Archery is excellent for exercise because it works multiple parts of the body, and the mind, in a single activity. You need strength to knock the string and hold it at the ready. You will require focus to aim carefully, as precision requires that you carefully cut out the distractions around you to hone in on what you need to do. You also need endurance. Whether you compete or hunt, walking is an integral part of what you will need to do as an archer. Walking or jogging alongside sessions can really boost the fitness benefits of archery.
The same applies to VR, where you may not have the resistance but you do need to move quickly. Each of these titles does an excellent job simulating something about archery, and all of them bring something unique to the table. So, which one should you look to for your archery fix?
Price: $19.99 with a demo available
QuiVR is one of the best archery experiences in VR, and largely dictated the direction that this genre is taking. It gets frequent updates, including new bosses and changes to enemy behavior. Where Elven Assassin uses running orcs in different patterns, or around various obstacles, QuiVR genuinely offers a real difference in enemy movement and reaction.
QuiVR strives for realism in the bow mechanics, and we’re pretty satisfied with the feel of flinging arrows rapidly. It also has fluid multiplayer, so players can join you for a session and leave as they choose.
What We Love: A lot. QuiVR strives to do a lot even if some parts still feel like a tech demo. Enemy behavior really sells QuiVR, and a free demo gives players the chance to see if the game is for them. It’s Early Access, but the updates are frequent and target every level of play. After an hour, you’ll be feeling this one.
Weekly challenges are nice. I personally play roguelikes for the PC that feature a lot of daily challenges, where average players have a real shot at ascending the leaderboards on a good day. I hope to see more of this kind of daily and weekly challenge growing in VR.
Recommended for: Most VR fitness gamers. It’s a great step up from The Lab’s archery experience for those who loved that.
Elven Assassin was, up until recently, a Player vs. Environment (PvE) game. This meant you could team up with a maximum of 4 players to deal death to invading orcs. Stop them from encroaching on your territory and raiding your castles, pillaging your villages and destroying your medieval society with skill shots through narrow windows, headshots, and speed kills.
Recently, the game added a beta Player vs. Player game mode. Players duke it out over the Proving Grounds, where assassins learn to hone their skills against the most dangerous targets: each other.
What We Love: Two game modes appeal to two types of player: those who feel a reward from progression and those who want to test their skills. Arcade mode is where the most fitness potential is found outside of PvP because you don’t have tricks to wipe out waves or slow them down.
The PvP community is small, but existent and thriving. The game recently added boss characters and other goodies to attract more players. As PvP grows and adds more maps, we expect players will enjoy squatting to avoid arrows and dodge attacks.
Recommended For: Fans of Lord of the Rings, as well as multiplayer enthusiasts and fitness gamers looking for a game that rewards dedication.
With Holopoint, the focus is on firing as quickly and accurately as possible. In testing, we’ve found opportunities to squat and turn that really beef up the fitness potential of this title, and it’s not easy. You will need some hand-eye coordination and accuracy to succeed in Holopoint, with targets of many sizes coming toward you.
There really isn’t a story to the game, but the developers do host events from time to time that add some depth and replayability outside of the core formula.
What We Love: The game is rapid-fire, perfect for group sessions and high energy workouts. Some players will find that excelling as high as level 99 isn’t too difficult, but almost everyone will be feeling the burn along the way.
We also like that the player has to dodge a bit. Boxes shoot back when they explode, and incoming enemies can fire other projectiles. VR does a great job of making you feel the 3D space, and Holopoint is excellent at utilizing your room scale to that end.
Recommended For: Competitive players who want a fast-paced arcade-style challenge.
Finally, a challenging roguelite in VR. In Death is exactly the kind of experience that hardcore gamers will find motivating. This one isn’t the usual fitness fare, as every level changes and there are no checkpoints.
Locomotion is also very dynamic, with a teleportation arrow to move to new spots and a dodge crystal to quickly strafe.
Headshots are deadly, so do your best to land them on incoming swarms. Use your shield to deflect incoming attacks and bash some skulls when they get too close. Randomized loot chests also add an element of luck to the equation. Can you make the calculated risks you need to get the best weapons?
What We Love: This game is great for a challenging fitness experience that forces you into intense standoffs. The locomotion system becomes very intuitive, with simple flicks of the wrist to relocate quickly and get off that last desperate shot to survive.
The game also has a “demo mode”, which allows you to stop your in-game progression and let others play on your save. This is a godsend for everyone who comes over and asks if they can play. Yes, you finally can play and I don’t have to lecture you on not saving over my game.
Recommended For: Gamers who want a challenge. Fitness gamers who find previous titles too easy can feel free to “graduate” to this at any point. Can you make it to the end?
Each of these titles is angled to a different gamer, even though they all appear to be the same at first glance. In Death is all about failing gloriously, while Holopoint is for the score-hungry. QuiVR and Elven Assassin make it easy to stay consistent by rewarding style and progression, but In Death and Holopoint largely want to start you from the beginning of each play session.
In a perfect world, you would own all four. Which is your favorite?