VR fitness is fun and rewarding, but it’s easy to think you’ll be stuck in the same few games just to get a workout. In fact, there is a diverse lineup of titles that offer a full body workout, cardio, or just some light activity. Newbies also have to get acquainted with VR. Some may not be gamers and may find all the buttons overwhelming. Even I went through some culture shock while touring The Lab, one of the free titles we recommend players dive into.
If you’re new to VR, we offer these experiences to teach you how the platform functions, and to test what you can handle.
I heard a lot about Tiltbrush before I got my Vive, and was looking forward to sampling that app. It’s an app that most outsiders see as beautiful and amazing. I found it was pretty cool, but I wasn’t artistically pulled to engage with it much. The tools didn’t feel intuitive enough for me, and I found the experience of Tiltbrush to be a little empty. Lacking context might be a better way to describe it.
Kingspray puts players against a wall, literally, where they use the game controllers to create incredible works of art that you can save, share, and revisit. It’s a simple twist on the same formula, and it’s slightly less expensive than Google’s application. I know that tagging isn’t for everyone, but Kingspray’s simulation of spray paint feels so on point that it’s hard to pass up entirely.
An open-ended art game gives players room to go as hard or light as they might want. You can take breaks from working on your project to do some squats and observe out your work. You can also just focus on creating, getting the equivalent of your morning walk while you stimulate your mind.
I love this game. If you’ve ever looked at the lobby scene in the Matrix and thought “why not me” then you need to go and get Superhot VR. It’s a completely different experience from the desktop PC version of the game. At first, I found it hard to adapt to because the desktop experience lets you move anywhere you want. In VR, you’re limited only to what’s in your immediate room scale. Yet the game shines with incredible bullet-time mechanics that work your body in unexpected ways.
I feel a lot like I’ve gone through a full-body yoga session after playing Superhot, especially at higher difficulties. I need to flex and bend, but the slower I move, the better I can dodge. Time only moves when you do, so it’s a bit like playing Twister where you might have to hold an awkward position while you figure out your next move. It’s one of the few shooters I’ve encountered in VR that isn’t overly violent, and it makes you feel like an action hero. Combined with its lighter fitness potential, it’s an excellent way to get acquainted with VR controls and see some of what you’re going to do when you play action titles.
Space Pirate Trainer
Space Pirate Trainer and Holopoint would be equally valid introductions for newbies. Both offer a good challenge, but Space Pirate Trainer makes this list because it’s a bit more fun. You have up to 8 weapons to choose from, plus a melee weapon and shield strapped to your back. In short, you’re well armed and prepared to take on ever-increasing swarms of space bad guys. Lots of extras and unlockables keep gamers returning, while the controls teach newbies how to acquire targets and aim in VR.
The part you don’t expect is the full-body workout you will be getting that’s equivalent to time on an eliptical machine. The game slows time when enemies fire at you, allowing you to move in room scale to dodge their bullets. The pacing of the fights keeps your heart rate high, while squats and dodges add a bit of cardio and some steps to your workout.
Infinite ammunition means you only need to worry about dodging and shooting. The game is also a good test of what your rig can handle. It has a lot of smoke and physics effects that will tax slower machines, so be sure to spend some time tweaking your performance.
Sprint Vector is a futuristic racing game where players must swing their arms to sprint through an obstacle course. The game has some light parkour, as players will scramble to find shortcuts and power-ups that allow them to finish first. With a substantial multiplayer component, Sprint Vector is excellent for introducing players to locomotion and competitive gaming in VR.
If you ever played Track and Field on the NES, you know that running in place can work up a sweat. Sprint Vector contextualizes your workout with courses that are fun to navigate. Other players will be trying to stop and otherwise pass you in various ways. Given the game moves with you standing in place, it’s also an excellent test to see how you’re affected by VR locomotion.
In Soundboxing, players create beatmaps that test their ability to hit targets with their left and right hands. It’s a good way to test ambidextrousness, and it features a massive library of music thanks to YouTube integration. No buttons to push, just your headset, your body, and the controllers.
In addition to being a fun game, Soundboxing is excellent cardio. It’s like playing Dance Dance Revolution with your hands. Although you’re not scored on how hard you hit targets, you do feel the burn the longer you play. You can compare high scores with others, design your beatmaps to share with friends, and you can participate in the broader community with a free account.