When it comes to the rhythm genre of VR games, it becomes tough after a while to truly distinguish one from the other. There are the titans of this genre which include Beat Saber, Audioshield and the most recent additions to this have been Kongfusion and X-booster. All of them have one thing in common other than being rhythm games. They did something different. They all had a little tweak to the normal gameplay that made you say “Oh, this is something worth paying attention to”. While a lot of games come in the rhythm genre of VR, most of them go just as quickly because they just decided to copy what came before them without adding any sort of unique twist of their own. So, what about Move It Up? Does it stand out amongst the ever-growing crowd of rhythm VR games? Or is it just another copy in the sea of clones? The answer lies somewhere in between.
So, the setup of Move It Up is something you’ve seen before. You’re given multiple weapons to choose from, although from what I could tell, each one acts the same exact way and is nothing more than a visual change which was disappointing. As with most rhythm games, you have to hit color-coded symbols, but with Move it up there’s a bit more to it. While the symbols start out normally, higher difficulties have them rotating constantly testing your concentration and when you go on a streak, the whole level kicks into overdrive and you’re treated to some crazy visuals and lighting effects. On the hardest difficulties, you will see an immediate increase in symbols and this will kick the workout into overdrive as well.
You start at the main menu and immediately you’re shown a ton of different play options which was a nice touch right off the bat. You’ve got solo mode, campaign, and then the standout is battle. Solo mode has you customizing what song you want to pick as well as the difficulty level you want to play it on. There are three difficulty modes you can choose from, easy, normal, and hard and the gameplay varies wildly between each. Campaign mode has you completing each song on easy mode and then unlocking the other difficulties as you beat them. This isn’t too thrilling though because the song selection is pretty mediocre with some songs being truly unlistenable. I wasn’t really engaged in this mode because easy mode offers very little challenge and you have to get through nearly an hour of playtime to unlock the next round which doesn’t feel worth it to me.
The main event of Move it up though is the battle mode. I’ve been pining to get more multiplayer features in the rhythm game world and move it up has answered the call. How it works is each player competes on one song and you have a health pool of 100. Each time a player misses a note, your health lowers and the winner is whoever survives the longest or whoever has the most health when the song ends. If you go on big streaks not missing a note, for example, you can unlock abilities that can be used against your opponent to make it harder for them or to damage their health pool. This back and forth between two players is great fun and I wish that it had been given the center of the attention from developers instead of just some side content. It’s not all rosy there though as it seems like the songs are locked from being chosen or voted on so you will find yourself playing the same song against other players over and over again which gets old and boring pretty quickly.
The presentation is pretty nice though as you have a full music video playing in the background of whatever song you’re playing and you have the basic UI of the game playing in front of it. It’s a pretty dazzling affair that can be visually overwhelming at times, but I appreciated it because it looks like so much passion and work went into keeping you engaged that I’m not gonna knock it.
Like most rhythm games, you’re going to want a 360-degree area to be completely clear around you as the icons in this game that you must hit tend to be crazy far out compared to most titles in the genre
I recorded my 30-minute workout on a Fitbit with a Samsung Odyssey Plus Windows Mixed Reality Headset.
Calories burned: 290
Calories burned per minute: 6
Average Heart Rate: 119
Max Heart Rate: 126
Active Minutes: 22
I thought this was pretty refreshing with how difficult it was and the workout intensity was and I worked up quite a sweat over my time playing move it up. I thought the easier difficulty wasn’t much of a challenge, but even the normal mode was decently tough. I found the multiplayer to be the most calorie burning feature of the game though and a lot will hinge upon whether or not you can consistently find players to play against or not. The intensity of facing another player is palpable and it’s a fun experience that other VR rhythm games should look to emulate.
This one is a hell of a workout for your arms. While most rhythm games ask a decent amount of your arm muscles, this one has you stretch and reach in directions that aren’t usually used in other games of the genre, and because of that, your shoulders are going to be heavily involved. While you don’t have to hit the icons hard to score them, sometimes you’ll be asked to follow a loop that’s connected to different icons and this often results in you doing a swirling motion with your arms that can become doubled on harder difficulties and doing these for a decent amount of time can be quite tiring.
