and two headsets. You will find local setups most often at game or fitness centers, like WePlay VR. This is the ideal multiplayer experience for VR and is best exemplified by Star Trek Bridge Crew. This casual title is one of the main hooks of VR for many, but more titles are adopting this experience.

Local Multiplayer Titles

Final Soccer VR

Publisher: Ivanovich Games

$19.99

Fitness Potential: Medium to Heavy

Fitness Qualities: Final Soccer VR is an asymmetric and local multiplayer game where you actually have legs! This is huge for VR, as you may or may not be aware, as players typically don’t have virtual legs. It requires three Vive sensors for the best experience but can be played with just the Vive controller attached to your foot (however you manage to work that). You can play as goalkeeper or striker, and explore a simulation mode against some of the best strikers in the world. Sure to give you a decent cardio workout, Final Soccer is a great experience made even better with friends.

Other Notes: Final Soccer uses a downloadable mobile app for couch coop play, or players can go Vive vs. Vive over the internet or with a local network.

Sairento

Publisher: MixedRealms

$29.99

Fitness Potential: Medium to Heavy

Fitness Qualities: Sairento is all about being a ninja, and offers up to 4-player coop or combat over the internet. Teleportation in this game makes sense, and wide open space gives you room to move. This game simulates all the cool ninja stuff, but you need the space to do the running and diving for the best experience.

That said, Sairento also supports TPCast and the Hardlight Haptic Suit for that luxury experience. In short, there’s a lot of potential for long-term gameplay and fitness potential for those willing to create the proper setup. Before you dive headset first at any level of play (serious or otherwise), clear your room of anything you might trip on.

Other Notes: Early Access, but scheduled to come out in early February. Certain setbacks pushed the small dev team’s goal of January 30th back a bit.

Containment Initiative

Publisher: Gwyn Games

$9.99

Fitness Potential: Medium

Fitness Qualities: Containment Initiative is a room-scale VR game allowing you to move around within your playspace at certain points in time while being an “on-rails” stand-still shooter at others. It uses realistic weapon handling mechanics, and zombies come from all directions. Players will be turning and firing while swinging the Vive wand for melee attacks to push back the hoards. Melee requires a fair number of swings to drop a zed. We suggest adding weights to improve the natural resistance and add a sense of realism. Look for opportunities to squat as you quick turn for the full workout potential.  

Your partner plays on PC, using a keyboard and mouse for the traditional FPS experience. Partnership is key for survival, but other VR users can join your session over the web. This is an Other Notes: Early Access/beta title, so online multiplayer may be buggy.

 

 

HordeZ

Publisher: ZenzVR

$16.99

Fitness Potential: Medium

Fitness Qualities: HordeZ is an on-rails shooter that utilizes body tracking for dodging and angling for better shots. The goal is to survive together, with a PC player next to you or a local VR setup. Supporting 5×4 foot play spaces with full standing capability and melee weapons like katanas, HordeZ offers a unique and immersive shooter experience with casual to moderate fitness potential. As with Containment Initiative, added weights would help with fitness potential and immersion. An arcade license is also available, so look for this one at your local fitness or VR game center.

 

World VR Competition

Publisher: MT Worlds

$11.99

Fitness Potential: Light to Medium

Fitness Qualities: World VR Competition is the Olympics but in VR and a little silly. This is a hot seat multiplayer game where everyone will compete for first place in whatever event you might be playing. Boxing and sword fighting offer the most fitness potential, but don’t try and squeeze a workout out from this when there are better options like Sairento or Final Soccer VR. This game is about party fun and a casual wind down.

Panoptic

Publisher: Team Panoptes

Free Demo

Fitness Potential: Light

Fitness Qualities: Another fun casual title, Panoptic puts the VR player in the role of Overseer. Their goal is to stop the PC player from reaching the goal. The demo level features a few bottlenecks that are easy to game, so don’t play unfairly, but there’s a bit of potential here for fitness. VR players will need to bend down and look through different areas above or below their eye level, so adding some squats in won’t be too difficult.

Other Notes: This title is only a free demo of one level, with the promise of a fuller experience to come.

Eye in the Sky

Publisher: VinLia Games

$9.99

Fitness Potential: Light

Fitness Qualities: Escape rooms are popular these days, and Eye in the Sky capitalizes on that with experiences that you and a PC player partner must navigate cooperatively. Vive/Rift users will be squatting and moving around to examine objects. This is a good casual experience to begin or end your workout, and it involves you and your partner talking a lot to each other. It’s got a slick presentation too.


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