VR fitness is a bit different from the typical gaming experience. It thrives on the gamified concepts like growing stronger, or engaging narratives, but the emphasis is on your ability. You become the controller in VR fitness, and you must have good stamina and endurance to keep up.
We’re here to help VR Fitness minded gamers find the right experience and intensity. For those who want to vary up their workout, and go outside the usual scope of gaming titles available in VR, we’ve dug up some wonderful titles with depth to explore.
First, what gamer are you?
I’m a Sports Gamer
You like sports titles primarily, and you tend to seek out realistic sports simulations when you have fun. You’re looking to either practice your mechanics, or have fun inside a world built around your favorite sport.
MLB Homerun Derby
MLB Homerun Derby has everything you want out of VR batting practice. It’s intensity is adjustable and it’s perfect for kids to learn the basics of batting practice. With top notch MLB themed visuals, the only thing the game lacks is content. Definitely one of the best sports-themed titles in VR that mimics the actual sport, but Home Run Derby begs the question: why don’t we have a full nine-inning baseball game in VR yet?
Think raquetball, but in a 360 playing field. Racket NX expands on a concept first gamified by the likes of Arkanoid: knock out all the blocks to win. Use creative strikes to arc the ball and score combos to increase your score. Just make sure you avoid Drainers that decrease your score and momentum if you want to make highest scores. Addictive and heart-thumping, Racket NX is a great exploration of VR for those who stand in place as well as room-scale adventurers.
I love the physics of Racket Fury, a fully realized VR ping pong experience with multiplayer and practice matches. Players can set the trajectory of balls, or designate specific places on the field to hit, working on anything from deflections to spikes. You will need that training at high-level play. Racket Fury is a twist on the typical tennis experience and an accurate representation of ping pong.
I Want the VR Fitness Experience
You are looking for an alternative to the gym, which you still love visiting but you want something more. The idea of gaming with other fitness gamers, and testing your body’s limits for hand-eye coordination and stamina, sounds appealing. You probably have a fitness tracker and keep a close eye on your meal plans. Here’s how VR can supplement your existing workout routines.
I want to workout to the beat
The true VR Fitness game, and a VRFI favorite. BoxVR combines the best of rhythm and fitness games for a cohesive experience that will push the limits of your endurance. The gameplay created by BoxVR is designed by fitness coaches, teaching you form and building on skills as you play. You won’t learn how to fight, but you’ll learn more about how to punch and will build the necessary muscle for games like Thrill of the Fight.
VirZOOM is compatible with almost every platform, combining exercise biking with gaming for a new and exciting experience. How fast you peddle determines how fast you go in a race, or how high you fly as a pegasus. Goal-oriented gameplay gives players bars to shoot for and surpass while they get in their cardio for the day.
Your favorite kind of work involves some form of music. You’re either listening while you run, or seeking out dance-related workouts. These games involve music and rely on body-eye coordination to win.
Combined with the Vive Trackers, you can dance your hands and feet off with Holodance. The title is often overlooked in the rhythm genre, especially with BoxVR and BeatSaber getting routine updates. Holodance shines as a full-body workout, where players punch and kick everything from lazer drones to dragons. It also has the ability to expand gameplay by adding your own songs.
Seiya has 25 songs in its base pack, and it’s a simple concept. Like BoxVR, you punch to the beat but your strikes conjure the song into existence. Miss and the beat drops. Literally. Its emphasis on Eastern pop (specifically Japanese pop and anime) may be a turn off for some players, but the intensity stays high and the gameplay can be addicting. It quickly becomes a workout as players try for mastery of the highest difficulty levels. Think you’re up for the challenge?
Beat Saber is the rhythm title that some gamers might want BoxVR to be. While BoxVR is concerned with form and proper technique, Beat Saber is purely about striking targets to the beat. The basic song selection is solid, but mod your game just a little and you open up Beat Saber’s true potential. Just be sure you can handle the challenge. I like to shuffle on my feet and dance to really up my workout potential, routinely hitting 110BPM plus playing this title. We’ve written extensively on how you can get there too.
I Want to Fight!
This is my category, so “hello” fellow fighters. We like outthinking our opponents, setting up for those beautiful knockouts and fancy footwork. Your idols are all the greats (mine is Bruce Lee), and you’re constantly looking for a test of both mind and body. Here are the titles I find myself most addicted to when I need my fix for fighting.
I want to swing swords
Sword Master VR
Sword Master is one of the more realistic sword simulators in VR. Weapons have heft to them, and you need to look for openings by deflecting and parrying incoming strikes. In practice, because the controllers are lighter, this feels like a fencing simulator. Those seeking an intense workout should consider arm or wrist weights.
Sairento’s harder difficulties challenge the body with squats, dodging and frantic sword fighting. It’s not a game to be taken lightly, although normal difficulty levels feel better geared to casual play. Remember, squats make you slide when you land from a jump. You can also make your character flip by throwing your arms into the air, like a jumping jack. Sairento’s movement system is very dynamic, and your body will feel it by the end. In multiplayer, you will face other ninjas or cooperate to take down your targets. Same frantic pacing without the slow motion to aid you. You’ll be taking an already intense experience and dialing that up significantly. Think you can handle it?
I Want to Swing Fists
The Thrill of the Fight
The hallmarks of The Thrill of the Fight include: multiple difficulty levels, a lively gym with speed bag and punching dummies that measure strike force, and a diverse set of opponents with different attack patterns. Sound fun? The Thrill of the Fight is VR boxing at its most serious. No arcade gimmicks, like fatigue or powerups, just you and an AI trained to beat the snot of you. Everything a boxing fan could want, except for multiplayer.
Knockout League was one of the first titles I played in VR, and it taught me a lot about the platform in addition to being the closest we’ve got to Punch-Out. Players need to dodge incoming punches and attack during timed openings. Each opponent has unique patterns and fighting styles, making every match a varied and intense experience. While it’s a bit rigid in how it wants you to move or attack, it’s a fun introduction to boxing in VR with tons of variation and gameplay potential.