Genre: Action, Music, Sports
Platform: Oculus Quest
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 21/05/2019
A code was kindly provided for review purposes
Gaming and exercise. These two words tend to collide a lot – gaming is usually associated with the opposite of fitness, as fitness tends to be seen as physical, outdoor activity. With the outdoors being very limited this year, alternatives are sought, and fitness games have seen a rise in popularity. In the past, fitness games have been seen as a sort of ‘gimmick’. They’re the types of games you play for a couple of months and then drop off once you’ve seen everything the game has to offer.
A Fitness Routine That Works
There are countless games like these, but FitXR is the first videogame that permanently became a part of my fitness routine. FitXR blends the familiar, fast-paced, addicting nature of Beat Saber with the charm, helpfulness and accessibility of Wii Fit. It is a hard bet to find a piece of media that can genuinely change you as a person, but FitXR does that and more as a way of consistently keeping up with workout routines that actually work.
Familiar, Engaging Gameplay
The premise of FitXR is simple yet extremely effective. In reality, it’s boxing; however, its presentation is unique and familiar and allows for genuine challenging fun for those willing to dedicate themselves to their own bodies. The game has you listen to a song from a select, curated tracklist (which is fairly decent, considering the game’s genre) and punch floating spheres as they fly towards you to the beat. Additionally, the game shakes things up a bit with you having to punch in various ways as well as dodge and squat under obstacles.
The game walks through the proper stances and workout techniques through helpful tips that allow you to be able to play most effectively and comfortably as possible. Hitting the orbs with harder, more refined punches rewards you with more points and builds up your combo meter and is a great incentive to give it your all during a workout session. This blend of tried-and-tested gameplay (looking at you, Beat Saber) and the immediate focus of fitness allowed to make an experience that was easily accessible for those interested in beginning their fitness journey and want to make the first step.
Whilst going for a high score was a fun incentive to continue to play the same exercises over and over, I found myself at a loss when it came to the combos. The tracking was very hit or miss, and sometimes when I felt as if I had punched correctly and with enough force, I would still be taken out of a combo, and that was very demoralising. I think a bit of leniency in the combo meter to make up for the imperfect tracking would have been appreciated.
A Genuine Workout
I have been called a sweat in many games and in many games… yes… I occasionally act as a ‘sweat’; however, FitXR is the first videogame to make me sweat legitimately. Like, real sweat, and a lot of it. FitXR has been my workout option for the last couple of months, and man does it not hold back. Exercises can be brutally difficult, but that challenge is good. It encourages progression and incentivises actually continuing to stick with the routine.
The Quest headset, whilst the lightest and most useful VR headset for a game like this, still manages to be a large obstacle, with the lenses fogging up, headset bouncing and weighing you down during the workouts. I found as I played FitXR more and more, that a large majority of the reasons I would not continue to my absolute limit was solely because of the discomfort of a VR headset in a fitness setting. I’m sure there are most likely accessories out there, however, that make the headset a lot more comfortable and resistant to sweat which I would highly recommend if you intend to integrate FitXR into your workout routine.
Solo, But Not Alone!
FitXR is completely playable on your own, as the focus on fitness is obviously on yourself. However, if you’re in the social mood, the game will match you up with a couple of buddies in the form of ghost data. These online sessions being played back simultaneously allow you to feel as if you are competing or exercising alongside fellow players – luckily when the connection drops, your session won’t end. The ghost data will freeze, allowing you to complete your session as intended. This integration allows those who are easily competitive to be able to compare their stats to others’, or allows you some extra motivation from other real-life players to complete the exercise.
The menus and UI within FitXR are intuitive and simple to browse through. You can find workouts that suit your specific needs; whether that’s short and intense, long and mild, you name it, there’ll probably be a work out which speaks to your desires. You can also choose and switch your desired Trainer on and off, which will give you friendly vocal guidance during your exercises akin to the Wii Fit Trainer. Additionally, FitXR includes a calorie counter, which, whilst not 100% accurate, gives you a good guide to see just how much exercise you’ve done and forwent having to use YUR to track my fitness stats.
Honestly, FitXR surprised me. The last year has been an experience for everyone, and with the uncertainty around the current social climate, I wouldn’t be surprised if FitXR ends up being the new fitness routine around my house – it already has been since release. The game blends fitness into video-games perfectly and utilises the exclusive features that VR offers to deliver a tightly knit package of fitness and fun. Just don’t wear your muscles out!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase FitXR from the Oculus Store.
You can read our VR game reviews over at vrgamecritic.