If any of you VR geeks out there would describe yourselves as fitness junkies as well, or maybe if you’re just looking for a fun way to get in some exercise, then I might just have what you’re looking for. BoxVR can be best described as the lovechild of Audioshield and those old Tae Bo workout DVDs. But forget DVD’s and step into the future of home workouts with this virtual reality title that transports you to various places where you’ll feel the burn but won’t actually mind because you’re just having so much fun.
BoxVR released in Early Access on Steam back in June for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. According to the studio behind the game, FitXR, you’ll have access to workouts that have been created in partnership with various trainers to ensure that you get the most out of your workout session. I got to check the title out using a Vive and was sweating within a couple of minutes.
Check out the trailer below:
The way this game gets your muscles pumping is by having you punch some giant virtual paintballs. And due to the haptic feedback of the controllers, I could get a satisfying little ‘crunch’ every time I punched one of the balls. There are three locations in BoxVR to choose from, including a gym, a psychedelic tunnel, and a halloween-themed graveyard with glowing skulls flying at me. Though the gameplay is mostly the same throughout each of these locations, with different colored balls and bars flowing at me in regular intervals. At the same time, some house beats are playing to help get me into the rhythm of the flow and I was soon punching, ducking, and dodging away happily with the music. The workout flows very well and the beats of the music helps a lot to keep that flow going, which makes for a very satisfying experience.
The punches are varied as well, with regular punches intermixed with uppercuts and side jabs. These become more complicated as well once you advance beyond the beginner workouts. Then the game starts throwing combos at a pretty fast pace and I just wasn’t skilled enough to take those on, even a while in.
There are three types of workouts in the game, including the normal workout that has some customizable options based on what you’re looking for, like a beginners experience, a power workout, or an endurance workout. All in all, this option offers about 12 pre-made workouts by professional trainers. Then there’s the survival mode which just tests how long you can hold out, and the training mode that allows you to upload and play against the beats of your own music. I tested this last feature out quite a bit and am glad to say that it worked relatively well. I figured that house is one of the genres that probably works the best for this program since it requires some definitive base sounds to work with.
Burning Calories One Ball at a Time
The calorie counter in this game is really off. It kept counting the calories even when I was standing still. Plus I seriously doubt that I burned fifty calories from 5 minutes of boxing air. So even though you can set your height and weight in the game, as well as a daily calorie goal, I wouldn’t trust the technical ‘results’ all that much. However, that doesn’t mean that BoxVR isn’t a great workout. Because you’ll be washing your Vive foam out every day (if you don’t already) from all of the accumulated sweat.
Overall, BoxVR offers an intense, if simple fitness session that will definitely have me coming back for more. However, I think that the offering is a bit scarce for the current price point, since it only offers about twelve workouts that are all mostly the same except for the intensity and pace of the workout. On the other hand, it’s much cheaper than a gym membership and much more convenient to boot.