Recently, a friend approached me and asked whether it would be worth buying a PSVR headset for his PS4.
I told him the same thing that I’m about to tell you:
Get the system that works for your budget.
Most of the games that VR Fitness Insider loves to play are bound to cross-pollinate between platforms at some point.
Beat Saber is a natural fit for PSVR, despite living through its early access phase as a PC exclusive.
Now, it’s officially getting a port.
Or look at Skyrim VR, which was first released on PSVR and later extended to PC.
Today I’m going to run you through a summary of 6 games you can play to get fit in PSVR right now.
And then I’m going to preview 2 games that will be released on PSVR this year.
Let’s heat things up.
My first pick is:
Later, in August 2017, the project unraveled itself to the world as Sparc—high velocity, competitive VR dodgeball.
I don’t mind that CCP flipped on their promise of lethal frisbees and gave us dodgeball instead.
The premise is the same:
Hit your opponent’s body or head with a neon-slathered projectile.
Sparc promises exactly one thing, and boy does it deliver.
Granted, the game might first appear to lack depth and replayability due to the existence of only one map and three game modes.
But because both players are always locked to opposite ends of a single corridor, you need to be tactful enough to counter your opponent—and score enough points to win—before they can do the same to you.
Keep in mind that the game is limited to multiplayer, with tutorials being the only singleplayer piece.
You can also customize your own avatar.
Matches are no larger than 1v1 at a time.
Meanwhile, only four players can join a single lobby, where two inactive players can idle outside of the arena and socialize while queueing up for the next match.
Those other players might also be on PSVR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows MR, or any miscellaneous SteamVR-compatible headset.
Does Sparc play like a real sport?
After your body is dripping with sweat, you’ll sure feel like it.
Sparc, like any other throwing sport, is easier if you have stronger deltoids and triceps. The accelerometer in your controller detects how much velocity you place into each throw.
Your throw velocity is adjusted by the number of strikes you have against your opponent—which are earned when you hit your opponent’s backboard.
The strike system exists so that a trained athlete could be playing at max capacity against a couch potato—who is playing at their own max capacity—without the athlete being able to roll through the match.
But then, where’s the physical challenge?
Here’s Sparc’s caveat:
If your arms get tired from exertion, you cannot control the ball.
Each match is a battle of technique.
As a PSVR owner who talks about wanting to get fit in VR, don’t sleep on Sparc!
Rec Room is one of my favorites.
Even if I’m tired and soaked in sweat after a VR workout session, Rec Room is one of those few VR games that remain alluring.
It’s a cross-platform online game at its core, with customizable avatars, quests, items, and level-ups to earn.
But there are plenty of activities within the game that can raise your heart rate and get your blood flowing.
There’s dodgeball, laser tag, paddleball, disc golf, and more.
And like Sparc, it’s multiplayer-only. Whenever you log in, you’ll be co-existing with people using Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PSVR, and so on.
When you get into a large party of people playing together, which is common, Rec Room becomes a bonafide social experience—and if you don’t like a random player who enters one of your rooms, you can mute them or invite your party to switch rooms.
The friendly competition that Rec Room compels you to have with other players is enough to coax you into putting more energy into each activity.
As a result, I tend to walk away from an hour of Rec Room having burnt about 150–300 calories—depending on how the session goes.
Which is why I fit Rec Room squarely into the LISS category of exercise.
The best part? It’s 100% free.
Grab it from the PSVR catalog whenever you’d like.
Knockout League is the ultimate boxing game currently out on PSVR. This status might be challenged with the release of Creed (more on that below!), but for now, you should go with Knockout League if you want to brush up on your jabs.
Knockout League has a collection of themed baddies to fight, each with their own combos and tactics.
To perform well in Knockout League, you need to stay on your feet.
You’ll have to duck, dodge, throw punches, know when to hook or jab, and keep your hands raised.
One of the game’s main drawbacks is how predictable each fight becomes after you’ve completed it once.
But it has mitt training, a speed bag with feedback, and minigames that can help you build your general fitness after you’ve completed every fight.
It also has a funky art direction style, adopted from the classic fighting game Punch-Out.
Sprint Vector is a clever racing game that makes the player pump their arms in order to “sprint” to the finish line.
It’s also considered a competitive v-sport in the ESL.
If you’re looking for a VR game that’s considerably similar to Mario Kart, but with more physical engagement (and less Mario), this is one of the best games you can play.
And even though you might look goofy while swinging your arms in place, you will be sweating calories whenever you play Sprint Vector.
Run in place while you play for a full-blown aerobic workout, and also to look less dorky when your friends and family secretly snap smartphone videos of you playing Sprint Vector and post them onto the Internet.
Unlike Sparc and Rec Room, Sprint Vector does not feature cross-compatible multiplayer between PSVR and PC VR.
