Racquetball will never be the same…
Racket NX is a high speed, psychedelic combination of the classic arcade game breakout and racquetball. Clear some space and stretch your arms as we break down Racket NX available for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality.
For those new to VR, this is an incredible experience. Everything you love about racquetball inside a tron like world that many reviewers compare to being inside a pinball machine. For veteran VR players this game is similar to Super Pixel Smash and Holoball. Where those games are fun and unique in their own right Racket NX uses the full 360-degree field of vision and seems to be the most polished and physically accurate of the sample. In addition to a multiplayer element, as your game progresses, the custom soundtrack picks up the pace and automatically adjusts to make the moment more intense.
I had a lot of fun with this game. To see my 30-minute workout results scroll down. For a quick snapshot of the gameplay, here’s a trailer:
The VR Health Institute claims Racket RX should burn between 4-6 Calories per minute which is roughly the same as riding an elliptical. Based on this comparison, I should burn 120 to 180 calories during my 30-minute test. I used the Fitbit Blaze to track my progress.
This was a great low impact workout. Succeeding in Racket RX is all about quick reactions and keeping the ball going. The harder you hit the faster the ball moves so I highly recommend keeping up the pace. Since the game has a bit of a pinball element to it the ball will sometimes take a moment to come back but stay alert and swing hard to get the most out of your workout.
Here are the results of my 30-minute session:
- Calories burned: 227
- Average heart rate:125
- Max heart rate: 138
This was nice…I definitely worked up a sweat and once I started applying a couple tricks I actually burned more calories than what the VR Health Institute had suggested. This is likely due to a technique that I adapted which I’ll discuss in the legs section.
This is an asymmetrical arm workout. If you’d like you can switch racket hands every so often to make sure each arm gets equal use. It really pays to put everything you can into hitting the ball. It’s easy to just bat it back and forth but if you want a real arm workout you gotta give it everything you got.
This is where things get interesting. Playing this game generically, you’re going to be constantly spinning. This is awesome as it used the full 360 degrees of your VR headset. To increase the burn, I added a couple extra wrinkles:
- I jogged in place. I never let my heart-rate go down even when I was waiting for the ball to return.
- Every third hit, I would let the ball go over my head and do a squat. I think this was the magic that helped me beat the recommendation from the VRHI.
Combining these two bonus tactics could turn this score into an 8. At base, I’d give the leg workout a solid 6.
Core and Balance 6/10
Core and balance comes down to your form. If you rotate through the ball, spin around and do squats (like mentioned above) you’ll get a good core workout. If you just slap the ball around gingerly you’re not likely to get results in this area.
Time Perception 7/10
Time went by decently quick. I think the music helped and getting into the zone really placed me the moment. This game requires a lot of focus which in turn makes time fly.
This is a pretty addictive game. Especially with the added multiplayer element I could see playing this competitively. Though my Vive area is a little too small to play this every day it will definitely help with getting ready for tennis season. Plus the music is awesome.
Fitness Scalability 6/10
This is a beautiful game and a good workout. I can see adding this as a cool down to my existing VR Workouts and combining it with squats to make for a nice warm-up. By adding a weighted vest, doing squats or running in place you could easily make this into a warm up, cool down or a medium cardio workout.
Lack of Nausea 10/10
Nausea in VR is typically due to the environment moving while you sit or stand stationary. Since this uses the full 360 degree view of the headset and requires a lot of movement I felt no motion sickness.
Social Competition 9/10
Like other games, Racket NX has a high score leader board but what makes this workout unique is it’s multiplayer element. Racket NX touts itself as a true eSport and though I have not demoed this aspect of the game I can imagine it’s pretty awesome. Check out the video above to see it in action.
VRFI Fit Score 7.7/10
Racket NX has a gorgeous design, fast tempo soundtrack and spot-on physics. The game can be enjoyed alone or as a multiplayer showdown. The pinball element is a fun twist and using the full field of view puts it ahead of games like Super Pixel Smash and Holoball. I highly recommend this as a conventional warm up or cool down.
Smashing your walls. You don’t have to have a large area to play this game but I would highly suggest keeping away from the walls while you play. To get the most out of this workout you need to swing hard and to do so safely please make sure you prep your play space.