I was disappointed with how little my legs were involved within Move It Up. Where games like other rhythm games ask you to occasionally duck or even jump out of the way of obstacles, Move it Up simply asked for you to hit some notes and doesn’t really involve your legs at all. The one way they become engaged is when you move around the play space to hit icons that might be out of reach otherwise. There is one thing you can do to change this though if you go into the settings you can change the height of the icons and where they come at you, so this would allow you to squat while playing which turns it into a much more effective leg workout.
Core – 7/10
On the lower difficulties, it doesn’t feel like your core gets much work at all, but as you raise them to their hardest, you will definitely feel those muscles get to work. The primary way this happens is through all the twisting and reaching you will do during gameplay to hit the icons coming at you. Depending on the song you’re doing, you will have to hit notes to the beat that’s happening and on the hardest difficulty, this might involve a crazy stream of hits that have you twisting and reaching and swinging all over the place and will quickly get those muscles involved.
Time Perception – 7/10
Most rhythm games tend to hook into you and not let go until you’ve finished the song. That is and isn’t the case with Move It Up simultaneously. During your time with the single-player experience of Move It Up, there feels like very little incentive to push on through the campaign as every song is available in every difficulty mode in the solo mode, so I don’t quite understand the point of the campaign to begin with. That being said, the versus mode completely grips you because of the simple fact you’re facing another opponent and no matter what the game is, if you’re a competitive spirit like me, you always want to win. The cool part about versus is it will throw songs at you until you or your opponent has your health pool depleted, which means if you’re both masters of the game, prepare to sweat it out as the game only lets up when you decide to.
Replayability – 6/10
While most games in the rhythm genre are addicting and can be played over and over, Move It Up doesn’t quite satisfy that as much as its contemporaries do. The reason is the relatively sparse song list to play through and the inability to upload your own music into the games beat map which at this point is kind of hard to get past as just about every other rhythm game in VR has managed to figure this part out. There could be more in the future coming to Move It Up, but right now it seems to only be a one-trick pony which is the multiplayer.
Fitness Scalability – 8/10
One area where Move It Up excels mightily is in its’ fitness scalability. The difficulty changes from easy to hard mode are pretty insane and I’ll be honest, the hard mode beat me down pretty bad and I had a tough time completing any of the songs on that mode. It requires insanely fast reflexes and just a couple of miscues will result in a song failed for you. I managed to get halfway through a few before I just ran out of energy to focus. It’s truly one of the more intense workouts in VR that I’ve experienced
Lack of Nausea – 8/10
The visual experience in Move It Up is pretty unique in that it shows you a music video of whatever song you’re playing along with the normal visual assault of colored orbs and special effects going on all around you. I didn’t experience too much dizziness or nausea while playing, though the hard mode certainly upped that feeling a bit as everything is amped up 100 percent and notes come flying at you and just the very physical nature of it all can make you feel a bit sick. Overall I found it to be a very smooth experience that had very little feelings of nausea accompanying it.
Social Competition- 9/10
Though it’s pretty basic, the multiplayer of Move It Up is the one thing it has on a ton of other games just like it. One on one rhythm matches are an incredible thing that seems simple to include, but most developers have not done that. The health pool is a clever way to make it feel more like a fight than a dance and the song to song cycle that doesn’t give up until one of you falls is pretty creative and a great way to get an awesome workout going with a complete stranger.
VR Fit Score- 7.4/10
Move It Up mixes the generic rhythm game experience with some new and exciting features that make it stand out at times amongst its peers. The visuals are elaborate and it’s clear a lot of care went into putting this game together. The songs are synced nicely with the icons on the screen and it really feels like you’re playing along to the beat during your playtime. The health pool is a unique addition to the genre that feels like it could be copied by other games of its ilk going forward. It’s an affordable game as well that can easily be picked up for a few minutes and put down without dampening the experience.
The multiplayer is incredibly fun and hopefully becomes a staple in the rhythm game genre.
The song list is pretty short and the music within isn’t anything to write home about. The visuals while impressive at first, never really change from song to song. The campaign mode seems a bit pointless as all songs are unlocked from the get-go as is. There are options for different weapons, but they are all effectively the same thing so it feels like flash with no sizzle. There is also no option to invite a friend in multiplayer making it impossible to play with anyone but a stranger.
Move It Up is available on Steam for $14.99 and playable on Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, and HTC Vive headsets.