When I first played my Quest 2 I had to stop after an hour because I was sweating and out of breath. It was an absolute blast and probably the most fun I’ve had “working out” since I used to play racketball with friends pre-pandemic. So much fun in fact, that I really do believe it’s a way we’ll all be working out in the semi-near future.
Here are my top 10 VR games to work out with.
1) Echo VR
The best way I can describe Echo VR is that it’s 3 on 3 full-contact ultimate frisbee hockey in space.
I think what I love about this game is that it’s so much fun to play. It doesn’t feel like the chore that working out is at all. And yet, when I’m done playing, I’m usually sweating like a pig.
I wouldn’t describe this game as intense exercise. But, I would say it gets my heart rate up slightly more than walking, and that I can play for long periods without feeling bored. Which is why it tops this list for me.
2) Pistol Whip
Pistol whip is a 3d, screen scrolling shoot’em up style arcade game set to good music. It’s a lot of fun, can be quite difficult, and can really get your heart rate up because you need to avoid obstacles and dodge bullets incredibly quickly.
It’s definitely more intense exercise than Echo VR, but still a lot of fun. That said, after a few rounds of this, I do get the urge to go play something else.
Gorn is a game where you’re effectively a cartoon gladiator in a colosseum and have to bash a bunch of other cartoon gladiator’s heads in. It’s gory (in a cartoon violence sort-of way). The first time I played it, I found myself sweating profusely and having an absolute blast.
The exercise comes from taking violent swings at your enemies and trying to avoid their swings.
Beatsaber is VR’s version of guitar hero where you use a couple of lightsabers to smash blocks to the beat of the music. It’s a lot of fun and an absolute staple for anybody new to VR.
Many of you who are familiar with VR may be surprised that I’m choosing BeatSaber over something like Supernatural VR Fitness (which is a BeatSaber clones with squats). And the reason I’m doing that is because Supernatural feels like you’re working out. Whereas BeatSaber feels like you’re playing a game.
If I wanted to optimize my workout, I’d go to the gym. What I’m looking for in VR is something that gets my heart rate reasonably elevated for an hour or two that feels more like a fun game than a chore. If you’re in better shape than me, games like Beatsaber might not be enough of a workout for you. But, I was 300+ lbs when I got my VR headset. Beatsaber’s plenty for me.
This is a shoot’em up style game where time passes as you move. So if you move really slowly you should be able to defeat your enemies.
Moving slowly doesn’t sound like much of a workout. But, I find I do a lot of contorting of my body when playing this game (to dodge enemy fire). All those weird positions in slow motions do get me sweating by the time I’m done playing. And it’s good fun.
6) Oh Shape!
This is the first game on the list where the purpose does sort-of feel like working out (I composed this list of games that are fun to play as I don’t like working out). This one makes the list because it is surprisingly fun to play every now and again (and you will be sweating by the end).
The premise of the game is your body has to make the shape of the blocks that are flying towards you as music plays. It’s actually a game I feel like a lot of people who are new to VR might like just to get a feel for it.
HyperDash is an absolute blast to play your first time through. It’s probably my favorite first-person-shooter in VR.
The only reason it ranks low on this list is that it’s not much of a workout. You don’t need to move around much to play this game.
That said, I have found myself playing it for hours at a time. By the time I’m done I’m usually sweaty and gross. Which is what I want from my VR exercise experience. To not feel like I’m working out for long periods of time while moving enough to sweat.
Other Games Receiving Votes
These games are other options for working out but they didn’t make my top 7 for one reason or another.
- Thrill of the Fight – This feels like a real boxing match. And the first time I played it I was flat out of breath due to the intensity of it. If you really want to get your heart rate up this is the game for you. It just didn’t have enough of a fun factor for me to want to play it all the time. That said, if you like it this one should maybe top the list.
- Supernatural – I mentioned this one previously. It’s BeatSaber, only with trainers, squats, and an expensive monthly subscription fee. I tried it and it felt too much like I was at the gym. Not something I really enjoyed playing.
- Synth Riders – Sort-of like a dancing BeatSaber.