Focus your Chi and be one with the dragon’s pulse, my friend. Also, remember to plug in every night. You’re not just a ninja…you’re a ninja cyborg.
Sairento VR is a bullet time hack and slash shooter where you play the role of a ninja assassin who can slow down time while you jump from structure to structure. Ready your sword and gun. We’re burning bad guys and calories (cringe.)
Those who are familiar with virtual reality are used to first-person shooters and sword games by now. While there’s a ton of “defend” your territory games on the Steam marketplace, Sairento mixes gun and swordplay with the cool mechanic of slow-motion bullet time.
For those not familiar with VR, Sairento is a lot to jump into for a first-time player. There’s nothing easy about killing a room full of highly competent cyborg guards and I died more times than is acceptable for a veteran VR player.
Using Sairento as a VR workout can be a challenge. You die a lot, much of the game is slow motion teleporting and if you use a gun it’s almost impossible to get your heart rate up. With that being said, there are some tricks to make Sairento VR into a mild VR workout packed full of adrenaline. For a quick overview, here’s a trailer:
The VR Health Institute has not studied Sairento VR, but their site claims Sword Master burns between 4-6 Calories per minute and Raw Data burns 2-4. My goal is to be more Sword Master and less Raw Data. Based on this comparison, I should burn 60 to 180 calories during my 30-minute test. This is the probably the widest range I’ve seen and I’m going to try to invent some tricks to keep my heart rate up. I used my Fitbit Charge 2 to track my progress.
I want to clarify Sairento VR is an INTENSE game. This rating is for the physical intensity, not gameplay intensity. I kept my heart rate up higher than I expected but much of that was mostly due to the adrenaline of the situation and the short bursts of extreme movement. To make this into a workout I did the unthinkable. I put away my gun. That’s right, I only used my sword which meant I went between floating in the air to catch my breath to swinging my controller as fast as I could. Of the similar games, I’ve played this was the most unique for fitness. There’s something to sprint hitting for 3 seconds, resting for 3-5 seconds and then doing it again. Towards the end of the workout, I felt like I had succeeded in my efforts.
Pro Tip: Jump behind the guards and hit them as fast as you can.
Here are the results of my 30-minute workout:
- Calories burned:129
- Average heart rate:105
- Max heart rate: 121
So though this may not be a heavy hitter in the VR Exercise realm like Thrill of the Fight it wasn’t a waste of time either. I got to feel like a ninja for 30 minutes while at the same time I burned off some of my breakfast. Comparing the experience and the calories of playing a bullet time ninja shooter with a gamepad would be laughable. This was a great deal of fun and it kept my adrenaline going the whole time.
Because of the quick movements followed by rest, I actually did find my arms getting a little tired toward the end. I do not recommend wrist weights as swinging a sword wildly could damage joints. I prefer The Fastest Fist, Thrill of the Fight or Skyrim VR with a brawler build for VR arm workouts but this was fun and unique.
Toward the end, I started trying something different. When I landed to attack a guard I squatted down and swung at their legs. This was not extremely effective from a game perspective but from a workout perspective, I think it added a great deal of movement. It also felt cool when I launched back into the air from my squat.
Core and Balance 5/10
By itself, there isn’t a lot of core and balance despite being a ninja. However, adding the squats from the legs section and the quick sword swinging did add some core elements. I could see using this playstyle to add some points. As always, when swinging a sword hit with your hip and squeeze your abs for the best core results.
Time Perception 8/10
Sairento VR is a fun game. Period. The half-hour went by quickly and it really places you in the moment in a live or die scenario.
Anytime I want to be a ninja this will be my goto game. Though the mechanics are repetitive the gameplay is exhilarating. Launching through the air in slow motion and landing behind your enemy as you cut down their legs will never get old.
Fitness Scalability 5/10
I don’t think Sairento VR is a standalone VR workout. It could very much be a cool down to a full VR workout or just a casual fitness experience. If you’re looking to stay in shape with Sairento you’ll need to add some other games around it. With that being said, playing the game for the sake of it being an awesome game is enough and with VR you get the added benefit of not only playing a game but also burning some calories and working out your arms, core, and legs at the same time.
Lack of Nausea 10/10
This is a standing game for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. I felt zero nausea during the 30-minute session.
Social Competition 3/10
The Devs mentioned in late 2017 they were looking to add daily challenges and leaderboards. Though a great addition this is a single player game and other than leaderboards or having your friends come over and be ninjas together its best to remain that way. It’s a great game for what it is and if it ever went to fully multiplayer we might never leave VR.
VRFI Fit Score 6.6/10
Sairento VR is an exhilarating, adrenaline filled hack and slash with some basic VR Fitness building blocks. With the unique style of quick hitting followed by rest and repeat, I think there is room for this at the end of any VR workout.
To criticize this game would be ridiculous. From a fitness perspective, there are more intense games but if you’re looking to escape for a bit into a world where you can fly through the air and strike down a room full of cyborgs then I suggest giving it a try.