When the Matrix released nearly 20 years ago, it captured the imagination and minds of audiences. The possibilities of the physical world seemed wide open, and while the trilogy went in its own direction, the sleekness of the action in The Matrix made an impact on Hollywood and the games industry that would be felt for decades.

VR is the perfect medium to convey this sensation that you are the one in control, that you can dodge and move and overpower as needed, but it still requires dexterity and endurance. Some games will ask you to hold odd angles to stop time and consider your next move, while others might launch such a relentless assault that slow motion is your only recourse.

From blades to ranged weaponry, we wanted to enter The Matrix in VR. If you want to experience bullet time while you get fit, read on for some of the best titles in VR fitness.

Superhot VR

Fitness Potential: Moderate

The quintessential title for Matrix-style gaming is Superhot, with Max Payne not too far behind. Superhot has been around for three years and has added quite a bit of content to grow the franchise. One big change was an entirely standalone campaign built for VR. The new game relies on some of the storytelling techniques, but the scenarios all take advantage of VR to its fullest. In one scene, I had to dodge three incoming shotgun blasts using my wits and some slow motion sidestepping.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gcKDKG_uC4?start=41&w=560&h=315]

The key to Superhot is thinking carefully. The game never really stops, but you can slow it enough to give yourself time to think. Just be aware that any movement speeds up time, even looking around. When you have cover, squat to use it. Crawl around low angles and do the Neo dodge (you know the one I’m talking about) liberally. You’ll feel badass and get a nice workout in your core.

Yep. That’s the one. Credit: Warner Bros.

Space Pirate Trainer

Fitness Potential: Moderate

A space pirate has a lot of high tech gadgetry meant to stay alive and slip out of any situation. Such is your scenario in Space Pirate Trainer. Armed with pistols, a shield, and a cyber bat, you must sustain an onslaught of enemies raining fire from all angles. Your single advantage, and the one way to stay alive, is your ability to slow time when incoming fire threatens your life.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JC52_ocftw&w=560&h=315]

Quickly change weapons to find the proper combination as you duck, dodge, and sidestep incoming enemy fire. Bullet time triggers when you’re close to getting hit, and you have mere seconds to figure out from what angle and react. Sounds simple, and it is in the earlier levels. Later levels will have you dodging so much incoming fire that you will practically play the game in slow motion at times. It’s also one of the best beginner workouts in VR.

Serious Sam: The Last Hope

Fitness Potential: Light

In our review, we talked about the difficulty in Serious Sam’s endless onslaught. It is quite hard, but a bullet time pickup can help swing the odds in your favor. In Serious Sam: The Last Hope, you lead an expedition team to various worlds hoping to find the key to stopping an alien threat bent on destroying the Earth. You are the best we’ve got, and you’re armed with giant cannons, missiles, miniguns, shotguns and more to dispatch death.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnYorJy797I&w=560&h=315]

Serious Sam has two ways to trigger bullet time, and you will need both to win. The first is when you change weapons. The game slows down to a crawl, allowing you to select the perfect implement of destruction. Use this precious time to review the enemies on screen and select the right weapon to deal with them. Masses of one-hit kill enemies can be swept aside with a single well-placed plasma sword strike, while bigger foes might require a cannonball to whatever their face is.

The second is an upgrade you can buy between rounds. It slows time around you, including your gunfire. You can look around and move in real time, but everything you do is much slower. Choose explosive weapons, or weapons that go through the enemy like a sniper rifle or cannon ball. I prefer the explosive arrows in slow motion because the effect is nice.

Bullet Sorrow

Fitness Potential: Light

More of a straightforward shooting game, Bullet Sorrow caught my eye as a potential on-rail shooter to work your core. I love the gameplay, but it does get intense very quickly. Thankfully, the game allows you to slow time for greater precision. Bullet time dampens sound for a neat soothing effect, but recently the developers added a bullet time shield. This item will be a critical pickup in multiplayer matches, where slow motion affects everyone on the battlefield.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkuoLyoQnC8&w=560&h=315]

In Bullet Sorrow, stronger weaponry has limited ammunition. You will need to aim for enemy weak points using your pistol, or any weaker weapons with lots of ammunition available, to survive. Trigger bullet time, aim for the head, unload your clip and then crouch behind cover or move to a different spot to catch enemies off guard.

Fallout 4

Fitness Potential: Light

Although Bethesda has done a lackluster job supporting the game, Fallout 4 remains one of VR’s strongest entries and excellent usage of bullet time. The vast game world is populated by lots of creatures that won’t hesitate to kill you. Most of them can be dealt with by competent shooter players. Ambushes and raids are where Fallout benefits most from bullet time, or VATS as it’s known in the game.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQC1xNIc8TY?start=246&w=560&h=315]

The Vault Assisted Targeting System (VATS) slows time to easily aim at a particular body part of creatures and enemies. Humans and most animals go down easy with headshots, but you might want to strike for the legs on some larger more menacing creatures like Deathclaws or Mirelurks. The ability to slow time makes melee more effective and gives players the opportunity to customize their approach to enemies.


Fitness Potential: Moderate

We’ve been talking a lot about Sairento lately, a testament to how good the game has become. It has grown to feature a DLC pack, a new avatar, it has added endless challenges, all while offering one of the most compelling cyber ninja simulations available in VR. The design of the game also makes it easy for players to find a mission quickly, dive in, earn some pickups, re-arm, and repeat.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3jXqjhWefE&w=560&h=315]

Bullet time functionality is a major part of gameplay. You will slip in and out of slow-motion constantly, sometimes on purpose and other times to move around. The game will slow time when you’re choosing your next teleportation/movement point, but players can slow incoming fire with the controller grip buttons. Phasing in and out leads to some fun interactions, like slicing bullets in half in mid-air, or deflecting or dodging incoming fire with the barrel of your gun. Sairento thrives on weapon diversity, so be sure to try out lots of combinations to find out what works best for you.

Raw Data

Fitness Potential: Light

Raw Data is another Survios masterpiece. A fully envisioned campaign with multiple character perspectives, each offering a unique challenge. When you take control of Bishop, one of the game’s more established characters, you gain the ability to dip in and out of bullet time with his ultimate, “Time Warp.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGJhQ-WUwkE&w=560&h=315]

Bishop relies on his guns to take out the robot baddies you come across, and precision is key. Unlike most wave shooters, enemies won’t hesitate to swarm and kill you even behind cover. With Bishop’s bullet time ability, you gain the precision to make every shot count.

Bonus: Fruit Ninja

Fitness Potential: Moderate

Fruit Ninja isn’t where you would expect to find bullet time, but the mechanic works quite well in this high-scoring frenzy. Fruit Ninja’s premise is that you are making a fruit salad, you are a samurai, and you have no chef’s knives handy. You score points by combo-slicing your fruit in groupings of three or more. The game detects cheating, by the way, so don’t try and get creative with your slices.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPY4TRRHwZc?start=41&w=560&h=315]

That’s where slow motion can be a handy trick. Slice a frozen fruit, and the game will slow down dramatically, where pairings seem to line up in delectable bids to be next on your plate. Avoid bombs and land as many combos as you can because frozen fruit and combo bananas fly liberally as your score climbs higher. You lose the effect when its time runs out, or if you accidentally strike a bomb. Be sure you aim carefully and strike true!

Tell us, what are your favorite slow motion games in VR?