Rhythm games are exploding in VR, and with good reason. The naturally physical experiences tap into our drive to move to the beat while scoring performance. Holodance even uses Vive trackers to allow for full-body tracking so you can punch and kick to the beat too. They aren’t just neat experiences; they are full-body workouts that make you sweat. Just try BoxVR for 15 minutes, and you will feel it.
It’s also a punishing genre that can make some people give up before they see how great the games can get. You might feel stuck on the same songs, unable to progress to the tracks you want. That’s where VR Fitness Insider can help. Many of us have been playing rhythm games for more than a decade, and these tips help us reach our fullest potential.
Develop a Routine
On our Facebook page, we have been covering challenges for BoxVR that pit our staff and readers in competition. It’s been a fun experience teaching everyone various methods to push themselves in VR and see how well you perform. Those challenges are born from routines that showed us how to play, how to improve.
First, repetition is critical. Repetition helps you identify sections/measures within a song. Rhythm games are just the same few moves repeated to the beat. Conceptually, there are only a few different movements within the measures of a song, so a 4:4 measure is likely to repeat its motions when you hear those beats again later in the song. If you focus on these measures, and their prominent beats, you can anticipate the song’s next moves.
Don’t forget to explore the various difficulties of a song when available. BeatSaber does a great job of making repetition fun, using motions you learned in previous difficulties and adding half beats to encourage a bit more movement. For other games, like BoxVR, the same song can come with different challenges. Even Soundboxing will feature different beatmaps for the same song.
Learn to See Targets
Every major title uses colors and targets to differentiate between hands or type of swing, but Audioshield’s use of color is very prominent. It might be a good game for beginners, especially considering you can use your music. Pay attention to tutorial sections and easy songs so your hand-eye coordination will feel effortless.
Fitness Hack and Set Goals
Set attainable goals if you want to succeed. Don’t expect to be the best. Fitness isn’t everything in a rhythm game; you need to learn how to move the way the game requires. Aside from your fitness, you might consider:
- Breaking a certain scoring threshold on five songs in a row
- Perfecting your favorite track
- Beating your favorite song on its most challenging difficulty
Your workout will feel effortless and fun when you have a goal set. Paired with gradually increasing difficulty, and fitness tools like weighted vests, rhythm games tend to scale well alongside your fitness goals. Shane Hoalst ended up literally floored from his latest BeatSaber session.
Upping Your Challenge
I like to scale difficulty based on my routine. I want a playlist of 7-10 songs I can groove to. About half of those songs are fun “no problem” tracks that I can tackle with my eyes closed. The next three will be challenging songs I’ve beaten in the past but not consistently. The final one or two tracks will be nearly impossible for me because of certain sections my body can’t handle. Those last few songs are where the gains happen, either because you’re pushing yourself harder or improving your skill and agility.
Reaction times are crucial to getting better at rhythm games. Higher difficulties tend to throw targets at you faster, and the difficulty spikes demand more of you. In BeatSaber and Box VR, you might find high difficulty challenges requiring usage of both hands or more intense squatting. Even pacing can be used to increase your heart rate and force your body to move in ways you didn’t anticipate. Modding Audioshield dials up the intensity to 11!
Explore Your Music
Beat Saber is one of the few rhythm games that doesn’t allow you to import music. At least not yet. Importing music is the cornerstone of Soundboxing, where creating beatmaps to play is just as important as finding new songs to explore.
Get involved with the community. Find new music, share your favorite creations, place high on leaderboards. The more involved you get, the more you get out of the game.
Rhythm games are also gratifying, not just because of the scores you set. Making your way to the end of an exhausting song is gratification that is hard to describe, but never really gets old.
If you’ve never tried rhythm games for VR fitness, welcome to your next new obsession.