VR Corner – FitXR

Posted on December 18, 2020

Like many, I’ve definitely let my exercise fall by the wayside in the midst of COVID-19 and the lockdown that’s followed. Now emerged from it, I find myself busy with work and unable to take the time to work out. When I’m not working, I’m gaming. It’s what makes me happy. Naturally, when the opportunity comes along to check out a game that blends both exercise and gaming, I’m stoked. FitXR has been the latest in that space for me. It’s crazy full of potential and a game I can see becoming a personal VR essential.

The Premise

FitXR is purposed as being your very own dance and boxing workout classes all in the space of your own home. Hired professional trainers have been tasked with coming up with choreographed routines for you to follow along to. Boxing classes are also on offer that see you facing blocks flying towards you ala Beat Saber. You must dodge, duck, weave and punch these blocks to the beat of the song.

Both forms of classes can come in varying ranges of speed. Some were good at serving as a warmup as I danced along to some sweet beats. Other were complete sweat inducers, having me box and dance (not always at my prime) to fast tempos. Simply put, it performs quite well as a platform for delivery of exercise classes. A lot of potential is there, but I can absolutely point towards rooms for improvements.

Specifically, the delivery of workout classes also comes with some of the similar drawbacks that would come with an in-person gym session. Sure, the regular rotation of classes on offer is welcome, but you’ll also find yourself a bit limited. Quite a large majority of the packs of classes are locked behind a paywall. I wouldn’t call this monetisation egregious – the team needs to make money somehow. However, it can definitely be disheartening when so many of the exciting-looking classes, hoping to mix it up a bit, are greyed out and unavailable until you give a little more of your money. Really, more could be on offer for free to entice players, with the really good stuff requesting an extra purchase.

The Feeling

Despite lacking in content, FitXR is quite the well-made dance and exercise game. The dance classes in particular just feel so close to the proven formula of Just Dance – watch a virtual model dance and copy their movements, getting your exercise in that way. These classes really are one of the true heart pumpers and work great for everyone, even those like myself, who I consider to have two left feet. Additionally, these classes can also become multiplayer lobbies. I can’t begin to tell you the joy of having a virtual dancing instructor glowing you up and telling you to push that little bit harder while silhouettes of other players are struggling next to you. Especially in the age of COVID-19. I’m never at the top of the leaderboards for players’ performance in sessions but I still love to see how I stack up against others.

“The dance classes in particular just feel so close to the proven formula of Just Dance

The boxing classes, while fun and exhilarating, are also the feature that isn’t as perfect. It’s very easy to compare its static and virtual highway full of blocks to hit to Beat Saber. However it isn’t by any means innovative either. Jabs, hooks, ducking and weaving  around obstacles all help to get that adrenaline pumping. These are all responsive and satisfying except when it comes to uppercuts performed by both hands at the same time. For whatever reason this motion just did not agree with me. It doesn’t take away from the workout but man if you’re a sucker for getting good scores it’s a bummer to see your hit streak go from this one less responsive and arbitrary move.

From dance classes that really get you into the thick of it to fast paced boxing, FitXR is a game that’ll help even the most out of shape feel better about themselves. The lobby where you’re selecting which dance you’re going to enter is just that – a lobby that you’d likely see at a gym. Stat tracking is there to help players keep track of their playtime, their best scores and even calories burnt. It’s definitely a very good endorphin game with room to grow. Could you imagine if there was a more absolute fitness video game, complete with dieticians, real-time virtual one-on-one sessions with a real trainer and more?

The Style

FitXR is a stylised, futuristic workout game. In dance sessions, you’re in a virtual space full of neon colours, with bright flashing words such as “BAD,” “GOOD,” or “AWESOME,” popping up to note your performance and make you feel good about yourself. The music provided for sessions has fantastic beats that’re near addictive. If you want a serotonin boost while working up a sweat, this is your kind of game.

Largely, the boxing sessions provide that same feeling. The virtual highway full of blocks flying at you is enchanting and thrilling as ever. Yes, even if it’s not as perfected as that of its inspiration. Really, that’s quite what you want and need in an exercise game. Visuals and vibes rich enough to make you feel good during the uphill battle exercise can be.

The Verdict

With some rough edges and monetisation that’ll likely deter a fair few, I can see hesitation in picking up FitXR. Still, in the ages of COVID-19 it is a good, fun and safe alternative to the in-person gym classes. Those real life classes can often charge you a pretty penny and have required payments quite often. So, what’s the difference here? You get the convenience of your own home.

Considering that, FitXR is a valid investment for those that are looking to form a more active lifestyle. Why not work up a sweat and dance like a fool in your living room? No one’s going to see you after all.

FitXR is available now for Oculus Quest – check it out.