VR tends to stick to three core game types. Shooting, melee weapon combat, and boxing of some form or another. Of those three, the boxing ones seem to be the easiest to nail. Seems is the word to key on here because although we have such outstanding boxing titles like Thrill of the Fight and Knockout League, there are always going to be some not so stellar entries. Unfortunately, Fighting Clans falls under the latter category.
The basic idea of Fighting Clans is an intriguing one. You’re a street fighter and you need to win fights. That’s my estimation of what’s going on here at least as there’s no story to make note of. There are three levels, three enemies to fight and that’s it. This would be okay since it’s a low priced title at $7.99 but the problems come to light in the extremely bare-bones gameplay. Where-as some VR boxing or fighting games will have some sort of gimmick to rely on to shield itself from showing its’ budget, Fighting Clans has nothing to speak of.
You boot up the game and you’re greeted with a gritty main menu to set the tone with options to adjust graphics and effects. Your options for fighting once you start though are limited to say the least. This being a street fight, you’d expect some street fighting tactics to be allowed like maybe using weapons or smashing peoples’ heads off of the hood of a car or something. Here though, it’s basically just a boxing match…for you at least. See, while you only have access to punches, your enemies can unleash an awkward-looking kick at any moment. It makes the already basic gameplay feel just cheap at points and given that this is a short experience to begin with, it gives you little motivation to keep going when your opponents have access to attacks that you don’t. You can still block, and counter-attack as you would in most VR fighting games, but here the combat feels poorly realized.
Your arms are impossible to customize lengthwise so you immediately feel awkward unless your arms happen to match the short-armed hero who may be part dinosaur based on how short his arms appear to be. Because of this misstep, your punches feel impact-less and often don’t even appear to damage the enemy. Meanwhile, your blocking rarely works as it should and the only effective way to take your three enemies down is with an overhead hammer punch that feels ridiculous to use but the AI seems incapable of blocking it. There’s a skeleton here for something fun, but it’s difficult to understand why the game would be released in its’ current state. Fighting Clans has a volume 3 next to its’ title and it makes you wonder what 1&2 were like.
I used 1-pound Weighted gloves during my time with Fighting Clans to get the best workout I could. It is a game that allows you to move around a bit so if you have space, room-scale is an option
I tracked my 30-minute workout in Fighting Clans using a Fitbit to record my workout session.
Calories burned: 270
Calories burned per minute: 9
Average Heart Rate: 117
Max Heart Rate: 148
Active Minutes: 26
the calorie burn was fantastic, I have to admit it got very tedious, very quickly as fighting the same three enemies over and over just got boring and I resorted to switching the speed of which I’d attack every ten seconds so I gave myself an interval-style workout. I tried to knock out each opponent as fast as I could and I managed to knock out 10 total in 30 minutes of playtime.
If there’s one thing that Fighting Clans succeeds it’s providing an arm workout. Your only real option for fighting here is with punches, so I hope you did some stretching before giving this one a go. You really can punch however you’d like, though I found a lot of my normal punches either wouldn’t track properly or fail to connect on impact. Regardless, my arms were swinging away at my back alley dance partner and these guys take quite an amount of punishment before getting knocked out. You can block as well, but it’s disappointing that no option to grab your opponent up close and deliver some headbutts or uppercuts from that position. This is still an intensive arm workout though it’s not a very enjoyable one. There are other titles out there that give far more entertainment to go along with their workout.
During your fights, you will have the opportunity to duck punches and if you want to get really ambitious, you can jump the cheap kicks that your opponent will throw at you at any given time. That being said, nothing in the game really requires you to use your legs, though to be fair, Fighting Clans doesn’t ask you to do a whole lot in general
Boxing is one of the most core intensive exercises you can do, so despite Fighting Clans’ other shortcomings, a legitimate core workout awaits here as you’ll be asked to dodge and dip out of the way aplenty if you’re going to avoid taking mass amounts of damage. Punching will also give you some good burn in the abs as well if you’re getting low to deliver jabs.
Time Perception- 3/10
There may be a total of 20 minutes to the gameplay, so depending on how much you enjoy it, I suppose you could play it over and over. There isn’t nearly enough variety here to justify long playthroughs here at the moment, though this is an early access game that will likely be updated in the future.
If your idea of a good time is beating up muscled men in dark alleyways then Fighting Clans may be your only solace on VR at the moment, but there are plenty of other experiences that are similar with far more polish that deserve your attention instead.
Fitness Scalability- 6/10
There are two ways to approach fights in Fighting Clans. Swing like a maniac and dodge in and out of the attack area or hang back and be calculating and let your enemies come to you. This gives it the ability to be approached for either a casual workout or a more intense one. Either way, the experience doesn’t last long.
Lack of Nausea- 9/10
There’s very little going on visually in Fighting Clans and your movement is static, so no teleporting or locomotion to cause dizziness. The lighting is a bit unsettling and rightly so based on the setting, but there isn’t much here that will cause any kind of sickness.
Social Competition- 1/10
There is no social competition to speak of. You can time yourself and see how quickly you can beat the three levels and share it with your friends, but that is about it.
VR FIT SCORE- 5.3/10
Fighting Clans is a gritty back-alley brawler that inspires to add something different to the crowded VR boxing scene. There will be updates to expand upon the gameplay. It gives a decent arm and core workout if you allow yourself to get fully into the gameplay loop.
Compared to its’ contemporaries, Fighting Clans is unpolished and the simple mechanics often don’t work well enough to get the experience across. Only three levels of basically the same fight over and over again.
Fighting Clans is available for $7.99 on Steam and playable on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.