As Bruce Lee says, “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like Virtual Reality.”
Ok, I might have miss-quoted Mr. Lee on that, however, you can quote me as saying The Fastest Fist is among the best VR Fitness games currently available for the HTC Vive. In this fast-paced boxing trainer sim you spar against a Bruce Lee look-a-like performing standard hook, jab and uppercut mitt work:
The VR Health Institute claims this game burns between 6-8 Calories per minute meaning that I should burn 180 to 240 calories during my 30-minute test. This is the equivalent of playing 30 minutes of tennis…with my fists. I used my Fitbit Charge 2 to track my progress.
The Fastest Fist is all about form. If you’ve never taken a boxing class or do not understand the basic motions of a hook, jab, cross, and uppercut then I’d recommend either watching videos or taking a class to get the most out of this game. Or just play. That’s cool too.
Unlike real mitt work, you’re effectively shadowboxing. This means you’ll burn more calories since you’re not actually making contact with anything. With that being said, make sure not to hyper-extend your joints. Squeeze your core and focus on being ‘like water my friend.’ Oh yeah, and don’t forget to breathe.
The first 2 rounds get you warmed up and used to the mechanics of punching. In the 3rd round, your trainer starts throwing random hooks and jabs at you. This will test your fast twitch instincts as there’s little warning.
Pro Tip: Watch his shoulders. If they start to rotate block or dodge.
He’ll jab from the left or the right. If he jabs from the left, dodge to the right and vice versa. Don’t get down on yourself if you get hit. It’s extremely hard to dodge these jabs. You can also block instead of dodging. If you choose to block you’ll only lose 2 points instead of 20 when being hit. Unless you’re Manny Pacquiao you’ll likely lose some points here.
Here are the stats from my 30-minute workout:
- Calories burned:225
- Average heart rate:130
- Max heart rate: 145
Not bad! I was amazed how quickly time past. I got lost for a while and came back covered in sweat.
Being that this is a boxing sim, the workout for the arms is decent. Let’s not compare this to lifting weights but from a cardio perspective, it gets the job done. Make sure you throw true punches by bringing your arms back to your torso and rotating through the punch. No namby-pamby gamer punches. Really push yourself. If you want an added challenge, try using wrist weights. Of course, make sure to use them correctly. No one wants damaged joints.
In this game, you’re always faced in the same direction. Naturally, it seems, there’s little you can do with your legs here. Wrong. Fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee. This is a WORKOUT. Run in place; keep your legs moving; twist while you punch. Get into the flow and, for an added bonus, each time your trainer swings at you duck low. Keep those legs going.
Core and Balance 5/10
Similarly with the legs, since we’re facing forward there isn’t a ton of core movement. We need to focus on flexing the abs and rotating our hip through the punch. Just like with legs, if you do duck low each time your trainer throws a punch that will help keep the core engaged and keep the calorie burn going.
Time Perception 9/10
Time flies. I’m routinely amazed that the 5-10 minutes warmups we usually use for The Fastest Fist seems to be over as soon as they begin. During my 30 minute workout, I completely lost track of time. When the alarm went off I was shocked.
This game is a must for VR workouts. At Sphere, we like to use it as a 5-10 minute warmup. This allows it to remain fun without being repetitive. For those who enjoy boxing, this can easily take up a 30 or 60-minute workout. To keep it fresh, I recommend pairing it as a warm up to Thrill of the Fight.
Fitness Scalability 9/10
Being that we originally used The Fastest Fist as a warm-up I can see the benefit of adding the game as an extended workout. I plan on trying it for 60 minutes to see if I can keep it going. If it doesn’t get boring and time flies as fast at it did for 30 minutes this would be a quick way to burn 500-700 calories.
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. If you get nausea from playing this game I suggest avoiding airplanes, cars and walking.
Social Competition 3/10
There is no leader-board or social element to this game. With that being said, feel free to invite your friends to your house or local VR Fitness Gym and cheer/hound them. Also, I’d recommend doing this at a VR Fitness Arcade or buying leather face covers. If you use the standard foam face cushion your friends aren’t likely to want to share.
VRFI Fit Score 8/10
The Fastest Fist is among our Guests favorite VR Fitness games at Sphere. It’s simple to learn, easy to get into and starts quickly. The tactile feedback of the controllers might not be the same as hitting a real mitt but everyone seems to agree that it feels like you’re actually hitting something. And that feels cool.
Saying anything bad about this game would be nitpicking. It does exactly what it’s supposed to and the only knock is no leaderboard.