When played together, these three fundamental VR fitness titles form the backbone of a complete full-body workout.
Following the initial ground floor of consumer-grade 6DOF VR landing in 2017, the catalog has filled up with VR games and applications that mix gameplay with physical activity. Since then, we’ve heralded a decent share of new active titles like Beat Saber and Creed: Rise to Glory, we’ve uncovered crafty ways to boost fitness potential in titles like Skyrim VR and Rec Room, and we’ve reported on the unknown existing fitness potential in titles like VRChat.
Through all of 2018, VR Fitness Insider has been on the tail of the newest active gaming trends in the VR industry. But recently, something feels like it’s missing – as if all of the new gaming trends in VR are still shadowed by the game that, for a long time, we’ve praised for its brutality.
We’re speaking, of course, about The Thrill of the Fight. The game that we previously noted as the single greatest VR boxing game to exist as of its initial early access launch. To this day, we still compare every physical challenge we face in VR back to the harrowing three-minute long skirmishes which define The Thrill of the Fight.
One of the key problems of VR-for-fitness is that, most of the time, it’s easy to miss out on giving all of your muscles the right amount of action they need.
One of the key problems of VR-for-fitness is that, most of the time, it’s easy to miss out on giving all of your muscles the right amount of action they need. Beat Saber, for instance, is the best consistent cardio workout you can get in VR. Playing around with new songs and challenging yourself to beat global leaderboards will get you up and moving around every single day. It also teaches you how to be more flexible and dextrous in your movements.
However, Beat Saber has not shown to be a better leg workout than BOXVR. Likewise, it hasn’t shown to challenge your pectorals and triceps as well as The Thrill of the Fight. In practice, while each of the three games greatly teases the territory of the other two, they each do one thing particularly better than the others.
Beat Saber is not a game that outright punishes you for poor form.
If you tap boxes or hit them like drums, you still get to keep going, and you still earn points. If you forget your form while playing BOXVR, you’ll miss your squats and be unable to land punches. And if you forget your form in The Thrill of the Fight, your opponent might plow your virtual face into the floor.
The Thrill of the Fight is a wild ride. A horribly underrated wild ride, but a wild ride nonetheless.
The Thrill of the Fight is a wild ride. A horribly underrated wild ride, but a wild ride nonetheless. As the player, you may not receive any information from which to telegraph enemy attacks, but that’s what makes The Thrill of the Fight brilliant.
It’s random, chaotic, and you rarely get to know whether your next punch is what takes down your opponent. So instead you keep fighting, blindly trading blows and haphazardly weaving out of the way, only to be smacked in the face with the sheer force of the enemy AI’s impossibly fast, overpowered robo-fists. When you get really into it, it’s the best workout in VR.
Well, second-best. You can technically mod the crap out of Audioshield or Beat Saber for a more intense workout. But that takes more effort than plugging and playing, which is where The Thrill of the Fight succeeds the hardest.
Meanwhile, BOXVR sits between The Thrill of the Fight and Beat Saber. You practice your jabs, hooks, and uppercuts between squats and lunges, but it’s literally just fitness boxing in VR form.
BOXVR does far better for staying on rhythm and focusing on each of your muscles. For example, Beat Saber has you ducking a lot, but it’s deliberately set up for you to bend over quickly rather than squat with proper form. Each track in BOXVR is designed around strength exercises, rather than challenges that push your reaction time and dexterity (ala Beat Saber), so each time you need to duck, you’ll go all the way down and push your leg muscles.
All three of these games will build cardio if you practice them regularly. But cardio isn’t enough here if you’re looking to build your strength. You want to feed all of your muscles.
The reason you’d play all three titles regularly in a workout cycle is to hit each of the muscles that each of these games hit. Instead of giving an hour over to each of the three titles, you should definitely choose to play each game for only a short period of time. For example, you should spend 15 minutes in Beat Saber before moving on to The Thrill of the Fight for another 15 minutes, and so on.
But as long as you hit all of those muscle groups, you’re getting a full-body workout completely in VR, which is great if you’d like to use your VR headset for that, and/or if you don’t have access to a gym.
Do you play all three regularly? Let us know in the comments.