Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Punching and Working Out in VR

Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 30, 2018

I picked up BoxVR specifically to test how well you could work out in Virtual Reality. I’ve had enough times where I’ve felt some soreness after an extended session in VR from holding a (bad?) posture for too long, so I wanted to try something that was specifically designed to work my muscles in a positive manner.

BoxVR combines real-world boxing moves with gameplay similar to Dance Dance Revolution. Rather than fighting a person (there are other boxing VR games for that), you are punching iconized targets that move towards you in VR that you have to deal with appropriately. Left and right jabs, crosses, and uppercuts, as well as blocking some targets with both of your gloves. There are also obstacles that come toward you that require you to dodge or duck to avoid. You get points for hitting the targets based on “intensity” – how hard you hit them. It forces you to really swing at ’em. There are other obstacles you need to block (both gloves up), dodge (to either the left or right), or duck. A score multiplied goes up on consecutive successful moves, and drops on misses.

Custom “house” music is timed to give you a beat and rhythm to match the timing of the targets, or you can bring in your own music and create a playlist. The game will create a workout based on the music’s rhythm. So if you really want a “workout mix” that includes Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” you are set! There are four different venues you can have your boxing workout take place within… a traditional New York gym, a haunted graveyard, a “winter wonderland”, and kind of an abstract neon electronic tunnel. Yeah, weird places to do a boxing workout, but whatever. Forget it, Jake, this is Virtual Reality. It’s fun and variety.

Unlike similar games, BoxVR was at least partly designed by professional boxing / fitness trainers. I’m not sure how much difference that makes, but hey, that’s a thing. It provides tools for tracking calories burned, goals, and so forth based on your age, gender, and body weight. Workouts can start out easy (which were challenging the first couple of times for me, but after that were pretty easy), and you can scale them up in difficulty and intensity. As far as how well it works… I can’t completely say, but the first couple of times I tried it, I worked up a sweat, and I was sore the next morning. That’s a good sign. It’s fun, which means I look forward to playing it. Does it actually teach you to box? Only in the sense that painting the house, sanding the floor, and waxing the cars taught Daniel-san Karate.

One issue that I ran into was that you can build up a sweat playing this game, and the lenses of my headset fogged up while playing. Not a huge issue, but something to consider. Also, if you are sharing your VR headset with other members of the family, you may want to spring for one of the alternative liners that are easier to clean, so nobody has to deal with the foam insert damp with someone else’s sweat (yuck!).

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