Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out has come a long way…
Mech League Boxing is a VR boxing game, where you can train, equip gear and take out all your aggression on massive robots in a tournament style arena. This is a full cardio workout that would make 2D Mike Tyson proud. Fire up your headset and get ready to burn some calories as we punch our way through another great VR Boxing sim for the HTC Vive.
Those who are familiar with virtual reality may have heard of titles such as Thrill of the Fight, Drunken Bar Fight, and Knockout League. These boxing sims are among the most cardio intense VR games on the market and Mech League Boxing certainly fits the mold.
If this is one of your first introductions to VR, then you’re in for a good time. The game begins with a tutorial that shows you how to punch, block, pick up weapons and counter. From here you can train in a common room with speed bags, punching bags, and weapons.
A key difference between Mech League and the other games listed is the arena and fighting style. In Mech League, you’re a robot who can grab weapons located in the ring as well as perform special counter moves by throwing the correct punch at the right time. Also unique to Mech League is a calorie counter that estimates how much energy was used in each match. Of the boxing sims, the play-style most similarly resembles Knockout League.
For a quick overview of the gameplay, here’s a trailer:
The VR Health Institute has not studied Mech League Boxing, but their site 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.
Mech League Boxing takes an absurd, over the top, approach to boxing. You’ll be guarding against robots of different skill levels and abilities ranging from leaping punches to deadly flying pies. Of the similar games, I’ve played this was on par with intensity but added a fun aesthetic twist to the environment.
The reason it doesn’t rate higher is because of the downtime. For instance, the counter punch system and stun meter are really great but knocking an opponent back or stunning them out of reach meant having to wait up to 3 seconds before resuming the match. I was able to counter this by jogging in place and doing jumping jacks.
Some matches were more intense than others, but there’s no doubt this is a physically demanding experience.
When an opponent swings and misses you can counter punch to knock them back
Here are the results of my 30-minute workout:
- Calories burned:237
- Average heart rate:132
- Max heart rate: 147
This game was a lot of fun, and at certain points, I definitely needed a breather. Adding a weighted vest would have helped a lot in increasing my max heart rate and keeping my average up.
The arms workout is good in this game. I especially liked the ability to warm up in the common area with the speed bag and punching bag. Since this game is effectively shadow boxing, the arm workout is pretty decent.
The leg workout in Mech League Boxing comes down to how much you put into it. Doing jumping jacks and running in place is a must. Unlike Thrill of the Fight, which encourages you to move around the ring, Mech League puts a box around you to help keep you from punching walls. If this bothers you, then the box can also be turned off.
Core and Balance 5/10
Just as in the legs section, core and balance are up to you. Wearing a weighted vest and rotating through your punches will help activate more muscle groups as you work out.
Time Perception 7/10
Time moved pretty fast in this game. There are several opponents to face, so I used the time between each match to work on the punching bag and keep my heart rate up. Overall the graphics and fast-paced nature of the game made time move quickly.
Mech League Boxing is a nice addition to any VR workout regime. Especially if you’ve played a lot of Knockout League or Thrill of the Fight and you’re looking for some new aesthetics. The addition of weapons and counter moves also adds a new flavor to the genre.
Fitness Scalability 9/10
Once you get through the tutorial, the experience is relatively streamlined. This game can be used as a full cardio workout, or it could be a 5-10 minute warm-up where you just use the punching bags in the common area. Regardless, Mech League deserves a spot on any playlist.
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 didn’t feel any nausea during my 30-minute workout.
Social Competition 7/10
There is a local leader-board, but there is currently no ability to box other players. If you’re looking for a social element, invite some friends over or call up your local VR Arcade and see if they have this game. Watching your friends play will certainly make for an amusing time.
VRFI Fit Score 8.5/10
The humor, graphics, and style of Mech League Boxing separate it from the other boxing sims. The tutorial and common area make this easy for those new to VR and allows VR Fitness enthusiasts to quickly get into the action. Though my Fitbit disagreed with the calorie counter in the game, it’s great to see the developers incorporating this estimate into gameplay.
Due to the nature of the matches, I found myself jogging in place and doing jumping jacks to keep my heart rate up while I waited for my opponent to re-engage me. I also played on lightweight, so the higher skill levels may negate this.