Low impact cardio that takes some adjusting before the experience really pays off.
My school was lucky enough to have a ping-pong table, so I was part of our student ping pong league. I learned how to use both pen hold and standard hold, respond to serves, block and all of the fundamentals that make one a great ping pong player. It’s a secret indulgence of mine, not one I claim to be best at but one I’ll always enjoy.
Racket Fury tries its best to recreate the physics of table tennis in a multiplayer experience. While some adjustments are needed in the realistic “Simulation” mode, Racket Fury’s take on ping pong physics can become addicting.
I tracked my workout with my trusty Fitbit Charge 2, which collected data on my heart rate and steps taken. I played eight sets for roughly an hour of playtime, focusing primarily on Championship mode with a bit of practice to start my session and get my bearings. The game is very open-ended, so you can jump right into any form of singleplayer or try out multiplayer gaming.
There are four “leagues” you can compete in, each with four AI opponents that will challenge your skills on the table.
It’s important to note that there are two modes to this game: Arcade and Simulation. Simulation keeps AI assistance to the minimum and requires more setup. Take the time to set paddle angle, speed, spin and other variables. The better tuned your paddle, the more accurate your simulation. I recommend 70-140° for normal hold and around 30° for pen holders. Start with these values and see what feels right for you. For the most authentic result, you should grip a paddle in your hand and get a good feel for the angle that is best for you
Arcade feels excellent out of the box and requires almost no adjustments for a fun experience. I choose not to go this route because the realism of Simulation mode is a fun challenge, but it’s ultimately your choice. Not everyone will enjoy tweaking settings as much as I do, so feel free to choose Arcade if setup becomes too cumbersome.
Each robot looks different and offers some new technique to overcome. Some are great at returns, others are skilled at serves, and some can keep a volley going for a long time. Fortunately, with good ball control, you can pull off some skill shots and sound blocks. You’ll need to pay close attention to the ball’s trajectory and stay light on your feet.
Intensity can be low to moderate depending on how hard your opponent is playing you. I like to stay on the tips of my toes, ready for anything, and I find myself diving and reaching for unexpected shots. Agility is essential, especially on higher difficulty levels where opponents are more unpredictable.
I enjoyed the cardio in Racket Fury because it’s not overly intense. My heart rate hovers right at that fat burning point, I work up a reasonable sweat, but I never feel overexerted. Excellent for a moderate day. Plus, I’m honing a skill.
Calories Burned: 376
Average Heart Rate: 94
Max Heart Rate: 107
Ping pong is about control and focus, not raw power, so this isn’t Thrill of the Fight levels of intensity for your arms. I went through a little more than 60 minutes for this session, but have done previous sessions lasting as long as 90 minutes without feeling winded. Arcade mode allows you to swing for the stands, though, with more accurate power shots. Even with the more lenient controls, there are better experiences to work your arms than Racket Fury.
Table tennis is a surprising leg workout because you’re continually shuffling across your play surface. Flat-footedness not only hurts response time, but it also lessens the workout potential. If you’re not bobbing and weaving, you’re missing an excellent opportunity to get more steps. I clocked 3000+ steps just pacing and moving around the table to react. I appreciate that I’m not putting too much strain on my knees either, a common pain point for pretty much everyone. Especially those who play sports.
Core and Balance 4/10
Racket Fury doesn’t test your core, but you will need balance and agility if you want to hang with the best the game has to offer. You need to be able to move quickly from one side to the other.
I recommend standing at a half squat to keep yourself limber and improve the potential balance benefits that come from stronger legs. I would avoid wearing weights for this game. The best case scenario is that weights slow you down, but the worst case is an unanticipated shift in weight compounded with a vest. Safety first! Stepping in place helps keep you limber, just make sure you’re able to react quickly.
Time Perception 9/10
Dividing game time into sets can help you track how much time you’ve spent working out. A set takes about 5-10 minutes depending on how many points you each score, and whether you end up tied at the end. Deuce rounds are intense. One slip up and you lose everything you work toward that set. Ouch!
The competitive play makes time feel like a breeze. You also gain experience that helps place you in ranked matches online, and some coin to spend on upgrading your character. Buy new fashion accessories and customize your avatar from the workshop when you take breaks.
I felt like Racket Fury wasn’t going to grab me until I found the ideal settings for my paddle. Once I’d zeroed in on the right angle, I was exploring Championship mode and having intense matches that felt natural. Diving saves, flaming power shots. It all feels right but takes some adjustment to get there.
It has multiplayer, but I wasn’t able to find a match.
Offline feels like excellent practice, though, and offers good variability. I find myself crediting the AI with a superb return quite frequently. The game rarely feels like you’ve been cheated, but sometimes does have hit detection issues. It might read a particular hit as too powerful, or miss the paddle entirely even if your eyes perceived the proper depth. Thankfully, these instances are on the rare side.
If Simulation isn’t your thing because the realism makes the game too difficult, Arcade mode offers every feature with assistance to make things feel fair.
Fitness Scalability 6/10
Although it took a while to work up a sweat, I hovered in the fat burning range through most of my playthrough. I had a lot of fun playing a modest intensity game and honing a skill. Although it’s not a game of raw power, more finesse, it feels very satisfying.
I would urge anyone with an affinity for ping pong to give this one a shot. Table tennis gets surprisingly intense, and it’s low impact so you can play for hours at a time. I’ve seen it on sale a few times on Steam as well.
Social Competition 5/10
Multiplayer is there, but I couldn’t find a match. I couldn’t see a league standing either, so it feels like I’m competing in a bit of a vacuum. However, the community is active on Steam and always looking for players. Local testing with my partner in crime suggests that holding paddles at different angles makes setup tricky. Without profiles or configurations to choose from, you need to reconfigure controls everytime you switch players. Oh no!
If playing locally, Arcade mode may be ideal until you both figure out your optimal paddle settings.
VRFI Final Score 7/10
The Good: Physics feel accurate and the AI is challenging. It’s a legit table tennis experience in VR, and the haptics feel pretty nice too. Character customization is a charming extra I don’t need but offers me something to work for as a player. There are some swanky accessories. I would like to nail power shots as well consistently, so I have something to practice.
The Bad: Multiplayer might be dead outside of finding a dedicated opponent. Setup can be intense if you decide to use Simulation mode. I’ve still not found paddle settings I consider to be perfect, just passable. I also wish arenas had more backgrounds. A lot of effort was put into customizing characters, but no unlockable arenas.