Training for better hand-eye coordination is essential in the modern age. Everything from driving to typing requires dexterity and improving it only helps us in other avenues. You might become a better cook because you’re handier with a knife. You might find your handwriting improving, or your grip tightening. There are all sorts of small improvements that come from learning how to use our hands better, and from keeping those muscles worked out.
VR can be an excellent platform for such games, especially with rhythm games that tap into the part of our brain responsible for hand-eye coordination. We’ve written before about Audioshield, an excellent rhythm game where players use shields to block incoming attacks of sound, but Soundboxing seems to encourage ambidextrous training. With a nearly limitless library of songs and challenges, it might be the next addition to your library.
What is Soundboxing?
Soundboxing is a VR kickboxing-based game that tries to leave users with the inspiration to dance. It would be difficult to leave a session without a bit of movement and dancing, and it might help some of us improve our skills on the dance floor. It’s designed for the Vive, so it relies heavily on hand tracking to make sure you’re hitting targets perfectly (which improves your score).
Where Soundboxing shines is in the UGC, or user-generated content. Admittedly, UGC can be hit or miss. Some users are excellent designers who intuitively understand how the game works and why we hit certain beats or targets the way we do. Others create troll levels that are just designed for difficulty and tears, while others make levels too simple and easy to really push us into a sweat. Finding that “perfect” difficulty might be a challenge for some.
That said, there’s an endless library of music to choose from and an active community of users who rate content. Beginners on the scene can find highly rated songs from popular artists to enhance their experience beyond what’s in the box, so to speak. That easy sharing system will encourage you and your friends to make and share your own challenges, with a light price tag (just $7.99 at time of writing) to keep the entry bar low.
This is very reminiscent of DDR style rhythm games from the arcades in the 90s or more modern takes like Beat Saber. Anyone remember DanceManiax? Soundboxing uses a high score leaderboard for that arcade feel of dominance but offers some slick sharing features for in-person and casual fun too.
We like that Soundboxing is highly configurable so that you can create challenges focusing on your offhand more than your dominant one. Songs with prominent beats should be best to start with, as they will be easier for your brain to grasp. Slow or fast may not matter, but start as slow as you feel comfortable after getting a feel for the game.
Working both hands cooperatively, and at different angles, is sure to help if your goal is improving dexterity with your offhand.
Entry level challenges make this a newbie friendly game, with more difficult challenges for the benefit of cardio.
We also like that this system feels like it’s built on growth, a pillar of fitness. You can “rewind” your session via the marionette system. It’s a creative way to show off your workout, but it’s also useful for seeing which songs make you stumble and where. This way, you can better prepare or improve. Variable difficulties allow you to tackle your favorite tracks in new configurations as well.
Sessions are very easy to share, either as challenges or as marionette playbacks. This inspires a competitive “beat my score” or “conquer my song” kind of camaraderie. That’s essential for staying disciplined and involved. Because the app is so affordable, it might become a staple for many workouts thanks to that built-in sense of community. Many of the tracks on the website have hundreds or thousands of plays. The community is active and actively sharing.
Please share your thoughts on Soundboxing VR?