Ok, so the game is great, but let’s see what we can do to make it a physical challenge as well, so that we can enjoy a guilt free video game romp whilst not slacking on our fitness goals!
PreparationThe game is played standing and is fairly combat heavy. But unlike Blade and Sorcery, weapons don’t have a weight to them so you don’t need to be overly physical to defeat your foes. This is great for accessibility but not for our cardio requirements so when playing this game I adopted what I’ll call the Jason Paglow method from his Skyrim VR review for making that game a physical challenge by running on the spot. There are two movement speeds for this game and if you select fast, your character covers ground at a fair old clip, perfectly synchronized to a jogging pace. The Quest, being completely wireless is actually a lot easier to run with than PC VR and when needing to change direction you can just turn yourself, no need to press a button to initiate a 45 degree snap turn anymore! I found it incredibly freeing and liberating and discovered that jogging actually drew me into the experience more, and helped me embody the character and increase immersion. It might take a little while to get used to it, but once you do it becomes second nature.
Jaron Lanier created a virtual reality device in the 1980’s (EyePhone 1/HRX) and costed up to $49,000 for the goggles and gloves.
I chose the third level for my fitness test, a combat heavy ‘defend the base’ type level where you need to help your fellow villagers to defend a sacred giant egg, (it’s a game don’t overthink it) from attack by hordes of evil moonbeasts. It was a pretty frantic affair, and one for which I cleared my playspace, donning a headband to minimize sweating too much into my new favorite toy. I recorded the session on my Fitbit Charge 2.
Intensity 7/10 (or 5 if you don’t run!)
- Calories burned: 151
- Calories per minute: 5
- Average heart rate: 119
- Max heart rate: 137
- Steps: 1651
- Active Minutes: 13
Arms 6/10As with any games based around sword play you have ample opportunities to swing, slice and thrust your way through hordes of enemies, getting a reasonable arm workout. The bow operates by a crank however so isn’t as active as the hand drawn bows you might be more used to in games such as Skyrim or In Death .
Legs 7/10 (or 3)
If you’re reading a fitness oriented game review then I’ll assume you want to play the game as actively as possible. That means jogging in place and manually turning your body to move around. This game is very well suited to that, the default fast run speed is a jogging pace that is fun to match, and without wires it feels free and liberating to treat the game as a run and slash. If you just want to stand still and play you’ll obviously burn a lot less calories, however you wouldn’t be reading this if that was you now would you!
Core and Balance 7/10The ability to free turn with the Quest allows for far more body turning in a 360 degree experience where you don’t need to worry about the cord tangling up. In later levels when the enemy count increases there’s often times where you’re facing foes on all sides and this constant pivoting whilst swinging your sword can activate your core. As with all sword games you use your core to stabilize yourself after swinging so you’ll get some work, but the crank powered bow doesn’t work your body in the same way as the more traditional bow games. Jogging is good for your core though!
The year 1990’s saw huge developments in the virtual reality technology with the rise of arcade games. The Virtuality Group was the cutting edge of virtual reality, and launched a wide variety of arcade games and machines that let the players immerse themselves into amazing 3D visual experiences.
Time Perception 10/10
Make no mistake this is a brilliantly entertaining game and I have enjoyed multiple sessions of longer than an hour, which is about as long as I can tolerate the weight of the Quest on my head before it starts to get uncomfortable. This game easily holds my attention.
There’s a six to eight hour experience here and I’m enjoying it enough to want to replay it again on hard. After that there is no arena mode or even a level select so you’ll probably not be playing past that, but it’s a full size single player action RPG with a lot of fun content.
Fitness Scalability 7/10
By default this is a low activity game suitable for all. You can even choose to play seated. But for those us wanting to make it more physical, simply matching your characters running speed by jogging increases the challenge immensely, whilst also being fun and even immersion increasing.
Lack of Nausea 7/10
Unusually for a VR game this is a full locomotion game only with no teleport option. Full movement can cause nausea for some people especially if the frame rate isn’t great. I’m moderately susceptible to motion sickness but never experienced it here. There is a run vignette option which narrows the FOV when you run which can help the over sensitive, but I felt fine throughout all my play times, testament to how smooth and well optimized this game is.
Social Competition 0/10
This is a single player experience only.
VRFI Fit Score 7.5/10
If you’re willing to get creative to make the game more active you’ll have a blast with this. It’s a wonderful launch title for Quest and my favorite game on the platform so far. I’m already hoping for a sequel and extra content. Fitness and rhythm games are great of course but sometimes you want to actually play a proper video game in VR, and they really don’t come much better than this. It’s one of the better games I’ve played in the last couple years on any VR platform!
The GoodCaptivating Zelda-esque experience with a wonderful visual art style
The smoothest and most glitch free game I’ve played on the Quest
Like a lot of Quest games its priced a little high.
Shame the game doesn’t have an arena mode or level select to give the game some extra longevity.Journey of the Gods was a launch title initially exclusive to the Oculus Quest, but with a Rift version released on June 18th. It’s crossbuy meaning if you buy for one system, you’ll automatically get if for free on the other.
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Google Cardboard Was a Side Project. The Google Cardboard platform was developed by David Coz and Damien Henry. The two engineers developed the project as part of Google’s”innovation time off” program in which engineers are encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time working on projects that interest them. Thankfully, Google backed the project, and Google Cardboard is now one of the cornerstones of scalable virtual reality.