If you want to get really good at Sprint Vector, check out our 18 tips that make the game more enjoyable—while making you a better player.
Skyrim. Is. Everywhere.
And if you haven’t played it yet, even if you aren’t a gamer, you’re missing out.
Skyrim VR is vast, mysterious and immersive for first-time players.
And for previous players—who’ve already weathered Skyrim’s majestic mountain peaks—the VR makeover is enough of a new experience to justify yet another go-through.
I cannot do Skyrim VR the proper justice it deserves without dedicating an entire article to do it.
Luckily, VR Fitness Insider wrote an official review that you can find here.
“Time only moves when you move.”
So how does SUPERHOT VR feel in your hands?
Well, imagine being Neo from the Matrix:
And while short, it’s got one of the best singleplayer campaigns currently in VR.
There is no grand narrative to speak of, but rather a series of vignettes that compel you to use each handcrafted environment resourcefully.
For instance, one vignette has you escaping from your own execution by ducking a stream of shotgun rounds.
As a first-time player, you won’t actually know that, so you’ll die and reset to the beginning of the level until you figure it out.
By the end of the game, however, you will feel like a real action hero.
In fact, SUPERHOT VR is so masterfully done in how it engages me as a player through the VR medium, that I’m actually upset about its lack of paid DLC.
I never, ever scrape a game’s Endless mode for replayability.
But somehow, SUPERHOT keeps pulling me back for another round.
And after a solid hour of play (even without a weighted vest!), SUPERHOT VR helps me shed between 250-400 calories on average.
If you’ve ever fantasized about being Keanu Reeves, then you obviously shouldn’t skip SUPERHOT VR.
TBA 2018—Beat Saber (PSVR)
I really love Beat Saber. You can check out my feature on it here.
And you can check out VR Fitness Insider’s review on it here.
How do I get started?
Beat Saber places two lightsabers into your hands—a blue one and a red one—and tells you to slash incoming boxes.
Every box is color-coded and painted with an arrow. Or it has a dot in the center, meaning that it doesn’t matter what direction you slash it.
If a blue box painted with an upward-facing arrow flies past your head, you have to slash it upwards with your blue saber. And so on.
Each box makes a percussive crash noise when slashed apart—some custom map makers use Beat Saber’s gameplay to simulate an extra layer of drums on top of existing songs.
Slicing beats in Beat Saber feels punchy and satisfying.
Kind of like a cross between cutting through a block of butter with a hot knife, and opening an ice cold Cola Cola with your bare fingers.
When you get into a flow state, there’s a feeling of power that Beat Saber imparts upon you; like you really could be a dormant Jedi master hiding behind the visage of Pat from accounting.
Depending on how a level is set up, you might have to slash any number of boxes, at any angle, in any direction, at any time.
This is all while you keep your sabers away from passing mines, and also while making sure you don’t let your head come into contact with any red blocks.
When used well, Beat Saber’s simple features can compel you to do some pretty crazy things in real life—making it one of the freshest party games in recent history.
If the PSVR edition of Beat Saber contains the capability to add new content via mods and custom songs, then you’ll be playing this one for a long time.
Whenever I download a new song and plug it into my game, there’s a whole new routine that I need to learn and master.
Which not only gets me soaked in my own sweat—burning roughly 400 to 500 calories per hour if I’m playing fast-paced songs on Expert mode—but also compounds the game’s depth and replayability.
You’ll owe it to yourself to pick up Beat Saber when it comes out on PSVR this year.
Fall 2018—Creed: Rise to Glory
Another boxing game? What gives?!
OK, let me be honest—boxing games are my favorite kind of VR workout.
I don’t use a gym, at all, and VR boxing games are making me more muscular than I’ve been in my life.
There are some things that I don’t know a lot about yet, such as Creed’s new Phantom melee system.
It’s an effect system that promises to bring “real-world impact” to in-game events, like when you get staggered or KO’d.
…I know, right?
But the real draw is Creed’s high production value—meaning that it could come loaded with more content and stronger art direction than what PSVR owners are used to.
There’s only one thing that concerns me about Creed, and it’s the slow-mo shot that Survios showed in the trailer (above).
But I’m hoping that they give advanced players the option to turn that off.
If Creed can one-up The Thrill of the Fight! as VR’s most hardcore boxing game, then there may be some serious competition between PSVR and PC VR as a fitness platform.
If you’re interested in getting fit in VR, but you don’t have a gaming PC or a boatload of cash to throw at one, then PSVR is still a great option.
Some of VR’s best fitness titles live comfortably in the PSVR’s ecosystem, with more to come.
Remember that both the PS4 and PS4 Pro will work smoothly with PSVR.
If you already have either version of the PS4, you can find a new PSVR system for ~$299 and get started on your VR fitness training.
Later in the year, you’ll have new titles such as Beat Saber and Creed: Rise to Glory to look forward to.
Which PSVR title excites you the most?