Despite having ticked over into January and its regular renewal of gym memberships and new club attendance, the current UK lockdown and the pandemic situation across the globe is ensuring that 2021, and a new year’s attempt to improve your fitness, is off to a slow start. Still, there are options that don’t require you to skate across sheet ice on your own or peer at a yoga instructor on Youtube, and for those lucky enough to have had an Oculus Quest 2 under the festive spruce, that new VR headset might just be the path to renewing your health, all from the comfort of your own home.
While there’s a number of fitness oriented games across all VR platforms, Oculus took a step ahead of the competition by adding Oculus Move to the Quest’s core functionality. This is an app that can track your calories burned and your time in all VR fitness programmes, in an effort to help keep you on track and repeatedly tuning in each day to, well, move.
Every Monday in January, Oculus are posting a new workout routine that looks to pull you through a variety of fitness apps and games in an effort to shake up your routine. Of course, it does require you to own each of those apps, but many of them are available with trial versions so you can check out whether you think it’s going to be for you. Below you’ll find our top picks for staying healthy on Oculus Quest.
Beat Saber – Oculus Quest + Rift, SteamVR, PlayStation VR
You can’t talk about VR without talking about Beat Saber. It is a game that is genuinely worth picking up pretty much any VR headset for, and with the Oculus Quest version cutting the need for cables to a console or an expensive gaming PC, is arguably the most accessible and easily enjoyable version out there.
If you haven’t come across Beat Saber before, it hands you two virtual lightsabers, and flings moving blocks at you in time to music tracks that you have to slice apart in the correct manner. It’s an ever so simple concept, and just like Tetris on the original Game Boy, is the kind of thing that is indelibly linked with its platform. Similarly, it will take over your life, and all that slicing of blocks, along with a killer soundtrack that you can add to along the way, makes for one hell of a workout, particularly when you move up to the higher difficulties.
FitXR – Oculus Quest
Having started off life as BoxVR (which is still available for Oculus Rift, SteamVR and PlayStation VR), FitXR is an ever-evolving fitness programme that has now added in a series of dance workouts to (literally) shake things up in the virtual gym studio. We were suitably impressed when we reviewed FitXR last year, saying that “the new social aspect, and the refined action, ensure that FitXR is a VR fitness class well worth booking in for.”
Key to your enjoyment here is that you’re taking part in fitness classes with other people. They can’t exactly see you – VR technology hasn’t come quite that far – but you can see their floating hands and head as you compete against one another to gain the top spot on the floating leaderboard that’s just above your eyeline. It’s actually capable of a genuine workout too, with plenty of sweat-inducing workouts spread across a range of musical genres to keep you moving no matter if you can’t go outside.
Pistol Whip – Oculus Quest + Rift, SteamVR, Viveport, PlayStation VR
We love to discover we’re working out when we’re not really expecting to, and Pistol Whip is a prime example of that. Pistol Whip is John Wick in a pumping, psychedelic, VR shooting gallery that’ll have you breathing heavily within moments as you whip and whirl around trying to take out all of the shadowy bad guys who are primed to pop out at you.
Pistol Whip just keeps getting better too, with the addition of 2089, a sci-fi cinematic campaign that boasts music from Magic Sword and some exceedingly cool visuals to lay on top of the exceedingly cool visuals the game already had. Pistol Whip is unmissable, and one of the coolest ways to get yourself moving on Quest.
Synth Riders – Oculus Quest + Rift, Steam VR, Viveport
There might be something of a running theme here, but Oculus Quest has a bevy of futuristically styled, music-based games, and the simple fact of the matter is that they are a perfect way to get your heart pumping and your lungs filling as they tend to be the games that have you moving frantically for the most time. Synth Riders heads down the 80’s tones of Synthwave and if that’s your bag it’s a delight to listen to.
The game itself sees you riding, batting and punching your way along those synth-led musical tracks, and whether you do it solo or in some excedingly competitive multiplayer, it’s one of the best active VR games out there. As a bonus, this is currently the closest you’ll get to being in Tron.
Dance Central – Oculus Quest + Rift
Saved from the demise of Microsoft’s Kinect, there’s no-one else out there with a better rhythm-game track record than Harmonix, and unlike many of their other titles, Dance Central doesn’t require a plastic guitar. Instead, you’re the peripheral, following the moves of other dancers in the club as you aim to hit that five star rating. Needless to say, it’s an incredibly active game, and it might even teach you some moves to use on the dancefloor (whenever it is that we’re allowed back on them).
Harmonix obviously knew just how good a VR fitness game it would be, adding an in-app fitness tracker in 2019, and while a lot of that functionality is now covered by Oculus Move, it’s clear that Dance Central has the exact kind of VR gameplay that’s perfect for those looking to stay in shape and healthy.
There we have it: five games that will get your heart pumping and help you round out those activity circles in Oculus Move.