In the left corner, coming here all the way from the North Sea…we have the eight-armed, tea drinking, cephalopod of a man. He’s mean, he’s nonchalant. Let’s give it up for Octopunch!
And in the right corner! We have the challenger. A Vive wand wielding, quick punch shielding, never yielding real life human…also known as…YOU!
Take your places and let’s keep it fair. Today we’re reviewing Knockout League!
Those who are familiar with virtual reality know that full room scale experiences tend to work up a sweat. Over the past few years we’ve reviewed some of the most intense VR experiences such as Thrill of the Fight, The Fastest Fist and Mech League Boxing but today we look into one of the top-rated VR fitness games for the HTC Vive.
For those new to VR, the game starts with a tutorial and is very easy to pick up. You’ll be trained by Doug Johnson who, in case you’ve never heard of him, is the greatest fighter who has ever lived.
Knockout League is a cartoony boxing sim that pits you against a sizable cast of unique fighters with special abilities. With the ability to block, punch and train it’s sure to top the list for VR Fitness enthusiasts. Scroll down to read about my 30-minute test.
For a quick overview, here’s a trailer:
The VR Health Institute claims Knockout League burns between 8-10 Calories per minute. Based on this comparison, I should burn 240 to 300 calories during my 30-minute test. This is the equivalent of rowing for 30 minutes. I used my Fitbit Charge 2 to track my progress.
Knockout League is about delivering quality punches and discovering the weaknesses of each opponent. Some opponents are more difficult than others but by punching without hitting a physical object you’re more or less shadowboxing which makes this a decent cardio workout.
Though there was a little more time than I would want to stand around due to knocking the opponent down or waiting on a menu this can be sidestepped by running in place or doing jumping jacks during downtime (see what I did there?)
While there is some downtime there are also moments of incredible burst where my heart rate spiked. Below are the results of my workout:
Pro Tip: To burn extra calories get your legs involved! Run in place. Move side to side.
Here are the results of my 30-minute workout:
- Calories burned:271
- Average heart rate:124
- Max heart rate: 143
This rivaled my Fastest Fist workout in heart rate and actually burned more calories. I attribute most of this to continuing my heart rate through the whole exercise by running in place and punching more than I blocked. Adding a weighted vest or doing a warm-up exercise would have likely increased these stats.
From a cardio perspective, the arm workout in this game is solid. Though Thrill of the Fight is still the most intense arm workout I’ve played Knockout League certainly did the job. This is a good low impact cardio workout for the arms. Wrist weights are not recommended as awkward punches could damage joints.
This is decided by how much you use your legs. There is no actual leg workout in the game but if you run in place and pretend it’s a real match your legs will get some attention. Bend and rotate through your punches and never stop moving.
Core and Balance 6/10
Just as in the legs section, core and balance is up to you. The gist of this game is to punch but by rotating through your punches and flexing your abs your core won’t be ignored. As a fun thought, try fighting on one leg at a time if you’re looking to engage your core. I haven’t tried it but might be worth a shot.
Time Perception 9/10
Matches go pretty quick depending on how you’re doing. Since I was fighting for my life I didn’t have time to think about time. My main focus was on trying to figure out how not to die and the weakness of the opponent.
This is a great stand-in for Fastest Fist or Audioshield. This is definitely one of the more polished titles for the HTC Vive and with a large cast of characters, there’s a good amount of replay value as a workout.
Fitness Scalability 7/10
This game functions as an upper body workout with a decent wait time for action. If you’re looking to make a playlist, there might be better games, as the breaks slow down the pace of the workout. But if you’re looking for an awesome arcade-style boxing sim to play for 30 minutes Knockout League is perfect. As an added bonus each match gives you an estimated calorie burn total as well.
Lack of Nausea 10/10
This is a standing game for the HTC Vive in which you’re facing the same way the whole time. I felt zero nausea during my 30 minutes workout.
Social Competition 3/10
Without multiplayer, it’s hard to score this game high on the social competition. With that being said, feel free to invite your friends over and place bets on who can beat Octopunch.
VRFI Fit Score 8.5/10
Knockout League is an intense well-polished VR boxing game. The large list of characters and unique abilities adds to the depth of the game and both punching and blocking feel very natural.
Your wall/fist may not be happy if you get to close to the wall boundaries. Make sure you have the chaperone on for this one.