When it comes to exercise and fitness, there’s not a “one size fits all” experience. It’s important for individuals to assess their own needs, limitations, goals, medical issues, and interests. Some people enjoy a more solitary pursuit of fitness while others prefer classes or games or specific challenges such as mountain climbing.
Whatever you prefer, you’ll find an abundance of options in virtual reality and below are some of the top VR fitness experiences.
The benefits of VR for fitness were quickly evident following the release of Beat Saber in May 2018 as VR enthusiasts around the globe began posting comments, stories, and images of weight loss, increased flexibility, and improved stamina. The rhythm game has continued to receive overwhelmingly positive reviews since its initial release in May 2018 and is widely hailed as one of the best VR fitness games on the market.
Choose downloadable content (DLC) from the store or simply play from a wide variety of songs and levels that come with the base game. Either way, you’ll definitely burn calories while slashing cubes to the beat of your musical selections. Beat Saber is compatible with all major VR headsets and is available through Steam or the Oculus Store for $29.99.
Supernatural is a fantastic experience that enables you to work out with a virtual fitness coach who provides encouragement as you complete workouts in beautiful immersive locations around the globe. The connected fitness app includes a variety of daily challenges, adjustable difficulty options, and a supportive community on social media to help you make the most of a home-based fitness routine.
Supernatural from Within Unlimited is free to download on the Oculus Store, but it does require a subscription for full benefits. When taking into account the cost of traditional gym memberships, travel time to and from a physical location, business hour limitations, etc., the less than $20/month subscription is quite reasonable. Supernatural was designed to be perfectly experienced with the standalone Oculus Quest 2 headset.
Pistol Whip is the game I play when I want to experience a great workout, relieve stress, and boost my self-esteem by becoming a total bada**. The rhythmic shooter from Cloudhead Games is positively one of my favorite VR fitness games that requires complete focus in order to eliminate enemy foes while dodging incoming bullets. As you advance in levels, you’ll most definitely have no problem burning calories while fending for your virtual life in a variety of immersive environments.
As a side note, Pistol Whip is one of the few games I play standing and it’s such an awesome experience, but I greatly appreciate the fact that it’s also playable as a seated experience. The game is compatible with all major VR headsets, including Playstation VR, and you can check it out through the Oculus Store or Steam for $24.99.
For VR users with a rowing machine, exercise bike, or elliptical, Holofit can make your exercise routine more exciting as you row, cycle, or run through different immersive worlds. There’s a monthly subscription of less than $11 and that includes various workout modes, content updates, a virtual coach, and the Holofit companion app where you can check scores, track workouts, and compare your stats on the leaderboard.
You can sign up for a free trial on the Holodia website. Holofit works with all major standalone VR headsets including Oculus Quest 1 and 2 as well as HTC Vive Focus.
My middle son is 21 years old and serves in the Army National Guard. He’s one of the most athletic people I know and Ninja Legends is one of his favorite VR games. The game is a full-body workout that requires you to twist, turn, and squat with quick reactions if you want to take out waves of enemies that will attack you.
A rhythm game from Kluge Interactive, Synth Riders originally launched on PC VR in 2018, arrived on Oculus Quest in 2019, and came to Playstation VR last month. The base game comes with over 50 tracks and there are more available through purchasable music packs.
For those who want an additional challenge while you’re working out, Odders Lab’s OhShape might be a perfect fit for you. In case you’re not familiar with the game, that’s a pun!
I first played OhShape during Nice One Barcelona in Spain just prior to the game’s December 2019 release. Initially, I was interested in checking out the game for the purpose of being able to have an informed opinion, but once I started playing, I realized the game’s potential as a fantastic fitness game.
The concept of punching and dodging obstacles seems simple enough and of course, has been done before, but as the speed increases and you have to quickly determine which position to place your arms and legs to match the hole in a wall moving towards you at increasing speeds, it becomes more challenging mentally and physically.
In Death and In Death: Unchained
For a lower intensity workout that focuses on the arms and shoulders, In Death: Unchained from Superbright is a great option. This is one of the most visually attractive VR fitness games on the market and while it’s not necessarily good for cardio, you’ll definitely remain engaged. An archery game, you’ll need to dodge out of the way of enemy arrows and melee strikes while keeping your own bow at the ready.
I’ve replayed In Death on Oculus Rift, Rift S and Quest headsets many times since the original release from Sólfar Studios as a PC VR title. Following the port to Oculus Quest and new studio Superbright taking over the title, it has remained one of my favorites. In Death is available on all major VR platforms through Oculus Store and Steam for $29.99. In Death: Unchained is available for Oculus Quest 1 and 2 through the Oculus Store for $29.99.
Other Great VR Fitness Games
There are so many fantastic fitness games and experiences available in virtual reality so we can’t list them all, but here are a few others I want to mention.
Racket NX from One Hamsa basically brings racquetball into immersive reality. There are solo and multiplayer modes along with an active community. The game provides an intense workout in VR, has very positive reviews, works on all major VR headsets, and is available for $19.99 through the Oculus Store and Steam.
If you’re interested in complex melee combat, Ironlights from E. McNeill will appeal to you. The workout can be as intense as you want, depending on how competitive you become in your matches as you dodge blows, block attacks, and try to destroy the opponent. Ironlights is available on all major VR HMDs and available on the Oculus Store and Steam for $19.99.
Swords of Gargantua
Another great sword-action combat title that provides a good arm workout is Swords of Gargantua from Thirdverse. The game has a single-player mode as well as an online co-op mode with up to three other players. Swords of Gargantua is available through Steam or Oculus Store for $24.99.
Until you Fall
Schell Games’ Until You Fall is a roguelite VR game that also has swords, but there are variations on the type of slashing weapon. Each time you run through the game, you arm yourself and enter battle ready to strike down a variety of foes. Until You Fall is available for $24.99 on Steam and the Oculus Store.
Michael Gschwandtner’s VRWorkout basically helps you convert any small area in your home to your own personal gym with your VR headset. Designed specifically to be a VR fitness app, you’ll run in place, jump, do push-ups and crunches, and more. VRWorkout is still in early access and is available on all major VR HMDs as a free-to-play game.
Part of the Echo VR universe from Ready At Dawn, Echo Arena is another one of my personal favorites for VR fitness. It’s a free download from the Oculus Store and is an excellent fitness game for total body engagement and cardio. It’s also the most original and one of the best VR esports games on the market.
This crazy little game from Another Axiom is one of the absolute best immersive games for an intense cardio workout. You’ll chase other gorillas using your arms and upper body through a roughly created forest playing tag or infection mode and I assure you that you’ll be sweaty and out of breath by the time you finish. Gorilla Tag is still an early access game available for free download through Oculus Store and Steam.
As you can see from the assortment of games above, there is plenty to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a free game or a subscription-based fitness app, single or multiplayer, a game with virtual weapons, or something that simply involves movement, you can choose your VR fitness experience and then develop a routine that enables you to achieve goals along your personal wellness journey.