2018 flew by in the VR world. It’s crazy to think how much progress we’ve made as a platform and as a fitness tool. Developers are finally embracing the physicality of VR and players are diving head first into free locomotion.

Multiplayer is a bigger deal now, and even though it’s got a long way to go we’re excited to see others trying it out. Some of the most fun I had this year was spent reviewing titles like VFC, which felt rough but offered a wonderful fighting experience.

I’m excited for 2019, especially as triple A studios port their experiences to VR and invest in the platform. As this year draws to a close, we thought we’d grade the progress VR Fitness made. So, how’d we do?

Early Access Titles Released

Several titles we’ve reviewed and featured here at VR Fitness Insider have left Early Access. We’re also happy to see that all of these titles have received significant updates, proving that these development teams are in it for the long haul and listening to their playerbase.

First, I’d like to say to developers reading that you’ve done a great job this year. You pushed many titles of Early Access and you have been on the front lines working with your playerbase to improve these experiences.

That said, here are some of our favorite games to leave Early Access this year.

Sairento – February

Credit to: Mixed Realms Pte Ltd, Swag Soft Holdings Pte Ltd

First up is cyber-ninja shooter, Sairento. Since leaving Early Access, the game has received new maps and constant tweaks to its loot and difficulty systems. Today’s Sairento is very different from the one I first sampled in 2017, and worthy of any player’s top played games list for VR Fitness.

The Wizards – March

Credit to: Carbon Studios

The Wizards utilizes baseball-like pitching mechanics to conjure magic spells and dispatch opponents. Since leaving Early Access, players have new cutscenes and graphical effects to look forward to, as well as boss fights and level redesigns to improve immersion.

QuiVR – June

Credit: Alvios

QuiVR not only developed into its own quest-based self since leaving Early Access, the developers utilized the upgrades they’d made to the base game to give us QuiVR Vanguard. This nostalgic blast is one of many new updates that include additional puzzle and boss tiles.

In Death – October

In Death’s excellent base formula keeps the community hyped to play. Since its release from Early Access, the developers have focused on difficulty balance and quality of life fixes that improve the experience.

Not Much in Sports

Hallmark releases and excellent VR gaming marked 2018, but that progress didn’t include much in the way of true sports simulation. The biggest release we’ve tracked is MLB Homerun Derby, and fans of driving simulators have excellent support in games like Assetto Corsa and the DiRT series. But those of us looking to improve our skills and techniques had little to choose from for traditional sports.

Sports simulation seems limited to a single player’s perspective, like hitting drills or throwing balls. We hope developers will consider sports simulation in VR.

I would personally like to see a hybrid of simulation and strategy, where I can arrange my plays in VR and then take control of the key player. It would be great to draw out a line for my receiver to run, then switch to the Quarterback position where I dodge and juke to find a good throw.

VR Gets Fitter

Players are dedicating spaces to VR, getting mobile and expecting different forms of locomotion. The motion sickness stigma feels like a thing of the past and developers have embraced more physical gameplay.

Beat Saber is a great example, where players do reps and sets of songs to learn how to play the game. Your heart rate increases and your body moves to the music, just like a true rhythm game. It doesn’t feel like working out.

Creed: Rise to Glory was one of the biggest releases this year for VR, and its multiplayer premise is built around working out in VR. Endurance and strong attacks are the name of the game for putting your opponent down. You need to learn how to block and how to move. Plus players get the added cardio of sprinting back to your body when they get knocked out.

2018 VR Fitness Grade | A-

While we would like to see more sports-related titles to scratch that particular niche, most of our favorites made great progress. Even Thrill of the Fight added new fighters and a full-fledged difficulty mode.

virtual fighting championship vfc
Punch a real player in the face in VFC PvP. Credit to: L&L Studio, Yang.L/L&L Technology

Multiplayer still needs some ironing out. Player bases are small, and outside of big titles, it can be tough to find opponents. We hope to see more players hopping into titles like VFC and Creed, but it would be nice to do more coop too. The Wizards can really shine when you and a friend are tackling its tougher maps and challenges.

VR is beginning to look more like its own platform, with a dedicated and growing playerbase. We only go up from here.