BoxVR – Oculus Quest Review

Gaming over the past few decades has been a static, seated experience. We’ve had the likes of Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony attempt to get us up off the couch and onto our feet with the likes of Nintendo Wii balance boards, Microsoft Kinect sensors and PlayStation Move peripherals. I have tried them all, but neither has really been as enjoyable and got the heart pumping as much as BoxVR has on the Oculus Quest has.

BoxVR isn’t new to VR veterans. The fitness-focused game has already been on Oculus Rift since January 2018 and more recently on PSVR. In that time the game has been tweaked, finetuned and additional features have been added throughout its life span. Lucky for those picking up BoxVR for the first time on Oculus Quest, you’ll have all of this packed into its rather tiny 841 MB download package.

Having already attended a few boxercise classes recently, I was looking forward to getting my hands into some virtual mitts and see if a boxercise session in BoxVR could offer me a similar, or better, experience than my regular 45min weekly class. With my virtual mitts laced up, let’s find out…

On bootup, you will face a menu full options that will each present various levels of physical punishment on your body. You can go straight into preset classes, create your own ‘playlist’ of your favourite workout classes, or compete with friends in multiplayer mode. To kick things off I selected the Beginner class. These carry a few minute bursts of gameplay that ease you into how BoxVR works along with the moves and punches you’ll be throwing.

BoxVR’s presentation and gameplay mechanics are as simple as a boxercise class itself. It mostly involves a series of orbs that float towards you, each requiring you to either punch, hook or uppercut them to connect with them. Every now and then you might face a floating wall above or angled to the side that requires you to squat or lean left or right to avoid them.

These floating orbs are coloured, a different colour for each hand. These float down towards you in time with the many music tracks that plays in the background. Single orbs require a straight jab punch forward once the orb is near you, whilst orbs with vertical or horizontal rings alongside them require you to uppercut or hook your punches through the rings.

With all these punches mixed in with the squats you have to do, to avoid the walls that also float towards you, you have a well-balanced workout that not only gives your arms a good workout but your legs and glutes too.

After a 30 minute session comprising of a few beginners and intermediate classes I easily managed to put a sweat on whilst making a bit of a sweaty mess of my Quest masks in the process. Luckily, thanks to the leather cover VRCover I didn’t have any sweaty foam marks to worry about.

If you wish to track and share your fitness with others you can create a profile for yourself, your partner, friends or your family members. You can then each log your scores in each session and monitor any times logged against your daily/weekly workout regimes. It makes for good bragging rights and adds to our inner competitive nature that drives you to do better.

Like any fitness focuses game, BoxVR will only give back what effort you are willing to put in. By creating a weekly goal to carry out, using at least a 30-minute session length, I managed to feel that I was getting the same outcome as I have done in my real life Boxercise classes. With each class costing me money, a game like BoxVR pays off very quickly. After three classes I would have paid for the cost of this game alone.

BoxVR looks and plays fairly simple. It does the job and it does it well, but if I were to nitpick there are a few things I would like to see addressed in future updates… I would have liked a more variety of music and environments. They would add some much needed audible and visual variety to the game. Having another goal or a way to earn the ability to unlock new arenas, mitt styles or visual effect packages would add to the game’s longevity and give me a reason to return to the game outside of fitness.

The punching doesn’t feel as satisfying or impactful as the likes of Beat Sabre, so adding some better visuals will help with feeling more connected with the orbs when you hit them, I hear the effects got lost in this Quest version, but I am sure something else can be worked in here whilst maintaining performance. The ‘miss’ sound can also be a little too subtle and get drowned out along with the music, so making that more front and centre audibly and visually would be a great addition to helping understand your progress in the session, especially if you’re looking to 100% it.

So would BoxVR replace my classes? Well, in a way yes it would, but you would miss the social and spontaneous routines found fitness classes in real world. If you’re up for saving money and/or classes are not readily available in your area, then BoxVR ticks all the boxes for a great alternative fitness regime. The game can certainly fill the gap if your lifestyle lacks that all-important exercise routine or it can also help supplement any existing fitness class in the real world too. Best of all, it makes fitness enjoyable.

Replaceable Foam for your Oculus Quest 2

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