Guitar Hero fans: Ever wanted to turn your favorite songs into a high-intensity immersive workout? Soundboxing may be your answer…
Soundboxing is a VR kickboxing game where you physically punch to the beat. Unlike guitar hero, this is a full cardio workout. Strap on the headset and get ready to burn calories as we dive into one of the best VR Fitness games on the HTC Vive.
Those who are familiar with virtual reality will quickly see parallels between Soundboxing, Audioshield, and Box VR. While there are some key differences, it’s worth noting that Audioshield still ranks in the top 10 VR games sold on Steam after it was release nearly a year and a half ago. For those not familiar, there are very few fitness experiences as engaging and rewarding as shadowboxing to your favorite music.
After playing Soundboxing for the first time today, I can see how Job Stauffer lost 50 lbs in 5 months with this as his primary workout. For those wondering, a major difference between Soundboxing and Audioshield is that Audioshield has the player match the right colored shield with the right colored orb. In Soundboxing, you do the same however the game ratchets up the intensity by adding a strength bar which gives you points based on how hard you punch the beat! Another difference is the user-generated content and the simplicity of starting a game. The whole experienced is streamlined so you can move from one song to another without taking a break. Also, you can create playlists, compete in challenges and most importantly create your own workout with your favorite music. For a quick overview, here’s a trailer:
The VR Health Institute has not studied Soundboxing, but their site claims Audioshield burns between 8-10 Calories per minute. Based on this comparison, I should burn 240 to 300 calories during my 30-minute test. This is the equivalent of rowing for 30 minutes. I used my Fitbit Charge 2 to track my progress.
Soundboxing is about getting inside the music. Of the similar games I’ve played this was one of the most intense and most immersive since the beats are user created. I played 5 songs during my time and had to keep reminding myself to breathe.
This felt like a cross between boxing and dancing. I loved having the strength bar to remind me that this workout isn’t just about matching up colors it’s about punching through the notes.
Some songs were more intense than others, but there’s no doubt this is a physically demanding experience. I still hold that Sword Master, Thrill of the Fight and Holopoint are the most intense workouts (since you’re fighting for your life) but this ranks toward the top.
Pro Tip: To burn extra calories get your legs involved! Dance and punch like nobody is watching. Also: Lock the door.
Here are the results of my 30-minute workout:
- Calories burned:289
- Average heart rate:128
- Max heart rate: 151
Wow! This rivaled my Fastest Fist workout in heart rate and actually burned more calories. I attribute most of this to continuing my heart rate through the whole exercise. The playlist feature allowed me to queue up 30 minutes worth of songs and go to the next song without more than a 5-second break. Here’s the playlist I used:
- Manu Chao – Me Gustas Tu (4:00)
- Marcel Cousteau – Wir Tanzen (9:38)
- Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out (3:55)
- Ratatat – Loud Pipes (3:47)
- The Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc. (4:13)
If you notice the playlist was 25:33. This means there was only 3:30 seconds of downtime. This includes setting it up, moving to the next song and me taking off the headset to fix my audio cord.
From a cardio perspective, I loved the arm workout in this game. My arms were already sore from a previous workout, and this finished the job. The songs I played were generated by real people who synced their punches to the beat and used their creativity to keep my arms moving. Having the strength meter constantly remind me to punch with force also helped. Overall this is a great cardio arm workout.
This one is up to you. If you stand it place, then you won’t get much from your legs, but I challenge anyone to play this game without dancing. In addition to being extremely immersive, many of the user-generated beats had me get low and then reach up again. Since I can create my own workouts, I may play with creating a squat workout. Stay tuned.
Core and Balance 6/10
Just as in the legs section, core and balance is up to you. The gist of this game is to punch with your hands, but I can see making a playlist based specifically on moving the user around to get a full core and balance workout.
Time Perception 10/10
It’s already over?! Unlike many workouts, I didn’t want this one to stop. I could see playing for an hour each day and still feel like time flies. Once you’re into the beat, it’s over. All you’re thinking about is the moment.
I intend to add this to my VR Workouts and maybe even replace some existing games. With an unlimited amount of music (it uses youtube) and an unlimited number of workouts for each song (user-generated), you could play the same song over and over again and get tired of the music before getting tired of the workout.
Fitness Scalability 9/10
The beauty of this game is that it can be used as a warm-up, a cool down or a full cardio workout. Songs typically last 3-4 minutes so it’s really up to you how you’d like to scale this. My max heart rate was only 132, but I think I could get it up to 150 or 160 by making a couple of tweaks. Since music is so versatile, you could choose a slow song for cool downs and a fast song for warm-ups. The scalability is almost unlimited.
Lack of Nausea 10/10
This is a standing game for the HTC Vive in which you’re facing the same way the whole time. I felt zero nausea during the 30 minutes. With Job playing for an hour and a half I can’t see this making many people sick and being that you’re physically moving, I’d say it’s a rather safe bet.
Social Competition 7/10
This is a great game for social competition. Leaderboards for each song ensure that you could be the master of an obscure track or you could brag about breaking the top 100 in Gangnam Style. The community focus is heavy in this game. The challenges tab ensures you’ll always find new music and new workouts.
VRFI Fit Score 8.5/10
The ability to create your own beats, use the communities and go from one song to another quickly makes this a must for every VR Workout. I loved the strength bar and the ease of use as well as the challenges. I’d highly recommend this to anyone looking to get into VR Fitness or improve their existing regiment.
One could say the graphics could be better. However, I personally like dancing with a troop of synchronized dancing robots.