B-ballers and basketball fans now have a VR sports game called Nothin’ But Net by What Up Games to play to keep them fit until the NBA playoffs or through the postseason. Players take to the court and play 6 types of basketball games as they actually dribble in place, balance and spin the ball on the controller like a pro, and toss the ball into the net to score 2 and 3-pointers and through other fun obstacles.
Nothin’ But Net is as realistic to basketball as a VR game can get at the technological moment. It’s set on a realistically designed court but isn’t going to have you running up and down it with a team of players, nor can you backboard dunk to yourself like LeBron. Instead, players go solo, can compete with a robot referee/ball collector during games H-O-R-S-E, or see how they stack up against other players in other online modes.
The game is compatible with both Vive and Oculus headsets and can be played in room scale, while standing or sitting. The game’s hoops can be customized to move up or down depending on your height or to shoot baskets more comfortably to where you’re sitting. The game also has the Steam Music Player so you can listen to your favorite workout or training mix to keep your aiming and throwing skills on point.
Nothin’ But Net has not been put to the fitness test by VR Institute of Health and Exercise, but I can tell you that playing it for over 25 minutes had me sweating something fierce (it was really 45 minutes but I forgot to put my FitBit on and had to stop in the middle, so I’ll address data for both below in Intensity).
I used my Oculus Rift for this review and also wore a Fitbit Blaze to track my heart rate and how many calories I scorched. After doing the tutorial, which was super easy, I set off for what would be a really REALLY good time and a surprisingly sweaty workout.
Shooting hoops in Free Throw was my warmup and cool down, while games like Rapid Fire and playing Mix-Up and Power Shot on medium difficulty were my main games for fitness. I shot free throws until I felt confident in both my right and left-hand throw. I personally like to keep things ambidextrous for balance and to keep my left arm as strong and as reflexive as my right.
Then I moved on to Rapid Fire where I took shots, switching between hands, against the timer that varied from 1 to 3 minutes. After that, I played Mix-Up where I shot against the clock at different angles and had to teleport around the court after the timer went off to do it all over again. Next was Power Shot, where I had to throw basketballs through an obstacle hoop to get to the real hoop behind it. This obstacle hoop got taller as time progressed and made it more of a challenge.
Here are the results of my 25-minute workout (really 45 mins):
Calories Burned: 119
Note: My Fitbit Blaze data said I burned 4.8 cals/min. I estimate that I actually burned 216 calories for the 45 mins I played with 20 mins of it not being tracked as I forgot I wasn’t wearing my smartwatch.
Average Heart Rate: 107
Max Heart Rate: 117
Nothin’ But Net is a dominant arm day game that will have you feeling the burn in no time. Players that play basketball in real life will have an easier time at this, while the rest of us VR athletes will get a solid arm, shoulder, and chest workout from flinging basketballs at different angles and lengths away from the net.
Tip: Use the controller’s safety straps, throwing motions are very realistic in this game and you might end up throwing one without them. To get good upper body exercise make sure you’re doing throwing motions with some force behind them and are not underhanding it, this isn’t gym class, yo! I don’t recommend wrist weights for this because there’s so much arm motion adding weight might be too much.
I got a pretty decent leg workout by jumping at the same time I shot the ball at the net. If you stand there and don’t bounce your legs or jump like you’re really throwing a basketball you’re going to get a 1/10 experience. If you shoot basketballs by using the force from your core and legs, you’ll get a lot more muscle tone out of it.
Tip: Using ankle weights in this game could add muscle tone to the legs, but you’ll still need to be attentive to how they make your ankles and legs feel. Be careful not to overdo it and take into consideration past injuries.
Core and Balance 7/10
I tried to tighten my core as I jumped up and took shots which made me feel my abs more than when I tested it by standing in one place and making throws. Faster paced games like Rapid Fire, Mix-Up, and Power Shot will give you a great core and leg workout when you grab the basketball, tighten your abs, and make the shot as you jump and quickly keep making shots. No wonder my Fitbit said I was in the fat burning zone the entire time! Overall, I didn’t ever feel like I was off balance in any way, even with the jumping motions.
Tip: Wearing a weighted vest or belt could help add drag, boost calorie and fat burn, and tones muscles while shooting hoops.
Time Perception 7/10
The game was super fun and took a lot of focus and coordination to throw at the 2 and 3 point lines, at the corners where the net was hard to reach, and when I was timed and had to go faster. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Beat Saber, but I felt like the lack of a soundtrack pulled me away from the game mentally. The Great Jobs, Amazing, and star effects were a great touch and motivating yet the music is what really makes me immerse myself.
Nothin’ But Net has a Steam Music Player to play music files on, but I don’t have mp3’s anymore because Spotify exists. So, I spent my time listening to the echo of basketballs bouncing around on the court and off the backboard, the swish of the net, and Kevin the robot ref’s sounds of disapproval when I beamed him a few times for funsies. I’m sure that a well-curated playlist could make any player lose track of time.
I didn’t get to play their multiplayer version of Free Throw, Rapid Fire, H-O-R-S-E, Knockout, or Team Speed-Ball. So, I’ll definitely be playing the game again for a warm up to another game or as a workout by itself. I also really want to revisit this game with a playlist to distract me from checking the time I spent exercising.
Fitness Scalability 7/10
Nothin’ But Net is a great upper body fitness game that uses the core and legs when the player puts extra effort in using them to shoot free throws, launching balls through obstacles, and at the 2 and 3 point lines. Adding a weighted vest and ankle weights while you play can amp up the fitness factor a few notches when you start playing at higher difficulty levels.
Social Competition 10/10
I’m giving Nothin’ But Net a 10/10 for social competition because it has 6 games that can be played with 2 to 4 people at a time if you’re in online multiplayer mode. Plus, keeping tabs on who has the highest score for any given game can rally up some healthy competition between friends and players online.
VRFI Score 7.7/10
- Customization of the court and player avatar was a great touch, having a music player was a great way to personalize workouts and game time, and having the net easily raised or lowered was super helpful (I’m really short!).
- The graphics were really well done and vibrant, didn’t see any major screen door effect, loved teasing Kevin the happy-angry-ref-bot who picks up all the basketballs for you, and I really enjoyed the variety and difficulty level of games that I could pick from.
- If you drop a ball during timed games like Mix-Up there’s no recouping it. You drop it, it rolls or bounces away until the next switch up.
- Who has mp3’s anymore? Streaming is VR’s future. People are already paying for it! Can Spotify get together with Steam, Oculus, and Vive to make their platforms compatible or so we can stream music the same time we play VR?
- It would be really cool to see a basketball game like this one with full body tracking so players can run up and down a court like a real game.
Check out a trailer of Nothin’ But Net below!